Why do I struggle when it comes to buying gifts? Is it because I make the process harder than it needs to be? Maybe. I'm not sure that will ever change.

One thing that does make it easier, is gift cards. While it may not be something that you put a lot of thought into and is unique, personally I prefer receiving gift cards. That way, I can buy what I want, and most likely not what I need.

And it takes the pressure off the gift giver wondering if that gift you purchased for someone will be something they can use. There's nothing like the face of the person who opened that gift of a spatula, trying to say how much they really needed one with a smile.

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But, if you are planning on buying a gift card or gift certificate, the New York State Division of Consumer Protection has a few tips to keep in mind. They suggest you research the retailer before making that gift card purchase, and when buying a gift card, make sure the packaging and security seals are intact.

Check the fine details. Is there a fee on the card or certificate if it's not used in a certain amount of time or does it have an exploration date? The law in New York State states that a gift card can not expire any less than five years from purchase.

Also, if it's a third-party gift card or certificate, verifying the amount remaining could be difficult, so that may not be a good idea, and watch out for scammers. The New York State Division of Consumer Protection warns that scammers love to claim they are from the government or other company, letting you know that you have an overdue bill or debt that can be paid off with a gift card.

If you have any questions or need more information on gift cards and gift certificates, visit the New York State Division of Consumer Protection.

via New York State Division Of Consumer Protection

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