Thursday, December 28, 2006

Gift Card Rip-Off

Most individuals and institutions pay for the privilege of borrowing money. People pay interest on mortgages and loans, credit card balances, etc. Similarly, you earn interest on money you put in the bank or invest, since you're basically lending that money to others.

But the Simon Malls gift card manages to rip-off both lender and borrower. When you buy a gift certificate, you're basically paying in advance for goods or services to be provided sometime in the future. In other words, you're lending money to the business that's providing the gift certificate. But to give a Simon Malls gift card, you have to pay them $5.95 for the privilege of lending them your money. As if that weren't enough, if the card balance isn't used in full within 12 months, they charge you $2.50 per month until the card expires or the balance reaches $0. Expires? Why should a gift card expire? It's your money you've lent them! But if it does expire, they charge you $15 to re-activate it.

I'm sure there are other, similar rip-offs out there, but this one bugged me. I think everyone should tell Simon Malls exactly what they can do with their gift card.

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