• When gift certificates get rejected

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    Dear DTI Consumer Power,
    I just would like to ask, when do retailers reject gift certificates? I went to a store and they did not accept my gift certificates because according to them, the prints are too faded to be considered readable. Is this even a valid reason?
    Larry, Malabon

    Dear Larry,
    There are specific instances when gift certificates are rejected. Retailers or suppliers may refuse to honor gift checks/certificates/cards under the following circumstances: (1) When the gift check/certificate/card is lost due to no fault of the supplier; and (2) When the gift check/certificate/card is defaced due to no fault of the supplier, and such damage prevents the latter from identifying the security and authenticity features.

    In your case, the store where you tried to use your gift certificates may have rejected them because the prints were faded in a way that they can no longer identify the security and authenticity features. Consumers must understand that gift certificates can easily be tampered and counterfeited, that is why suppliers of these have them printed with elements that would help them and the retailers identify their legitimacy.

    What you can do is to go back to the store and bring the same gift certificates you showed them. Ask them to tell you what exactly made them reject the gift certificates, so you could better assess whether or not their reason for not honoring them is fair or not. On the other hand, you must also understand that the areas where your gift certificates are tattered may have been the place where their security features are in place. The prints that were faded may also be important. Like the barcode or other vital numbers printed on it.

    Gift certificates may be printed on lesser quality paper than that of money, but this doesn’t mean that they can be treated with lesser value. Gift certificates are as good as money. You use them to purchase items from selected stores that honor them, so you have to keep them well. Make sure they are not torn and there is no tampering of any sort.

    As what we have said, gift certificates can easily be counterfeited that is why retailers are strictly checking them whenever consumers use them in making purchases. Given this fact, consumers must also be wary in buying gift certificates. Make sure to buy them from legitimate suppliers. Never transact with random people who want to exchange their gift certificates for real money. Most of them give an excuse like they are short of cash or they have no use of it. Beware of such people for they may be trying to scam you.

    Furthermore, on the subject of expiration of gift certificates, the DTI issued Department Order 10-04, which indicates that since July 1, 2012, issuance of gift checks/certificates/cards with expiry date will be prohibited. All gift checks/certificates with no expiry dates shall be redeemable until used up by the bearer. Gift checks/certificates/cards bearing an expiry beyond June 30, 2012, shall be subject to revalidation or replacement by suppliers.

    For more information or complaints about gift certificates, you may contact DTI Direct 751-3330 or visit the nearest DTI Office.

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    The Department of Trade and Industry welcomes all inquiries, complaints, comments and suggestions from consumers. Call DTI Direct at 751-3330 from Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or visit the DTI website www.dti.gov.ph.

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