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For Immediate Release:
November 24, 2020
Contact: 212-417-5801
press@dos.ny.gov
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CONSUMER ALERT: NYS DIVISION OF CONSUMER PROTECTION PROVIDES CONSUMERS WITH TIPS FOR BUYING GIFT CARDS AND GIFT CERTIFICATES THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

Gift Cards Are Always a Popular and Convenient Gift Choice

Consumers are Urged to Follow Basic Tips to Ensure Successful Gifting

As part of its seven-part consumer alert holiday series, the New York State Division of Consumer Protection recommends New Yorkers be informed consumers when purchasing gift cards and gift certificates this holiday season.

“Gift cards offer convenience to so many gift givers during the holidays,” said New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado, who oversees the Division. “Gift cards are also a great way for consumers to show support for their local businesses. If gift cards are on your holiday shopping list, be sure to know your rights when it comes to buying and spending them.”

New York State General Business Law §396-i, acceptance of unexpired gift certificates, protects consumers who buy and use gift cards. The law states that no gift card may expire earlier than five years from the date of purchase and requires businesses to prominently post the ‘Terms and Conditions’ that apply to their gift cards – including the procedure to replace a missing card.

Below are tips consumers should keep in mind when buying and using gift cards this holiday season:

Consumers having difficulty with an existing gift card are encouraged to file a complaint with the New York State Division of Consumer Protection. The Division of Consumer Protection provides voluntary mediation, between the consumer and business, when the consumer has been unsuccessful at reaching a resolution on their own. The Consumer Assistance Helpline 1-800-697-1220 is available Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm, excluding State Holidays, and consumer complaints can be filed at any time at www.dos.ny.gov/consumerprotection. To view consumer alerts, consumers can visit https://www.dos.ny.gov/about/newsroom.html. The Division can also be reached via Twitter at @NYSConsumer or Facebook at www.facebook.com/nysconsumer.

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