Your feet are sore as well as your bags feel weighed down with bricks, nevertheless, you can’t go home because you’ve only ticked off half the Christmas grocery list. Suddenly, the gift card section morphs from a “no go zone” to some “one size fits all” solution.
It appears there’s no stopping the booming rise in popularity of free visa gift card. They’re convenient, there’s a large range of brands (Netflix, Bonds and Domino’s Pizza, to name a few), and you could even personalise them.
But you need to be careful, as you may ultimately be throwing free money on the retailer. A whole new survey exclusively given to us by NSW Fair Trading showed 89 percent of 300 respondents enjoyed a problem redeeming a present card.
The most significant problem they encountered was that the card had expired. Some tried to speak with store staff and managers, others lodged a complaint. Overall, 69 percent said the retailer still refused to simply accept the credit card.
Let’s speak about the money. The gift card marketplace is worth up to $2.5 billion every year. Two-thirds of your survey respondents couldn’t redeem their cards. Also, a 2014 Choice survey found 35 percent of respondents had used no price of at least one gift card in the previous three years.
The figures are rough, the science isn’t perfect, but we can guess a huge sum of money is being wasted every year.
I can count myself lucky. When I was cleaning I came across a $50 gift card for the book store that expired 3 years ago. Rather than throwing it in the bin, I had a chat with one of the staff (I avoided mentioning my job) and he kindly i want to redeem the complete amount. I went home with three new books.
This may not be an anti-gift card piece. I wish to encourage you to think again and supply many ways so your Christmas present will be used and never forgotten. Here are among the problems:
Shops go bust: While we saw earlier this coming year Dic-k Smith collapsed and 1000s of gift card holders, including one woman who possessed $3600 worth, were left with virtually nothing. Keep in mind Macquarie has predicted more retail collapses, and cites Fast Future Brands (Valley Girl and TEMT) and Pepkor (Harris Scarfe and greatest & Less) to be unprofitable.
Gift certificates for a lot of brands are plentiful at places like supermarkets and the post office.
Gift cards for many brands can easily be bought at places including supermarkets as well as the post office. Photo: Danielle Smith
Fees: Thankfully most gift certificates within the Australian market have zero fees because they’re “closed loop”. Though Westfield’s gift card needs a $2.95 “service fee”. I do believe the worst deals would be the “open loop” Visa and Mastercard-branded gift cards, which can be used wherever they’re accepted but come with a range of fees.
Consider the Australia Post Visa Prepaid gift card by way of example. You must fork out $6 to get the card, $4 to talk to someone relating to your balance or transaction history, and $4 to acquire support on the phone. I ought to mention you can check your balance via text for 25 cents or online free of charge.
Expiry dates: Most cards are valid for 1 year or 24 months. Reconsider cards with three or six month expiry, like the one for Ella Bache beauty salons. Needs to be noted, some retailers provide a grace period. Consumer group Options are calling for your minimum expiry period to become five-years.
Cash advance fees: It’s probable that if you utilize your charge card to acquire a gift card, it will probably be treated like a cash loan. So check with your provider. Wise to use cash or input it over a debit card instead.
Below are great tips:
Offer flexibility: Until you know they’d love a Sportsgirl or Smiggle gift card, it’s far better to choose a retailer that offers a multitude of products. You might purchase a card to get a shopping centre or perhaps for a small grouping of stores, like a Coles Group & Myer Gift Card. Mary Steffel, a psychologist at Northeastern University in america, said the better specific a great gift card is, the unlikely it will be redeemed. “If you’re unclear what your recipient wants, allow them to have the gift of flexibility,” she told the New York Times.
Subtly ask: Encourage the recipient to utilize the card sooner, rather than later. Consumer advocate Christopher Zinn suggests asking the one you love several months down the track in regards to what they ended up being buying together with the card.
Ensure that it stays visible: Make sure the card is within their wallet. In case the issue and expiry dates aren’t written in the card, obtain a permanent marker and write the information right on it. You can even want to maintain your receipts and jot down details such as the card number.
If something goes completely wrong, lodge a complaint with NSW Fair Trading. Happy shopping.