An investigation is being conducted into the gift card processing policies of the Simon Property Group, General Growth Properties, or the Westfield Group corporations. It is alleged that consumers are enticed to purchase gift cards which are subject to additional fees and monthly deduction penalties.
Simon's mall properties offers a Simon gift card backed by Visa. At the time of gift card purchase, there is a $5.95 handling fee. The Simon.com website outlines the Monthly Administrative Fee, "After the first 12 calendar months following the issue date of the card, a $2.50 fee will be applied to the card each month until the card expires. This fee will not be charged once the balance on the Giftcard reaches $0.00."
There are hundreds of Simon Malls and Premium Outlets across 40 states. Simon Malls include the Mall of America, San Diego's Fashion Valley Mall, Carlsbad Premium Outlets, Laguna Hills Mall, Walt Whitman Mall, Orlando Premium Outlets, Palm Beach Mall, Seattle's Northgate Mall, and more.
General Growth Properties owns or manages over 200 malls and shopping centers in 44 states. Their mall gift cards are also subject to monthly service fees, their website states "...starting in the thirteenth month after the date your GGP Gift Card was purchased, and subject to applicable law, we will deduct a monthly service fee of $2.00 from your Available Funds."
GGP is headquartered in Chicago, IL and realizes annual revenues of over $1 billion. GGP malls include Watertown Place - Chicago, IL, Memorial City Mall - Houston, TX, Galleria - Dallas, TX, Fashion Show - Las Vegas, NV, Glendale Galleria - Los Angeles, CA.
Westfield Malls throughout the country promote their year-round and special Christmas gift cards backed by American Express - Gift Tracker. At the time of purchase, there is a $2.00 fee and it is alleged there is also a monthly deduction penalty similar to the gift cards promoted by Simon Mall complexes.
Westfield Malls are located across the country, in San Francisco, CA, Chicago, IL, also in New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Florida, and Washington State.
To find out if your mall gift card is administered through these corporations and subject to deductions, check the mall website or read the gift card Terms and Conditions.
Mall Gift Cards in the NewsThe Georgia Court of Appeals threw out the lawsuit accusing merchants of deducting value and keeping balances of gift cards not used by the expiry date. But now plaintiffs are seeking to make the case a class action. [PALM BEACH POST] Apr-05-06
New York attorney general filed a lawsuit against Simons Malls. The lawsuit claims that Simon's unlawfully diminishes gift card balances through administrative fees. In 2004, Connecticut and Massachusetts filed similar lawsuits against the mall chain for allegedly breaking consumer protection laws. (Feb-08-05) [CONSUMER AFFAIRS ]