Sticky Situation: The Gift Card Conundrum

What does the fine print include on your gift cards and treatment specials?

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The Situation: "We are known for constantly offering crazy treatment deals and promotions," says Scott Kerschbaumer, co-owner of ESSpa Kozmetika Organic Skin Care in Pittsburgh and ESSpa at the Carnegie Inn & Spa in State College, Pennsylvania. "Our policy states that you can't use a gift card to pay for a special. I get five to six calls a month from clients or lawyers complaining that we can't put restrictions on gift cards, as it is not allowed in our state."

The Solution: "We simply explain that we don't put restrictions on gift cards," says Kerschbaumer. "We put the restriction on the treatment special, and we clearly state that on our gift cards. That's the key here. The trick is to know your state law about how gift cards are regulated, consult your attorney and state your policies clearly. If you need to apply restrictions, make sure it's on the promotion and not on the gift card."

Got a Sticky Situation to share? Email carrie.borzillo@gmail.com.