3 On Your Side

Woman discovers 'inactivity fees' on her gift cards

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Connie Krc bought gift cards but due to inactivity fees, they weren't usable when she gave them to her granddaughter. (Source: 3TV) Connie Krc bought gift cards but due to inactivity fees, they weren't usable when she gave them to her granddaughter. (Source: 3TV)
The card indicates $2 would be removed from the card for every month it wasn't used. (Source: 3TV) The card indicates $2 would be removed from the card for every month it wasn't used. (Source: 3TV)
Krc says it clearly states on the front of the gift cards that they don't expire until November 2020, which is two years away. (Source: 3TV) Krc says it clearly states on the front of the gift cards that they don't expire until November 2020, which is two years away. (Source: 3TV)
Krc eventually found that out when she got a magnifying glass to read the fine print on the back of the gift card. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Krc eventually found that out when she got a magnifying glass to read the fine print on the back of the gift card. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

One billion dollars. That’s how much money it’s estimated that goes unused in gift cards every single year. Just ask Connie Krc. She found out the hard way.

Krc is proud of her granddaughter Hailee, who by the way, just finished the eighth grade.

"She's an excellent student. And she has been her whole elementary school career,” Krc told 3 On Your Side.

To help celebrate, Krc attended her granddaughter's eighth-grade promotion ceremony and even gave her a $30 gift card to spend however she wanted.

[SPECIAL SECTION: 3 On Your Side]

But, Krc says she was shocked when Hailee called her recently and told her about a problem regarding that gift card.

"I'm trying to buy something and the card doesn't work,” Krc remembers Hailee telling her. “’They've declined the card.’ I mean, I was mortified. I mean, how embarrassing."

Turns out, the gift card was in fact, worthless. And, to make matters worse, so were two other $30 gift cards that Krc had purchased and tucked away into a drawer for safe keeping. Out of a total of $90, Krc wants answers as to how her cards were drained.

"It's not about the money. It's about the principle and what's behind it," she said.

3 On Your Side discovered all the money on those gift cards was gobbled up by something called "inactivity charges." Krc eventually found that out when she got a magnifying glass to read the fine print on the back of the gift card. It indicates $2 would be removed from the card for every month it wasn't used. And, that's exactly what happened. Apparently, the gift cards sat in Krc’s office drawer so long, "inactivity fees" drained their value.

"I feel like this is a legal scam," she said.

Krc says it clearly states on the front of the gift cards that they don't expire until November 2020, which is two years away.

As a consumer, she believes that the expiration date should mean something.

"I mean to me, the date is very misleading. If that date wasn't on there, it would change the entire dynamics of this transaction," she said.

3 On Your Side got involved and we contacted U.S. Bank, which issued the three $30 gift cards.

After looking into the issue, a U.S. Bank spokesman tells us that “…U.S. Bank cards purchased on or after January 2017 do not incur inactivity fees…” any longer.

That may be good news for consumers now, but for Krc, it's certainly too late.

She's now out $90 because of those inactivity charges.

3 On Your Side asked U.S. Bank if they would consider replacing the cards for Krc, but our repeated requests were never addressed. After our story aired, Sam Black, the Assistant Vice President of Corporate Communications issued the following statement:

At U.S. Bank, customer confidentiality is paramount, which is why we opted not to get into specifics about how we addressed this issue with the customer. We informed you we would be contacting the customer directly about it, but you chose not to include that in your story. As of now, this issue has been fully resolved.  

"I'm going to be very cautious from now on when it comes to purchasing gift cards," she said.

As a consumer, you should be very cautious too.

With that said, keep this rule of thumb in mind if you ever get a gift card from someone. It doesn’t matter if the gift card is from a restaurant, retailer or a MasterCard like the ones Krc had, always try to use the cards within the first month you get one.

That way, there’s less of a chance you’ll lose or forget about the gift card. You’ll also most likely avoid any inactivity fees that could come with the card.

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

Click to learn more about Gary.

Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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