That stupid gift card might be worth money

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GIFT CARD GOLD: Gift cards make popular gifts, but did you end up with a gift card to some place you donít shop? Before you tuck those holiday gift cards away in a drawer and forget about them, sell them instead.

Perhaps you are on the buying side of the transaction. In that case you can pick up a gift card for a discount off its face value.

A few services out there buy and sell gift cards. Many times sellers can typically expect to get about 70-80 cents back on the dollar, while buyers can find gift cards discounted up to 30 percent off the face value. The website companies make their money on the buy/sell spread.

When you sell a gift card online, you typically have the option to get your money by check or have the value transferred (trade) to gift cards from other retailers. You may even be offered more value (than if you get back cash) if you get your money on, say, an Amazon gift card.

Bottom line: Donít let that plastic gather dust. These discount gift card sites can save or make you some money. Check out these websites for more information:

• www.ABCGiftCards.com

• www.CashCard.com

• www.CardPool.com

Each has its own rules. They donít buy all gift cards and they have minimum values theyíll purchase, so make sure you read the fine print before you hit that buy or sell button.

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STAR ID CARD: We will all be required to comply with the REAL ID Act to show proper ID for domestic commercial flights by Oct. 1, 2020 or risk being turned away at the airport. Acceptable forms of ID are a Star Card, U.S. Passport or military ID.

After Oct. 1, 2020, our currently issued driverís license will no longer be accepted on domestic flights, unless it is a Star Card.

The good news is you wonít have to battle those long lines at the driverís license office because the Star Card isnít mandatory. However, if you choose not to get one, you will need to make sure you start traveling with your passport if youíre going to fly to your destination. This new rule impacts domestic flights only because weíll still be required to travel with our passports on international flights.

The only visual difference between your current Idaho driverís license and the Star Card is the presence of a star in the upper right hand corner. Only a Star Card allows you to board a commercial flight or access federal facilities such as a military base or national laboratory without an additional form of accepted ID.

A current driverís license (non-Star Card) will still allow you to legally drive and prove your identity for things like purchasing alcohol, obtaining social services, or registering to vote.

If you donít want to carry your passport for domestic travel and are due to get a driverís license or renew one between now and October 2020, ask for the Star Card so you wonít need to make a separate trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

For more information on this important change and how it might affect you, check out the Idaho Department of Transportation website: https://itd.idaho.gov/starcard/

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WHATíS A HOME WARRANTY WORTH? When buying or selling a used home, many people are lulled into believing that a home warranty is a good thing to have ó but is it really?

Many consumers are finding out that when you buy a home warranty, you never really know what the policy covers until you need it. In many instances, only sudden damage to appliances that occurs after your closing date is covered. If an appliance breaks down and the repairman is called out and determines that the problem was caused by a preexisting condition, the claim will be denied.

The reality is you never really know what is covered until it breaks down. Thatís sort of like the warranty company saying pay me the premium now and then Iíll let you know later if itís covered.

A better way to buy a home warranty would be to ask the warranty company to inspect ALL of the appliances at the time the warranty is purchased. That way, based on the current condition of the appliance, coverage will either be included or excluded. Be sure to read the fine print carefully. If the pre-existing clause is in there and the company refuses to inspect the appliances at the time the policy is purchased, it probably isnít worth buying.

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Remember: Iím on your side.

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If you have encountered a consumer issue that you have questions about or think our readers should know about, please send me an email at terridickersonadvocate@gmail.com or call me at (208) 274-4458. As The CDA Press Consumer Gal, Iím here to help. Please include your name and a phone number or email. Iím available to speak about consumerism to schools, and local and civic groups. Iím a copywriter and consumer advocate living in Coeur díAlene.

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