Congress-Gift Cards

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Expecting a gift card in your stocking this year? Better use it fast. Some have expiration dates or lose value the longer they go without being spent.

That's why two House lawmakers have asked the Federal Trade Commission to review the rules that govern sales and redemption of
the cards.

Texas Republican Joe Barton says he's asking for the review because many retailers don't disclose card restrictions. He and New Hampshire Republican Charles Bass say consumers may be confused about the way different cards work.

A spokesman for the National Retail Federation says lawmakers need to distinguish between retailer-specific cards, and mall- or bank-issued cards. He says the latter more often carry restrictions.

But he offers this tip to gift-card recipients: "Spend it sooner rather than later."