A search for the perfect gift leads many holiday shoppers to buy gift cards for those hard-to-please folks at the bottom of the Christmas list. After all, gift cards and gift certificates are convenient to buy and offer little Johnny the chance to get whatever Santa forgot.
But the Tennessee Attorney General warns consumers to watch out for restrictions, expiration dates on rebates, gift cards and gift certificates.
Attorney General Bob Cooper and Division of Consumer Affairs Director Mary Clement remind consumers to pay close attention to restrictions and expiration dates when buying gift cards or items that promise rebates.
Mail-in rebates usually entail some work on the buyer’s part. Most rebate programs have specific deadlines and require receipts, UPC codes or other packaging parts to be mailed in along with the rebate form.
Consumer groups such as the Better Business Bureau report that most consumers take advantage of the rebates but an estimated 20 percent never receive their rebates.
“That’s money and time wasted if you don’t pay attention to the details or don’t follow through to see why the company never mailed the rebate,” Cooper said. “A little research can go a long way toward collecting what you’re due.”
Regarding gift cards or gift certificates, be sure to:
“We encourage any consumer who feels they have had a problem with any business relating to a gift card, gift certificate or rebate to file a complaint with our office,” Clement said. “Consumers may call the Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs at 1-800-342-8385 or (615) 741-4737 or online at www.state.tn.us/consumer.”
Tennessee also has a gift certificate law which prohibits gift certificates being issued with an expiration date of less than 2 years with a few exceptions. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 47-18-126. Consumers should report companies they believe to be in violation of the state law to the Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs.