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StingingVelvet: Anyone who complains about Steam's terms of service should read about gift cards some time. You give them money for a promise they do not have to fulfill. You don't even save money doing it, the whole thing is a scam people have accepted because they're too lazy to shop for people.
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Gazoinks: I personally never really understood the point of a gift card when you can just give some a giftcard to the world (i.e. money).
I always thought it is so that the recipient would not use the money on crack and cheap women/wine. :)

I was sometime also thinking why doesn't the gift card give at least a bit of extra for buying such a prepaid card (ie. it is worth more than what you paid for it), but I presume they can't do that either because then it would make no sense to buy anything from the shop without a gift card. Ie., when people come to buy some clothes from H&M, first they'd go to the cashier and buy a gift card for themselves, just in order to save a bit of money for their purchases.
Post edited January 18, 2013 by timppu
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amok: This is easily rectified - never ever buy anyone a gift card. If you don't know what to get someone, just give them then money. This way they are truly free to chose whatever they want to have, and not forced to use a specific vendor.

The only people benefiting from Gift Cards are the sellers.
Indeed, someone gave me a couple $50 gift cards for a shopping center and I forgot about using them for a few years. I finally get around to using them and they're empty. Turns out the shopping center deducted like 5 bucks per month as a service charge if I didn't use them within a year.
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StingingVelvet: Anyone who complains about Steam's terms of service should read about gift cards some time. You give them money for a promise they do not have to fulfill. You don't even save money doing it, the whole thing is a scam people have accepted because they're too lazy to shop for people.
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hedwards: It varies from state to state, but even in the best case you're writing the company an interest free loan. They might even be allowed to cancel the gift card after a period of time without even having to be bankrupt.
I *think* the latter has been stopped as part of the Consumer Protection Bill. I believe a company is no longer able to say gift cards expire or cancel on a whim. Bankruptcy, however, is I'm sure still a different matter.
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Prydeless: Indeed, someone gave me a couple $50 gift cards for a shopping center and I forgot about using them for a few years. I finally get around to using them and they're empty. Turns out the shopping center deducted like 5 bucks per month as a service charge if I didn't use them within a year.
Yeah ... thankfully, they're not allowed to do that anymore.
Post edited January 18, 2013 by crazy_dave
no not really.
I think the problem is less that these gift cards are not being honoured and more that the management knew full well that they were entering administration and still sold them anyway. This is less a matter of the company's obligations while they are under administration and more a matter of fraud committed by the management.

I suspect this will yet be brought before a court under criminal law.
I'm more amazed people still actually buy them "Here, have some money that I've arbitrarily restricted to one place so I can delude myself into believing I gave you something 'thoughtful' even though all I've really done is make the gift of money annoying."
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Cormoran: I'm more amazed people still actually buy them "Here, have some money that I've arbitrarily restricted to one place so I can delude myself into believing I gave you something 'thoughtful' even though all I've really done is make the gift of money annoying."
- It shows thought.
- It shows defective thought.
(c) Dilbert
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Cormoran: I'm more amazed people still actually buy them "Here, have some money that I've arbitrarily restricted to one place so I can delude myself into believing I gave you something 'thoughtful' even though all I've really done is make the gift of money annoying."
No need for that anymore with pre-paid debit cards. I've been telling people to just give me cash since I was 10, but if they don't want to I tell them to just give that. I rather have my gas or a bill paid for than more crap I don't need.
This happened to me a few christmas' ago with a voucher for Zavvi - the store was open and people could buy stock but I couldn't redeem my voucher! I felt like walking out with a few CDs under my arm and throwing the voucher at them!

You could have filled out a load of forms and be at the end of a very long queue of people they owned money to and the likely hood of them having any money left to pay you back was....slim.

Definitely left a sour taste in the mouth - not nice at all.
My youngest learnt the hard way.

Had £35.00 HMV card as a Christmas present. I did warn her that they could be going belly up but she didn't spend them so, and expensive piece of plastic.
I have about £50 worth that i got for christmas, while im pissed off they no aren't worth the paper they are printed on I have seen people literally yelling at the staff about it, It isnt the staffs fault, Thats just life.
If you are selling cards you know, you know, you know full well you will not be honoring, then that sounds quite a bit like theft of some sort. That sucks for everyone involved. I think something similar (but less dramatic) went down with Sharper Image.

Gift cards make some (emotional) consumer sense. They at least let you give someone something along the lines of what they want, and it feels somewhat more personal than just handing someone a wad of cash. It says "I know something about you," instead of "I know nothing about you" or "I didn't want to put effort into this."

It also lets you have some say over what they do with the money. It doesn't always have the nicest undertones, but if someone is a bit reckless with cash you can help out knowing it won't turn into pot. Or on the other side some people work too hard or sacrifices too much, so you give them an order to buy something nice for themselves. It's hard to buy groceries at Best Buy or Macy's.

Beyond that they financially only benefit the store. Available funds can shrink, the customer is forced to either overspend, or underspend to get what they want, and the store wins in both instances. There are no discounts or rewards for using giftcards. It's horrifically unattractive financially for the consumer, and very attractive for the store.

Giftcards are logically stupid, but people aren't robots and have decided they are useful in some way in the weird way we think of things. It would probably be good if people spent a little less on them, or started looking for a little something in return. When was the last time anyone walked up and gave you an interest free loan?
Post edited January 18, 2013 by gooberking
Perspective, gentlemen.
You can get your money back if they were bought in Tesco or Asda, or if they were bought with a credit or debit card. That would be pretty much everyone I would think. Not a great way to realise your Christmas present though.
I was in Gamestop this evening and they are offering a 10% discount on all new games to people with a HMV voucher, as they cannot scan the voucher to see what it's worth, its obviously a gimmick, but if you have a 30€ voucher at least you will get about €5.50 off a new game, its better than a smack in the gob I guess.