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Province has tips for using gift cards this holiday season

Gift CardThe Ontario government is providing valuable tips to protect consumers who plan to buy gift cards as part of their holiday shopping.

To get the most out of gift cards, consumers should be aware of the following:

  • Gift cards are as good as cash, store them in a safe place
  • Keep your gift card receipt as a guarantee of the value of the card, you may need it if the card is lost or stolen
  • Read the terms and conditions before you buy a gift card, such as; gift cards should not have an expiry date
  • Retailers cannot charge HST on gift cards
  • Cards purchased for use at malls, rather than each retailer, often come with a one-time activation fee and can expire after 15 months
  • Buy your gift card from reputable retailers, if the store goes out of business, you may not be able to get your money back.

“Before buying or using a gift card, read the fine print. Be a smart consumer so you can enjoy the holiday tradition of giving and receiving, with confidence” said Tracy MacCharles, Minister of Consumer Services.

In 2007, Ontario was the first province to ban most retail business gift cards from having an expiry date. This means a gift card can be used to its full value no matter when you decide to use it.

Federally regulated gift cards that resemble credit cards and phone cards may have expiry dates.

Gift cards are the second most requested present by Canadians during the holiday season.