HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) – The holiday season was a few months ago, but if you got a gift card for Christmas, it might be time to use it.

Gift card complaints can go up this time of year and the state is warning people to use it or maybe lose it.

The State Department of Consumer Protection says don’t hold onto your gift cards for too long.

“We are seeing a few more complaints than in past years, so we thought it was a good time to remind people with Valentine’s Day coming up, this is a great time to go out anyway and use those gift cards,” said Michelle Seagull, Department of Consumer Protection.

The numbers show the trend that gift card complaints related to restaurant closures have been on the rise for three years, from 28 in 2017 to 35 last year.

It’s not just businesses shutting down because the long you wait the more likely it is you’ll lose them or forget you even have a gift card, so use it quickly.

“It’s not a businesses fault if they go out of business. For the most part, they’re selling the gift cards in good faith, intending to honor them, but if you sit on it too long, it’s a big problem. If you have one sitting in your drawer for one or two years, things happen at businesses,” Seagull said.

Also, don’t forget to register your gift card if it’s an option because that will help protect you and the value of the card.

“They don’t expire, so the only risk is if the business were to close down or go out of business and that happens unfortunately, so it’s always good to use them,” Seagull said.

If you have a problem, contact the DCP right away. For more information, click here.

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