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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A warning for those planning to give gift cards this Christmas -- beware of hidden fees and deadlines.
Consumer surveys say this holiday season, shoppers are expected to spend 18-point-five (B)billion dollars nationwide on gift cards. But the Utah Division of Consumer Protection says buyers need to beware of traps that could unexpectedly drain the cards' value.
The Deseret Morning News reviewed the fine print on dozens of gift cards and found a third of them had potential catches. Some charge a monthly fees until a card is used up, while some charge service fees every time the card is used or a start-up fee to begin using it.
Also, some companies charge a fee to use a card that has expired or to be reissued a card that had been lost or stolen.
The Deseret Morning News also found cards from banking companies, such as a prepaid Visa or Mastercard, tend to have more hidden fees than cards from retailers. And while companies promise their cards are good anywhere Visa and Mastercard are accepted, fine print shows they might NOT be easily useable at many locations.
Information from: Deseret Morning News
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)