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linked from Cagey Consumer Highlights web search for Cagey Consumer Highlights

We've all heard about fees imposed for not using gift cards.

Here are the pertinent terms that Amoco BP puts on its prepaid gas cards:

BP Gift Cards are non-refundable and expire on the date shown or 12 months from
the date of purchase if no expiration date is shown.  Cards with unused dollar value
AFTER EXPIRATION are subject to a dormant account fee not to exceed $1.50 per month,
applied in arrears.  BP will not be responsible for any unauthorized use.  Refunds will
not be provided for lost, stolen or expired cards.  The cards can be used for the purchase
of goods and services (except for lottery tickets, money orders and Prepaid Cards) at
participating BP and ARCO stations.  BP Gift Cards ARE NOT REDEEMABLE FOR CASH.

The text above is intentionally displayed in small text and aligned as shown on the card. Now the question is, if you have a $20 card, and you never used it, how much is it good for the month following expiration?

At first, this seems a bit absurd, if it's expired, it's expired, right? Well, you might take some comfort in seeing that they charge a $1.50 dormant account fee after expiration, right?

Then you'd be wrong. They charge a $1.50 fee for as many months as it's been since you last used it. Well, that's their story.

Comments should be directed to BP Amoco customer relations at 800-333-3991. Their hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT.

Here's their story, as told to me by one of their customer service reps:

They used to honor their policy as stated on the card. Then they decided to stop honoring it. If you don't like it, too bad.

BP Corporation Attn Consumer Relations fax: 630-300-5254

include name address and phone for followup

We got a replacement card sent to us... but this is really just a case where they know most people will accept that "it's their own fault" that they couldn't accurately interpret the statement on the card, and figure they're just out of luck. My interpretation is that BP knows they're in the wrong, but as long as people don't realize that and assert themselves on this, BP wins anyway.

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