MONEY MATTERS: Local Mall Guarantees Gift Cards - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

MONEY MATTERS: Local Mall Guarantees Gift Cards

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by John Wilmer

WATERLOO (KWWL) - Gift cards are popular during the holiday season, but an email making the rounds warns customers about certain stores closing and how their gift cards will be worthless by the first of the year.  Now an area mall is fighting back against this viral campaign.

There is no more a perfect gift than the one you pick out for yourself,  which is why gift cards have become so popular. Now that many companies are in financial trouble an email has been circulating warning people about buying these gift card

Officials with the Federal Trade Commission say be wary of what you read.

"As with any email you get from sort of an unknown source, you wanna check it out before you make a buying decision based on it," Deborah Marrone of the Federal Trade Commission said.

Crossroads Center in Waterloo is reassuring it's customers by "Our Gift Card Promise." A program that will continue to honor gift cards issued by stores in the mall that no longer hold their value due to a store's closing. The gift cards will be honored through February 1st of 2009.

"This is the time of year when people are shopping and they need to have confidence in the people whom they shop and the malls that they shop in," Gary Ogzewalla of Crossroads Center said.

Officials with Federal Trade Commission say it's best to use gift cards right away.

"In some cases, gift cards are honored, in some cases they are not able to honor them. You wanna see if it has any restrictions, for example, is there an expiration date.  You wanna see if there's any fees attached to it, whether those are activation fees or dormancy fees if it's not used for a certain amount of time," Marrone said.

"Crossroads is going to be here.  It's merchants are going to be here. we anticipate this is going to be a wonderful season and this is one of the things we're doing to make sure it's a happy holiday season for everyone,"  Ogzewalla said.

The promise made by Crossroads will honor all gift cards purchased between November 28th and January 1st of 2009. 

If you have a problem regarding a gift card, you can contact the Federal Trade Commission at this web address http://www.ftc.gov/.

 

 

Online Reporter: John Wilmer

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