Best Used by Expiration Date

Thomas, Liisa M.; Dillenbeck, Melissa S.
January 2004
Marketing Management;Jan/Feb2004, Vol. 13 Issue 1, p53
The article discusses gift cards as a marketing tool. Gift cards are a hot property in retail during these rough economic times. They can increase sales, attract new customers and build loyalty with existing customers. By all measures, the cards are working as a marketing tool. Banks and credit card companies are jumping into the gift card fray by issuing cards that can be used wherever their traditional credit cards are accepted. Standard Register, an Ohio information services company reports that 55% of all gift card holders use their card an average of three times before exhausting the card value. In addition to their popularity, gift cards have also provided retailers with an unexpected windfall. Expiration dates can be one of the trickiest and most difficult legal issues for companies to wish to issue gift cards. Under Connecticut's law, a gift certificate must be made for consideration, which suggests that the law excluded gift cards given away for free as promotions. California also makes it unlawful to sell a gift card that has an expiration date, although certain exceptions do apply. Gift card programs can be expensive to operate and to recoup their fees, some companies have experimented with charging service fees.


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