Gift cards have become a popular choice for consumers and are now offered by many stores. There are many different kinds of cards, including gift cards for individual stores, malls, or credit card gift cards.
While you might love gift cards for their convenience, portability and flexibility, you should also be aware of the terms and conditions that accompany most gift cards.
Here are some to look out for:
- Restrictions and limits on what kind of services or goods you can purchase.
- Extra fees including activation fees, transaction fees, or inactivity fees.
- Restrictions on whether the card can be returned for a refund.
- Expiry dates or conditions on declining value.
Most provinces or territories have laws or regulations that restrict expiration dates and fees. They have also created stricter rules on what a store has to tell a customer before they buy a gift card, including any kind of restrictions on the card’s use. However, not every province or territory has laws and rules, and those that do exist are different from place to place. To find out more, check with your provincial or territorial consumer affairs office.
For more information on gift cards, please visit one of the following links:
- Financial Consumer Agency of Canada – Pre-paid Cards: Your Rights and Responsibilities
- Statistics Canada – A Win-Win Way to Give
- Statistics Canada – Gift Cards: The Gift of Choice
Gift Card Fraud
Most companies let you check your remaining balance online, but there are scammers online who might try to steal that information by creating fake websites.
To protect yourself from this fraud, do not click on links found in pop-up boxes or emails. Instead, use a search engine to search for the official company website and go to the gift card balance page yourself. You can also contact the company directly by calling them or the number on the gift card. If a site or email is fake, keep in mind that the contact information on the site or in the email is likely fake as well.
Provincial and Territorial Consumer Affairs Offices
Service Alberta, Consumer Contact Centre
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 4L4
Consumer Protection BC
Victoria, British Columbia V8W 9J2
Consumer Protection Office, Manitoba Justice
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 0B6
Financial and Consumer Services Commission
Fredericton, New Brunswick E3B 1E1
Newfoundland and Labrador
St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador A1B 4J6
Consumer Affairs, Department of Municipal and Community Affairs
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories X1A 2L9
Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, Public Enquiries
1505 Barrington Street
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 3K5
Consumer Affairs, Department of Community and Government Services
Baker Lake, Nunavut X0C 0A0
Consumer Protection Ontario, Ministry of Government and Consumer Services
Toronto, Ontario M3M 1J8
Prince Edward Island
Consumer Services, Department of Justice and Public Safety
PO Box 2000
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island C1A 7N8
Office de la protection du consommateur
Québec, Quebec G1K 8W4
Consumer Services, Department of Community Services
Whitehorse, Yukon Y1A 2N1