I was shopping at Vons today since I didn't have much in the frig so I went walking down each aisle and finally found everything that I needed. Then I spotted the wall of gift cards. Wow, I'd never seen so many gift cards. But what really caught my attention is that American Express wants to charge you $107 for a $100 gift card. What a deal!
Out of curiosity I read the "terms" of other cards, and noticed that some have expiration dates and "maintenance fees" for having the cards. Basically they take your money, and then tell you you have to use that money by a certain date, or you forfeit your money. Doesn't sound right. Can you imagine if you had a $20 dollar bill and it said, "Must be spent by 12/31/2006." And don't forget that these companies will make a huge profit because many people don't even use their cards or lose them.
Most companies don't count the sale of the gift card as income until they are redeemed so how do they account for these non-redeemed cards?