Still holding onto gift cards you received back around the holidays? Important information you should know.

The gift card. An easy and convenient way to do holiday shopping has always been purchasing gift cards or gift certificates for friends and family. Maybe it's considered lazy LOL but all I know is when I'm trying to shop for someone and have no idea what to get them, gift cards are always my go-to, and I think many people are on the same page with me as far as that goes.

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New York State Division of Consumer Protection recently put out a consumer alert to remind New Yorkers on how to avoid losing money with gift cards that were received over the holiday season. One of the most surprising details to come out of the report was something I had no idea about.

Did you know that gift cards and gift certificates cannot expire within nine years? And that they will not decline in value because of fees? Also, they may be redeemed for cash if the remaining value is less than $5. Who knew!?  I certainly wasn't aware.

A. Boris
A. Boris

As per New York State law, gift cards or gift certificates purchased on or after December 10, 2022, remain valid for nine years from the date of purchase. The recipient can also opt to receive cash for the balance if it is less than five dollars. The law also prohibits fees of any kind. Mind-blowing! You learn something new every day.

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There is one exemption to the law that an on-time fee for activation costs may be charged by the issuer of the gift card if it may be used at multiple merchants, but the fee may not exceed $9 by law.

You can get more information about this along with tips on staying alert to different scams involving gift cards or gift certificates by checking out the consumer report at the New York State website here.

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