Columbia, S.C. (WIS) - It never fails. When Christmas rolls around, we all have those friends or family members who are impossible to shop for. So, many of us resort to gift cards.
Richard Clodfelter is professor of retail at USC. He says you are better off buying a gift card this year as opposed to last, " This year almost all of them will be much better for the customer," he said.
Clodfelter says because of a new federal law enacted back in August, recipients of gift cards are better protected. Here's some of what's in the law: Gift card funds can't expire before 5 years, all post-sale fees must be clearly disclosed and may only be imposed if the card has not been used for 1 year.
Even with the new protection, all cards are not created equal. Scripsmart dot com is a gift card watch dog website. Here are some cards that make their top 10 list: Verizon, Bass Pro Shop and Old Navy. These cards have high scores because of features like: no expiration date, they are reloadable and some are refundable.
Spripsmart dot com says to avoid these cards: Blockbuster, Zales and Borders---the reason? They're financially unstable. Clodfelter has experienced that problem first hand, "I got one at a restaurant and by the time I tried to use it, in January they had closed, so the person who game me the card just lost their money," he said.
So, before you make the easy purchase do a little research. You don't want to buy your loved one a present that could end up in the gift card grave yard.
Another thing popular this year is the electronic gift card. Scripsmart has also rated their best and worst e-gift cards. You can read up on any gift card you may be interested in buying, CLICK HERE.