If you're buying gift cards for the holidays, don't forget to read the fine print.

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says while some gift card sellers have done way with inactivity fees, consumers should still ask whether fees apply when purchasing a gift card.

DiNapoli also says New Yorkers should use their gift cards within one year of purchase to avoid inactivity fees and register cards with the retailers that offer it so the owner can be identified.

Gift cards may have terms and conditions that can decrease the value of the gift 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 gift cards

“As New Yorkers begin their holiday shopping, gift cards are often a very popular purchase,” DiNapoli said. “Last year, my office received nearly $15 million from unused gift cards. Taking a minute to read the terms when purchasing or receiving gift cards can help you avoid fees.”

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