State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is reminding New Yorkers to read the fine print on holiday gift cards for details about fees and expiration dates.

DiNapoli says while some gift card sellers have done away with inactivity fees, consumers should still ask whether fees apply when buying a gift card.

He also says consumers should use their gift cards within a year of purchase to avoid inactivity fees and register the cards with the retailers.

DiNapoli says gift cards may have terms and conditions that can decrease the value of the card. These may include charging:

  • Service fees when the card is purchased
  • Dormancy fees if the gift card is not used within a certain period of time
  • Fees to call and check the balance remaining on the card
  • Replacement fees for lost or stolen cards.

“Although gift cards are a popular purchase during the holiday shopping season, many of them go unused,” said DiNapoli. “Last year, my office received nearly $12 million from dormant gift cards. I encourage New Yorkers to read the terms when purchasing or receiving gift cards so they understand all of the fees, which may reduce the value of the card if it isn’t used.”