Saturday, November 28, 2015

Details in fine print on gift cards aren't so fine

Daily News personal finance columnist Harry Gross
Daily News personal finance columnist Harry Gross

DEAR HARRY: I received two bank gift cards for my birthday a few years ago. They have expiration dates of 2018. One is for $50 and the other for $75. I am 76 years old and not well-versed in finance. I was just told by the bank that one of them had expired and the other was now worth $62.50. The issuing bank said that if it's not used after 365 days, there will be a $2.50-per-month charge on each card. The person I spoke with at the bank (both cards are at the same bank) said that all this is revealed in the small print on the back of the card.

Harry, I defy anyone to read that without a magnifying glass. My daughter couldn't do it, and she has 20/20 vision. Help.

WHAT HARRY SAYS: The expiration date covers you on the one they say expired. If they persist in denying you the use of that card, get above the person you spoke to at the bank. That expiration date is engraved on the card, and they must honor it. I'm certain that this one can be straightened out easily.

The small print is a problem. Very few people read the small print on any contract. On the photocopy you sent me, I was able to make out some of the words, but not nearly enough to make sense of what I was trying to read. The bank may make a concession regarding the charges, but you may have to contact the Federal Reserve Bank at 215-574-6000. Good luck.


Email Harry Gross at, or write to him at Daily News, 801 Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19107. Harry urges all his readers to give blood. Contact the American Red Cross at 800-Red Cross.

Daily News Personal Finance Columnist
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