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kq4ym 3/14/2018 | 2:41:38 PM
Re: Pricing clarity It's a tricky business for consumers, when the rules aren't known or they need a lawyer to interpret. But, businesses manage to pick up some easy proits with the sale of those cards.
mhhfive 3/8/2018 | 6:13:27 PM
Re: Pricing clarity This gift card discussion reminded me that I was surprised that I once spent more than the value of a Visa gift card. I didn't think it was possible, but apparently, if you charge something on a gift card -- and the amount is variable -- then the merchant charges its "best guess" as to what you spent, but Visa will still allow you to spend the rest of the balance of the gift card. However, if that "best guess" is low.. then you can exceed the value of the card. 

For example, I used part of a Visa gift card to pay for a restaurant bill.. and left a tip using the gift card, too. The restaurant's "best guess" didn't include my tip, so I used up the rest of the balance, but when I checked the gift card balance later -- it appeared that the tip charge went through (phew), but Visa had already authorized my remaining purchases, and the total was more than the gift card was originally worth. I assume Visa will get wise to that loophole someday? (Or some unfortunate waiter won't get his/her tip....)
mhhfive 3/8/2018 | 5:56:56 PM
Re: Pricing clarity I've found that those pre-paid VISA gift cards can be turned into more useful gift cards. As long as the gift card doesn't have to be spent at a certain store, like ToysRUs or Starbucks or whatever, you should be able to buy Amazon gift cards with a VISA gift card (for any amount over $1). Then you can use those leftover funds for anything Amazon sells (which is nearly everything). 

But nothing beats cash. Gift cards are usually just a pain.

Susan Fourtané 3/6/2018 | 2:31:48 AM
Re: Pricing clarity Michelle: That’s awful and disappointing. It’s also unfair that they took back your balance due to inactivity. It sounds like a way of pushing people to use the gift cards in a certain period of time of they punish them. They can’t give a gift and take it back. Or they shouldn’t. Coffee Shop could have given you something little at least as well just to help with the disappointment. It wouldn’t have cost them too much and they could have made you a little happier.
Susan Fourtané 3/6/2018 | 2:18:46 AM
Re: Pricing clarity Maryam: It’s a great idea to donate the unused or unwanted gift cards. I never thought about it even if it sounds so simple and logical. Thank you for the idea!
Joe Stanganelli 3/2/2018 | 5:21:22 AM
Re: Pricing clarity @Michelle: Wow. That does sound heartbreaking.

This discussion has been really eye-opening. I was unaware of this. (As an attorney, I have more than enough fine print to read in my life than worrying about a few dollars on a gift card.) I'll pay attention to this in the future -- and tell people to skip the gift cards next Christmas. ;)
Joe Stanganelli 3/2/2018 | 5:19:48 AM
Re: Pricing clarity @maryam: The Visa cards lose value every month? That sounds...strange to me. I feel like I've gone a while without using my gift cards and not had a problem.
Ariella 3/1/2018 | 9:04:51 PM
Re: Pricing clarity @Joe Yes, that's just the kind of thing that makes gift certificates and cards more lucrative than they appear on the surface; they bring in money for the business at no real cost when they're not cashed. When they are cashed, they also can bring in more business. For example, say the certificate you have is good for $50. You'd seek to spend all of it because you won't get any change back, and in making sure you get full value, you would likely go up at least a bit becaues total amounts often don't work out perfectly evenly. Then they gain more of a sale on top of the orignal price paid. Multiply that effect by many gifts, and you increase returns.
Michelle 3/1/2018 | 2:48:12 PM
Re: Pricing clarity Read the fine print!! :) I have seen this on Visa and Mastercard branded gift cards. Store cards don't seem to do this awful thing. I lost $8 to these service fees once. It was heartbreaking. I wanted to buy coffee shop breakfast with my remaining balance, but I couldn't because it had been taken back due to inactivity. 
[email protected] 2/28/2018 | 11:05:18 PM
Re: Pricing clarity Joe an idea for that gift card if you don't want it to donate it! Many worthy causes will give it to a hungry family or use it to get take out for someone that is ill or homebound. Play it forward someone in need can use it!
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