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Gift card restrictions and limitations

By: Melissa Gundersen
EL PASO, Texas -- While Christmas shopping is now officially over, a lot of people still spent their Thursday at the mall shopping with temporary plastic.

Gift cards are becoming one of the most popular gifts.

"I'd rather have my own ability to go and shop for something rather than someone getting something that I don't want or the wrong size," said Michelle Standberg, of east El Paso.

Unless you read the back of the card, like Standberd does, though, people may be in for a surprise.

"My brother got me one, and I read the instructions and if you don't use it in like, six months then it says you're going to get charged interest," said Standberd.

Standberd said she's never run into a problem when using gift cards from individual stores, but has when it comes to using the ones from credit card companies.

"Visa, like those online gift cards that you can buy that are supposed to be generic Visa cards, you have to pay like $5 for the card, and then I think it's after three to six months, then it expires," said Standberd.

Other gift cards can only be used at certain locations. For example, people can't use a P.F. Chang's gift card at one of the restaurant chains airport locations.

Other cards don't cover everything. If you plan on knocking back a few adult drinks at Applebees diners won't be able to pay with the restaurant's own gift card.

It's an interesting restriction to Gustavo Gonzalez, who gets restaurant gift cards all the time.

"I've never encountered that, but I guess I'll have to wait and see what happens when I go to the Olive Garden and I try to order alcohol with it," said Gonzalez.

The easiest way to find out if there are any restrictions is to read the back of the gift card or call the store directly.


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