December 22, 2015

Three Tips for Buying Gift Cards

The Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority (FCAA) wants Saskatchewan consumers to get the most bang for their buck when it comes to gift cards and gift certificates this holiday season.  They are increasingly popular gifts to give to friends and family during the holidays.

Consumers can follow these three easy tips:

  1. Buy the gift card from a reputable, established retailer.  A common complaint from consumers is difficulty redeeming the card because the retailer has gone out of business before the card could be used.   When buying a gift card, consider whether the person you’re buying it for will be able to use it in a timely manner to avoid any problems.  If a business closes, gift card holders become unsecured creditors and may have difficulty getting any value for the card.
  2. Read the fine print on the back of the card.  Some gift cards are subject to restrictions or limitations on use.  For example, golf packages are typically restricted to the summer months.  As a result gift cards are typically less flexible than cash and may lose value over time due to inflation.
  3. Gift cards can’t expire and there can be no additional fees after purchase.  Gift cards issued in Saskatchewan cannot expire and cannot carry monthly fees or additional charges like activation, dormancy or management fees.  The exception to this rule is gift cards or certificates given away for free without payment or consideration (ie: raffle prizes from local community fundraisers or events).  In that case, cards may have an expiry date.

Consumers can find more information at www.fcaa.gov.sk.ca/giftcards.

Contact Consumer Protection Division:

If consumers have questions about gift cards or difficulty redeeming a card, they can contact FCAA’s Consumer Protection Branch toll free at 1-877-880-5550 or by email at consumerprotection@gov.sk.ca.