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Host: The holidays are over and many of you may be thinking of what you’re going to buy with a gift cards. You received well. Here’s a word of caution. Depending on when you buy the money you think you have, may not be what’s actually on the card. Charles Gilman with Gilman, and Bedigian joins us this morning with more on hidden fees associated with the car. It’s a good morning.
Charles Gilman: Morning.
Host: All right, so let’s start from when you first buy the cards. That’s where there may be some hidden fees?
Charles Gilman: Correct? Well, the, the buyer of the car can pay a transaction fee wherever they buy them at the cash register at the supermarket or at the home depot or at Lowe’s, whatever retail store they’re buying them at, might charge activation fees or some other sorts of fees.
Host: Okay that’s where they start. Then once you receive the key in the car didn’t, now you’re able to go out and start buying em. Um, there were so many fees associated with it that they actually had to put a law in place that kind of reigned that in.
Charles Gilman: Yeah, what was happening is people weren’t using the gift cards or weren’t using them quick enough and the card issuers were charging $395, $495 a month as an inactivity fees so somebody would go use a $50 gift card after five or six months in there was $25 left.
Host: And how is that even fair? I mean, who do, who can tell you when I can spend the money. I mean it’s mine to use when I, when I want it.
Charles Gilman: It was very unfair, and that’s why in 2009 the government stepped in and created regulations and laws dealing with the gift cards to prevent that type of inactivity fee and failure to use fee and whatever else the fees, recalled.
Host: Okay so explain the inactivity fee and in how it works for different cards cause some people may not realize that the, that, that even exist on their cards.
Charles Gilman: Most cards, that Maryland has its own law. So most cards that you buy for Maryland and restaurant or a place like that, they don’t have the activities fees, but they do expire after five years.
Charles Gilman: Now if you buy one of the General Visa cards or American Express cards each, you have to read the disclaimer very carefully because those cars are allowed to have an activity fees and they can vary and they do vary. I did some research online and some of them again, are 395 [02:00] Some of them are $495 a month that you fail to use it if you use it and you buy something small and activity fee is not waived, but it’s avoided.
Host: And some people are thinking, oh, that’ll never happen. I use these cards that right away. But then there are some of us. I have been once in my car, in my purse that I haven’t used in a while. So now I’m curious to go and see what the balance is on those.
Charles Gilman: You can check online for those balances.
Charles Gilman: And the interesting thing is, it’s $127 billion dollar a year industry. The gift card industry at about one percent or a slightly over one percent of these cards never get used. That’s over a billion dollars a year just sitting in somebody’s wallet or their car. Lots of people’s wallets and cards.
Host: Man, I’m going to end the segment now because I need to check my whole wallet. So good to see you thank you so much.
Charles Gilman: Thank you.
Host: All right, let’s get it over to Jonathan now and see what’s happening with that before forecast, Jonathan, wasted money there.