What You Need to Know About Gift Cards and the Law

Gift cards are the quintessential easy gift idea. Everybody uses them, and they avoid questions like “Will this fit her?” or “Will he like this?” Gift cards and gift certificates are available from all sorts of stores, ranging from the mundane like grocery stores and drug stores to more specialized businesses like spas and travel agencies. No matter where you purchase or receive a card from, however, it is important to protect yourself as a consumer and be familiar with your rights surrounding gift card use. After all, these are used as form of currency and ought to be treated as frugally as one would treat cash.

What can I do with a gift card I don’t want?

There are a lot of options for putting gift cards you don’t want to good use. There are websites that exist for the sole purpose of buying and selling gift cards. Gift Card Granny, for example, will buy your card for 60%-80% of its value. You can also sell your card on a website like Craigslist or eBay. Other websites like Gift Card Swapping allow you to trade your gift card for one you’ll actually use.

If you’re feeling charitable, many nonprofits, including local schools and churches, will accept gift cards as donations. Gift cards are also great for re-gifting. There’s no reason to let any gift card sit around and be forgotten!

Can my gift card expire? Can I lose the balance on my gift card?

The short answer: It depends on what state you live in.

The long answer: It depends on what state you live in, and the extent to which your state is complying with federal law.

In 2009, the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act [gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-111publ24/pdf/PLAW-111publ24.pdf] passed into federal law. The act covers a lot of ground surrounding the protection of credit cardholders, but it also created some federal standards for gift card issuers that are intended to protect consumers. These include requiring that cards, with a few exceptions, expire no less than five years after issuance and that dormancy fees can only be charged after one year of inactivity and only if these fees are fully disclosed to consumers. According to the CARD Act, stores are allowed to begin charging dormancy fees – meaning, a charge to keep the card active when it has not been used after a certain amount of time – after one year of inactivity, and no more than one charge per month. Eventually, these charges may deplete the value of the card. This is an important way stores and major card issuers like American Express make money. However, some states have introduced additional, and sometimes contradictory, legislation surrounding gift card law.

For example, New York law allows stores to begin charging monthly dormancy fees after just one year of inactivity. It is also legal for stores to charge a replacement fee for lost cards, and they do not require stores to give cash back for small balances on cards. …

Make Your Own Gourmet Gift Baskets

Everyone loves to receive a gift basket. Corporate gift baskets are often given by businesses to their customers as a token of their appreciation. However, most gift baskets are person to person expressions of love and friendship.

You can find a great selection of online gift baskets from the very expensive to the cheap. Or, you can come up with your own unique gift basket idea and surprise a cherished friend or loved one.

It’s not difficult to make your own personalized gift baskets. Most gift baskets involve a theme.

Here are some sample ideas to get you started:

  • Cookie Gift Basket – bake up some homemade cookies and enclose them in colorful plastic wrap, include a personal card or poem.
  • Chocolate Lovers Gift Basket – include individual fancy chocolates, boxed chocolates, or the person’s favorite chocolate bars along with hot chocolate mix.
  • Holiday Gift Basket #1 – a Christmas holiday gift basket idea could include small stocking stuffers, candy canes and homemade Christmas cookies.
  • Holiday Gift Basket #2 – a Halloween holiday gift basket can be stuffed with candy, throw in some plastic skulls, spiders, cob webs and assorted creepy items.
  • Wine Country Gift Basket – wine and cheese baskets are favorites, include two bottles of choice wine from your favorite winery or wine shop, add cheese and crackers.
  • Coffee Gift Basket – Your favorite coffee lover will enjoy fresh gourmet ground roasted coffee (or their favorite brand), flavored creamer, cookies and a fun coffee mug.
  • Italian Gift Basket – include a variety of dried gourmet pasta like spinach, whole wheat, or dried tomato, two jars of pasta sauce, fresh mozzarella and parmesan cheese, garlic bread and fancy olive oil.
  • Tea Lovers Gift Basket – you can include several varieties of black tea, green tea and herbal teas, a mug and homemade butter cookies adds a nice finishing touch.
  • Champagne or Beer Gift Basket – the champagne basket would be elegant: includes a bottle of fine champagne, cheese and crackers, and fancy chocolates; the beer basket includes several domestic and/or imported beers, lagers, or ales, chips, pretzels and nuts.
  • Pet Gift Basket – dog and cat gift baskets are the most popular. For a dog you can include: homemade doggie biscuits or cookies, a doggie collar, doggie toys. For a cat you can include: cat treats, cat nip and cat toys.

Now you know that all it takes to make a unique gift basket that will be treasured is a little ingenuity and your personal touch.

Copyright 2004

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Tenth Wedding Anniversary Gift: Looking Forward to Another Decade

The tenth wedding anniversary is a milestone in the lives of a married couple. It is a special occasion when the couples get the opportunity to celebrate the wonderful time they have shared together through the past decade.

Exchanging presents is a significant part of this celebration. Over the past ten years, you must have offered your spouse with varieties of different gifts. However, on the occasion of your tenth anniversary, you can think of some romantic anniversary ideas to make the occasion even more extraordinary.

Aluminum is the traditional gift for the tenth wedding anniversary, and diamond jewelry as the modern alternative, the traditional flower is daffodils and the customary gems are Diamond, Black Onyx or Blue Sapphire.

There are many options that you can go for when it comes to selecting a tenth anniversary gift for your spouse. Having already spent ten years together, deciding a gift for your partner would not be complicated.

Aluminum

The traditional gift for the tenth wedding anniversary is aluminum, which signifies durability and one of the excellent 10th anniversary gifts is an aluminum bicycle.

Cycling is an effective cardiovascular workout you can do. A good exercise habit is an essential aspect of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. In the world today, there is an alarming increasing rate of people suffering from hypertension and heart diseases and diabetes.

Cycling can be a healthy way to stay in shape and avoid significant health problems. It can also be amazing to go out and look at the trees, other nice sceneries, buildings and people.

Other aluminum gift ideas are aluminum camera tripod, an aluminum sculpture, book ends, aluminum kitchenware or a turkey fryer and many others.

Diamond

The modern or contemporary gift for the tenth wedding anniversary is diamond. Diamonds for presents are romantic anniversary ideas or in any occasion for that matter. The most famous diamond quote is probably "Diamonds are every woman's best friend".

Jewelry

Diamond rings and necklaces are probably the most popular gifts for both men and women, particularly on the latter. Pendants, earrings and pins are popular too. It also comes in different colors such as yellow, blue, pink and champagne.

Daffodils

The flower symbol for the tenth wedding anniversary is daffodils, symbolizing companionship. You have certainly enjoyed each other's company for the last decade, and one of the romantic anniversary ideas you can give your wife is daffodils flowers.

It is one of the most well-liked flowers due to their unparalleled beauty. An excellent idea to celebrate you double digit anniversary is to offer a potted daffodil flower in a beautiful vase with a candle light dinner in your dining room.

Other daffodil gift ideas are daffodil printed tote bags, wedding bouquet stamp, printed shirts, a daffodil etched mug or a daffodil ipod skin.

Romantic anniversary ideas

Trip

Take your spouse to unforgettable trip to10 different locations that have significant meanings to your lives as 10th anniversary gifts he or she will forever treasure. These places could be a restaurant …

Find An Anniversary Gift That Can Make Them Laugh!

The day of an anniversary is one of the biggest days of the year for anyone that is in a relationship. An anniversary is the celebration of a solid year of a committed relationship. This day is one of the most important and should be celebrated as a milestone between those partners in a relationship. When preparing for an anniversary there are a number of different things that a couple can do to show that they love each other. This can be going to the movies, a dinner or out on a basic date night. Along with the date nights, some couples will often exchange gifts or presents between themselves. One of the easiest gifts to give a partner is an anniversary card or online anniversary e-card.

If it’s a special year anniversary then there are exclusive collections for each milestone from paper to diamond. So be sure to check out which year represents which gift. Men should be especially careful not to slip up as their partner may not be so appreciative if you get it wrong. Searching this fact can be done easily online by typing in the keywords “Anniversary Gifts”. So why not give your present the personal touch and choose your partner something extra special this year. For instance how about the actual Original Newspaper from the exact day of their wedding. If you’re pushing the boat out, why not whisk them away for a Weekend for Two and celebrate in style.

For men finding the perfect anniversary gift is very important for their partner. Many men may forget or underestimate the importance of finding a great anniversary gift. For men an anniversary gift is one of the best options that is simple, straightforward and thoughtful. Many men may not know how to find a gift like this without a little help. One thing that a man should look for is a card or online anniversary e-card that is thoughtful and interesting. Look for cards that speak directly to the heart of your partner in a way that will cause them to emotionally attach themselves to you.

For women finding the perfect anniversary gift is very important. Many women have a good idea of what types of cards to get their partner, but often are unsure of if they will be liked. For women it is important that you have a pretty good idea of your partner’s personality type. This will help you hone into the different types of cards that they would like. If your partner likes to laugh, then it is important to find an anniversary gift that can make them laugh. There are a large number of different anniversary cards that are available to them.

Ideas;- A thoughtful card together with a thoughtful gift could be:-

  1. Send a message in a bottle
  2. Personalised song sound wave print framed and mounted
  3. A personalised wooden cheese board with your names engraved on it
  4. Personalised wooden tea lights, in fact anything personalised really hits the right

Popular Gift Ideas for Your Busy Men on Father's Day

Father's Day is that special day for the man you call Daddy or Grandpa. Although hand-made cards, his favorite home-cooked meal and heartfelt messages are great ideas for this special day, there are a wide variety of gifts you can choose from to surprise and give him something special during Father's Day.

Men, our husband and father's in general are usually busy and DIY inclined individuals. Beside managing their day jobs and providing for the family, a lot of them also enjoys doing home repairs and DIY projects at home or inside their man caves.

With this mind, a gift card from Home Depot, Lowe's or his favorite hardware store is one of the best options you can pick for a rush gift for your special man on Father's Day or any other occasion. Men generally see these places as their "toy store." Any typical dad would generally make a dozen trip to the hardware store in a week and never get tired of doing it or even thinking about their next trip. Not only will he appreciate the gift, you might end up getting that repair done or that DIY swing set-up before the weekend.

Electronic gadgets are also great options to consider when getting gifts for your special guy. Think of digital camera, wide-screen TV's, DVD players or laptops. It all depends on what they are passionate about. If he enjoys watching movies, DVD players or a big TV would be a great surprise. If he loves the outdoors and enjoys photography, a classy new digital camera would do the work. These gifts however can be a little bit too pricey so be sure to save up and plan early to be able to score one for your favorite man on Father's Day.

Personalized gifts are also a good idea when giving a gift to the guy who seems to have everything. Picture frames, plaques or figurines can be purchased specifically with Father's Day in mind. You can also purchase personalized pens. Mugs and t-shirts with special photos and special messages to show your appreciation.

Gift certificates to a hobby they are fond of a specialty shop they enjoy visiting is also a nice option for Father's Day gifts. If they enjoy playing golf, drinking wine or woodworking, you can practically find a specialty gift shop for that. Get him a gift certificate to get an item that he really likes or need.

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Relive Childhood Memories And Design The Perfect Holiday Gift, A Personalized Toy Box

Who did love getting a personalized gift as a child? There was something exciting about receiving a present with your name engraved or painted on it. If you ever needed to wow a recipient with a gift, a personalized item was a sure win.

Adult gift-givers can relive the fun of those childhood memories by giving personalized gifts. Today's shoppers have many options in personalization ranging from "off-the-shelf" items to hand-painted or even custom engraved gifts. Online shopping supports all of these gift options and more with personal design tools to make gift-giving even more fun and meaningful. It's now possible to create a perfect holiday gift right from the comfort of home. Better yet, you'll be able to preview the design, something you could never do with over-the-phone orders.

Design Your Own Is Perfect For Unique Names

If you're one of those people with a unique name you know how hard it is to find personalized items off the shelf. If you know a kid with a hard-to-find name, you know how disappointing it is for them to never find anything with their name on it. Design your own options eliminate this frustration and allow you to bring a smile to the faces of these kids who are proud of their unique names.

A Personalized Toy Box Is Fun And Functional

One gift that will be welcomed by kids and parents alike is a personalized toy box. Kids will love having their own place for all of their treasures, made even more special by their name being displayed front and center. Parents will appreciate having a functional and attractive storage spot for the unending pile of toys kids seem to accumulate.

Personalized toy boxes come in all shapes and sizes from 100% hand-crafted and laser-engraved heirloom-quality pieces to manufactured fiberboard boxes that feature painted or acrylic lettering. Some toy boxes are large enough to double as a bench or coffee table, others are small enough to tuck into a corner in a bedroom or playroom.

A good toy box design tool will give you several options to choose from to design your toy box such as wood color, name versus monogram, and font choice. Before making your final purchase you should be able to see a mock-up of your design to verify that everything is spelled correctly and designed the way you want. With one quick glance you'll be able to tell if it suits the personality of your intended recipient. If it doesn't, simply play around with your options some more until it's perfect.

This preview function takes the guesswork out of personalized gifts. No more waiting on pins and needles, hoping the final product looks the way you want it to. You'll know exactly what to expect before you even click the purchase button.

Selecting The Perfect Holiday Gift

If you're convinced that a personalized toy box should be on your shopping list this year, make sure it's a quality piece. Quality pieces last longer and look …

Retirement Signature Frames – The Perfect Retirement Gift!

When most people think of a retirement gift, they think of a watch. It's the tried and true gift that companies give employees to say thanks for all the years of hard work. It's a great gift on behalf of the company but if you're the lucky individual enlisted with planning the retirement party, you're probably in need of a personalized gift on behalf of everyone at the office.

The perfect gift would probably be an affordable, personalized, lifetime keepsake from everyone attending the farewell party and yet something that would make a beautiful presentation to wish the retiree well on the next stage of their life. Is there such a gift with all these qualities and still be original?

Well, there is and it's called a signature frame and it is able to encompass all of these great qualities by displaying pictures of the retiree surrounded with signatures and / or messages from friends and fellow co-workers. The signed frame, complimented with pictures and an engraved plaque will make a memorable gift at a retirement party.

Many signature frames are sold as kits and include everything from the pen for signing the mat board to the mounting system to quickly and easily add special photographs.

To make a fun presentation at the party, fill the frame with older photos of the person during their time at work and also personal photos of them throughout their life such as their hobbies, old graduation pictures etc. That way, when friends and colleagues sign the frame they will have a chance to reminisce about their friend while having fun looking at how much they have changed over the years. Be sure to take some new photographs at the party so they can later be added to the frame as a way to remember this final farewell memory.

This simple, fun retirement gift will provide years of happy memories for the retiree by displaying a lifetime of work memories while at the same time providing a personal memento from fellow employees and friends.

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The Difference Between a Bonus and a Gift and the Appropriate Time for Each

Do you know the difference between a bonus and a gift? You may have seen a sales page or an advertisement on TV where they list all the bonuses that come with your purchase. A bonus is something that is expected. It’s already been advertised ahead of time and it’s packaged with a purchase.

A bonus might include a special report, CDs, a workbook, a strategy session, or other things like that. It might be offered for a limited time. The important thing to remember about a bonus is that it is not a gift. It adds value to whatever you’re offering but it is not a gift.

You may be wondering when you can call something a gift. A gift should be unexpected. It should be a surprise. It should not be a marketing piece or an educational product. It should be something the receiver would enjoy receiving.

You might think that the products and things that you’ve created in your business are wonderful and valuable, and they are. But don’t offer them as a gift, use them as a bonus.

Think about what your client would want to receive as a gift, not just as an extra bonus. It should never be a product from your business. If it’s a product from your business, then it’s a bonus. It becomes a marketing piece because it probably has your logo on it and your contact information, but it’s not a gift.

There is a place for both bonuses and gifts. Bonuses add value to what you offer your clients. They can help sweeten the deal and make it more enticing to buy. They help your customers feel like they are getting more than what they are paying for.

There is also a place for gifts. Gifts should be used to thank, to show appreciation, and to reward your most loyal clients. If you really want to show appreciation to your clients, make sure you take the time to give a real and sincere gift, not just a bonus. When you send a gift, it makes the recipient feel valued. It makes them feel that you care about them. When they feel valued by your business, they are more likely to stay longer and refer their friends to you.

The key difference between a bonus and a gift is a bonus you’re expecting, it’s advertised. A gift is a surprise. It’s unexpected. It will make your clients feel valued and special.

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50th Wedding Anniversary – Anniversary Gift Ideas for Your Spouse, Parents, or Friends

According to recent statistics compiled by the US Census Bureau, approximately 5 percent of couples have reached their 50th wedding anniversary making this achievement a pinnacle only a few couples attain.

Following are unique 50th wedding anniversary gift ideas for those looking for a gift for your spouse, your parents, or your friends.

Anniversary Gift Ideas for Your Spouse

Although the traditional 50th wedding anniversary gift is gold, it may be a romantic gesture to give the traditional first anniversary gift of paper to express that you love your spouse as much as you did on your first wedding anniversary. This could involve: (1) finding an original edition of your spouse's daily newspaper from his or her date of birth or from your wedding date, (2) finding an old postcard from a place that's meaningful for the two of you, such as from your honeymoon destination, where the proposal occurred, or where you first met (get it framed), or (3) finding an old photo of the two of you to frame.

Anniversary Gift Ideas for Your Parents

Many couple's most treasured memories are made of paper, such as photographs, love letters and cards, the deed to their house, etc. Consider capturing paper treasures in a gold-bound album. Ask family members, friends, or even former classmates to contribute to an album to commemorate your parents' 50th wedding anniversary.

Or, if your budget permits, coordinate a vacation in celebration of your parents' 50th wedding anniversary. Host a party in recognition of their special anniversary and decorate in a theme related to the vacation, such as a luau if they were heading to Hawaii. During the celebration, announce the special gift as a surprise for your parents.

Anniversary Gift Ideas for Your Friends

For friends celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, consider arranging for a greeting from the President if you are an American citizen. Greetings can be sent for the 50th wedding anniversary and every subsequent year. You'll need to submit your request to the White House six weeks in advance of the event date. You can find information regarding this at [http://www.whitehouse.gov/greeting/].

Or, since the traditional gift for a 50th wedding anniversary is gold, consider organizing a "golden basket" full of goodies, such as Gold Blend coffee, Golden Grahams and anything wrapped in gold paper. Line the basket with shredded gold paper and add a gold bow.

Use these anniversary gift ideas to celebrate your 50th wedding anniversary, or to help your parents or friends commemorate their special day.

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Four Things Every Home Based Gift Basket Business Owner Should Consider

A home based gift basket business can be a rewarding and profitable experience, or it can suck up all of your finances, time, and energy like an evil black hole. Since you want it to be the former experience, take time to plan in the beginning. Here are four things that every owner of a home based gift basket business should think about.

Supplies

The supplies that you buy can go a long way towards making or breaking you. Since you are a home based gift basket business, most of your cash flow is probably going into supplies. This is especially true when you are just starting and need to buy a hot glue gun, cellophane, shredded paper, containers, and items to put in the baskets without know how fast the merchandise will move. Start small and don't buy more than you can comfortably store and afford. It's better to grow in the future than to start too big in the beginning.

Focus

Another thing you should consider is what you want to focus on. Although you may feel like billing yourself as the gift maker for every occasion, this is not practical. You only have a limited amount of money to spend on advertising, a limited amount of time, and a limited space for all of your supplies. Focusing on one area can give you the most return for the money. In the future when you can afford a warehouse and employees (if you choose to go this route) you can broaden your base.

One thing many home based gift basket businesses do is focus on corporate clients. People such as realtors need gifts regularly, and you may want to specializing in offering customizable and personal corporate gifts. If you want to deal more with the public, you might start by focusing on the holidays such as Valentine's Day and Christmas. Or you could advertise yourself as the best maker of gifts given to the parents of newborns. Specializing on one thing does not mean that you can't make baskets for all occasions, just that you focus your energy on targeting the best customers.

Sales

Since you don't have a retail front, you'll need to be especially proactive to secure sales. Networking is very important and you can never be shy about letting people know what you do for a living. You may benefit from joining the Chamber of Commerce or a business referral group.

The internet is another way to make sales. Even if you are focusing on local sales it is good to have a website so that people can look at samples and place orders online. Having a website doesn't have to be too expensive, but you'll either have to learn to do it all yourself or hire someone that you trust.

Commitment

Finally, think about how much commitment you want to put into your home based gift basket business. Do you want to stay at home, or are you hoping to move to a warehouse …