Is there a law on the use of gift cards? 3 Answers as of April 30, 2014

I have a gift card that says use same as cash. I tried to use the card to buy my phone card. The manager said it is against policy to use this card to buy gift cards. Phone cards are not gift cards. There is nowhere on the card that says you cannot buy certain items. In fact it says use to buy merchandise inside the store. The California consumer affairs and BBB said this was deceiving that this should be a civil court matter. What would my next step be?

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Lawyer for Independent Media
Lawyer for Independent Media | Sue Basko
Be sure to read the fine print on the card and also on the little folder and instructions that came with the card. Some cards cannot be used to make certain purchases. If the gift you were given cannot be used to buy a phone card, use your gift to buy something else you would enjoy. If you think you would not enjoy anything else in the store, you might try to trade out with a friend where they take the card and give you the cash. This is not really a lawsuit or legal matter. Some cards have restrictions on how they can be used. You were hoping to buy one thing and you are being told it is not allowed. So it is time to adjust to this disappointment and get something else you would like.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/30/2014
Law Office of Kirk Buhler
Law Office of Kirk Buhler | Kirk A Buhler
Each store and each card may have their own policy. You can call the issuer of the card to get a better understanding of where the card can and cannot be used. If the store was different from the issuer, the card company may be able to address the issue with the store. You might want to file for a civil suit, but how much is your time worth? A phone card might not be merchandise because it is not a "tangible" item it only has the value that is designated by the issuer of the phone card.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/30/2014
Steven Alpers | Steven Alpers
I don't know laws on gift cards. You did not say who turned you down when you tried to use the gift card. You could sue in small claims court. I doubt there are penalties over $7,500.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/30/2014
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