When is a gift card a deceptive trade practice?

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MONROE, La (KNOE) - Gift cards and gift certificates can be very convenient and thoughtful for Valentine's treats or surprises. But there is one surprise nobody likes…you don't get what you thought you got! This is one of the most controversial topics in the consumer world: Expectations about gift certificates! Both the federal trade commission and the Louisiana revised statute clearly denote a five (5) year time period on gift cards, gift certificates or another medium for goods, food, services, credit or money of equal value.

La revised statute rs 51:1423 makes it very clear that it is the business issuing the gift card or certificate that must follow this directive: "such expiration date shall appear in capital letters in a least ten-point font on the certificate.

Section C of LA rs 51:1423 states that " a gift certificate sold without an expiration date shall be valid until redeemed or replaced". So business owners and consumers are aware, during the Valentine rush this week, check for those dates and follow the rules! in Louisiana, a one-time $1 handling fee may be charged per gift certificate. FTC rules specify that "inactivity fees can be charged only after a card hasn't been used for at least one year and you can only be charged once per month. But you may be charged a fee to buy the card or to replace a lost or stolen card.

These tips come from the FTC:
1-avoid buying gift card from online auction sites
2-read the terms and conditions before you pay!
3-inspect cards to ensure codes and pin are untampered
4-give the receipt with the gift card when gifting
5-consider the financial condition of retailers and restaurants, if they are independents-they, could go out of business before 5 years!