"Read the fine print:" Watch out for gift card “gotchas” during the holidays

MADISON -- Convenience, availability and flexibility are always appreciated by shoppers, so it’s no wonder that gift cards are so popular as a holiday gift. In fact, gift cards are at the top of most shoppers’ lists for the ninth year in a row according to the National Retail Federation, with nearly six in ten consumers hoping to receive one as a gift.

But for all of their pluses, there are some potential “gotchas” to look out for when buying and using gift cards. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection asks both card buyers and recipients to take steps to ensure that everyone gets the full value of the gift.

“The best guidance is for shoppers to read the fine print at the time of purchase and for recipients to use the card fairly quickly when received as a gift,” said Frank Frassetto, Division Administrator for Trade and Consumer Protection.

When buying a gift card:

    If you receive a gift card:

      For additional information or to file a complaint, visit the Consumer Protection Bureau at datcp.wisconsin.gov, send an e-mail to datcphotline@wisconsin.gov or call the Consumer Protection Hotline toll-free at 1-800-422-7128.