The holidays are over and now it's time to sort through your loot. Many of you probably received at least one gift card over the past month and, to make sure that it doesn't go to waste, Lifehacker put together a guide that covers both the rights of gift card owners (California, for example, doesn't allow gift cards to expire) and tips for making sure your card gets used. Set a reminder, the guide recommends, but also keep track of card codes and IDs and always keep them in your wallet.

In the event your card has already expired, you're not necessarily out of luck. If it's a ten-year-old gift card you might want to bid your final farewells and do more to remember in the future, but if it's a more recent expiration you can generally call the vendor for an extension. Customer service representatives want to be able to help if they can, so if you're nice you're likely to yield better results. I worked in a form of technical support awhile back and can vouch for this. Pretty much everyone on our team would go out of our way to help people who were kind to us. The moment someone was rude, angry, or approached us with a feeling of entitlement we'd do the bare minimum. If I learned anything from that job, it's that being kind to your customer service representative can go a very long way. If they can't help, you can always ask to escalate the issue to a supervisor. This is not necessarily seen as rude, as a supervisor can often do things a regular rep cannot and the rep knows this. You won't always be able to get an extension on your expired gift card, but the bottom line is this: you can't get what you don't ask for. I've even been so fortunate to get a replacement gift card, fee-free, when I had no real proof that I actually had the gift card to begin with. So, ask nicely and there's a good chance of getting what you want.

Read the full story at Lifehacker.

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