Have you noticed lately how businesses and restaurants are pushing the sale of their gift cards?  It’s not uncommon for them to draw you in to make a purchase of $50 to get a $10 gift card in return.  For good reason from their perspective.  A survey conducted by Consumer Reports National Research Center in 2007, 26% of gift cards went unused.  That was up from 19% the year earlier.  It was estimated that the value of those unused gift cards was $8 billion dollars…that’s right $8…BILLION…DOLLARS (in my best Dr. Evil impression).

It’s been a month since Christmas 2008 and there is a pretty good chance that you received at least one gift card.  Have you already forgotten? Be sure to dust off those cards and check out the details:

  • When does the gift card expire?
  • Are there any inactivity fees associated with the gift card?
  • Are there any other penalties involved with redeeming the gift card?

If you have any questions, most gift cards should provide a phone number on the back or visit their official website (some provide an online form to check the gift cards value too).  If you know you won’t use the gift card, there are many options including listing them on Craigslist or eBay.  I’ve had a lot of experience dealing with gift cards in the online scene.  I plan on sharing my stories in the future, so stay tuned.

I would caution re-gifting any gift cards because now you are putting someone else in the situation of dealing with a ticking time bomb.  How embarrassing would it be that the gift expires before they can use it?  If you don’t use it, you may lose it and that doesn’t make any ‘cents’ (except for the store)!

Stupidly Yours,

Matt