Some people are just so hard to buy a gift, aren't they? They either have everything a person needs or wants, and some, or the opposite. The recipient of your gift may be a virtual stranger such as a teacher or work colleague which will have its own set of problems. For whatever reason though sometimes finding the right gift remains elusive or not possible in the time allowed. This is when most of us will resort to giving cash or something that has a cash value. There may be reasons why you are loathe to give cash such as:
1 - The money will get used in the household budget
2 - It does not seem like a proper gift
3 - By the time a gift can be purchased, perhaps after Christmas, the recipient may hardly remember who or where the money came from
4 - It is impersonal
There are alternatives to cash though.
Pre Paid Gift vouchers
Prepaid gift cards appeal for many reasons. They can be bought with a particular gift in mind, that is for example Christmas or a Birthday. They will have an appropriate image and or message attached. They are convenient, easy to purchase and have longevity. Add such a card to a small gift to make the gift sensational. You may want to give a book but be unsure what books the recipient already has. Enter a prepaid book gift card. If you are buying for a loved one who lives miles away from you a prepaid gift card can be picked up online. No delivery charges and no waiting times. Instead an almost instantaneous gift.
So what are the perils?
Hubby received a prepaid gift card last Christmas. Great. It was for a local fishing shop which was thoughtful and just what he wanted. It meant he could replace some of his old fishing gear. The buyer also purchased such a card for another relative. By the time she got round to sorting through her Christmas gifts she had misplaced the other gift card. To this day she has not found it.
The sad thing was that Hubby never enjoyed his gift card either. He had not realised that it had a short time span for use. Six months later he realised and it was already too late. The card was no longer valid. An important lesson learned, check expiry dates.
But there is more.......
One of the perils of giving and receiving a prepaid gift card is when it comes from a store. This problem was highlighted in 2012, in the UK, during the pre Christmas sales.
What if a store goes out of business?
Electrical retailer Comet collapsed. When the announcement was made that the store was experiencing financial difficulties, customers in receipt of pre paid store cards, hot footed it to local stores to buy goods. They were out of luck.
Store Cards were not to be honoured.
This was eventually changed but it could have remained this way. Comet was a well established company that had traded in the UK for many, many years. If it had been a recent, "fly by night", kind of Store prepaid gift cards could have been worthless.
A lesson learned. So remember to double check;