The public education campaign kicks off today with a full-page ad in The New York Times advising shoppers that unredeemed gift cards can be easy money for retailers and lost money for consumers. TowerGroup estimates that nearly $8 billion was lost last year due to unredeemed value, expiration or loss of gift cards.
Consumer Reports will also launch a holiday shopping hub on ConsumerReports.org that will offer tips on how to avoid gift-card snags, and provides a place for consumers to share their stories about problems with gift cards.
The group's latest survey finds that 27% of gift card recipients have not used one or more of these cards--up from 19% at the same time last year. And among consumers with unredeemed cards from last season, 51% have 2 or more.
--Nina M. Lentini