Don’t hold on to that gift card or certificate for too long—it may someday be totally unusable.
That’s what one Target customer is alleged to have learned when they attempted to redeem a gift certificate for $25 from 1994, according to a TikTok that has drawn over 240,000 views. In the 6-second video shared by @probablycrimson, the poster shows the vintage certificate taped up to a flat surface within the store.
“One time someone came into the store trying to use a gift certificate from 1994 and now we have it on display at our returns and exchanges desk,” the text overlay on the screen reads.
Several viewers were convinced that federal regulations around gift cards and certificates prevent them from expiring.
“Federal law,” one commenter wrote. “Gift certificates cannot expire and the company must honor them so long as the company exists.”
“Legally it cannot expire,” another commenter wrote.
“they made a law all gift cards have to be accepted…no expiration date,” a commenter wrote.
@probablycrimson before you ask no it didn’t work #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #fypシ #xyzbca #target ♬ original sound – Bar Rescue
In a follow-up video, the poster shows the back of the certificate, which states that the certificate expires three years from the date of issue in 1994. Additionally, the law referenced by commenters does not maintain the card’s status indefinitely. Rather, gift cards are not allowed to expire within five years of purchase, or within five years of the last date funds were added to the card, according to the Federal Trade Commission. The 2010 law also impacts bank gift cards.
The Daily Dot has reached out to @probablycrimson via Instagram direct message, as well as to Target directly via email.
Seeing the novelty of having the 1994 gift certificate, several other viewers shared their experiences of having customers bring in old certificates and gift cards to be used at their various places of employment or businesses in their communities. Others shared that they had seen returns attempted for products dated in excess of 15 years prior.
“A local restaurant said someone brought in a gift certificate from 1979,” one commenter wrote.
“My aunt offered to pay for my wedding dress (in 2010) on the condition that I used her $200 nordstrom gift certificate (from 1993),” another commenter wrote.
“i used a Nordstrom gift card my mom got for high school graduation in 1993!” a commenter wrote. “still worked but there was an inactivity fee so it went from $50 to $22.”