(HELENA) Holiday shopping can be stressful and many people buy gift cards for friends and family on their shopping lists to help alleviate some of that stress.
"When you’re looking at the gift card, you need to see if the seals are still on the gift cards,” said Marcus Meyer, a consumer protection specialist with the Montana Department of Justice.
If the card is purchased in Montana for a business in the state, Meyer said: “If a gift card can be used at one location, there is no expiration date for that particular seller.”
Gift cards that can be used for multiple locations, like a chamber of commerce card, have different rules.
“After one year, they can have fees attached to those cards so they don’t fall under the regulation of the gift card regulations for the state of Montana,” said Meyer.
Also, if you have a card that has five dollars or less on it, there’s another way you can use it.
“They can cash those cards out for what’s left on the card,” so long as the card’s original value was more than five dollars, said Meyer.
Meyer added that cards like a Visa gift card that’s not one business specific does not fall under the same laws in Montana so those can be subject to fees and expiration dates.