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The fine print that could make your gift cards useless to you

If you have a big expense on the horizon you'll probably save up. But a Springville man is kicking himself after saving up for a vacation ended up backfiring.

(KUTV) If you have a big expense on the horizon you'll probably save up. But a Springville man is kicking himself after saving up for a vacation ended up backfiring.

Randall Barker says he wanted to make sure that he didn't blow his money on something else so he took $50 from every paycheck and bought himself a gift card for Southwest Airlines.

It seemed like a great plan - that is until the time came to cash in the gift cards.

After he'd saved up nearly $500 in gift cards he found he couldn't use them all when he tried to book the flight.

"After I got to the third one, something came up and said you only have one form of payment left," Barker said.

On the back of the card in fine print, it says "only four total forms of payment" can be used per transaction.

"I don't know that anybody ever looks at the terms and conditions when you're buying something," he said.

It's an oversight that has now unexpectedly cost Barker hundreds of dollars.

"So now they have my money, still interest free, and I won't be able to use those gift cards until I go on another trip sometime in the future," he said.

In an emailed statement to Get Gephardt, Southwest Airlines confirmed they limit the number of forms of payment a person can use to buy a flight - four. The spokesperson said it's a policy that is clearly spelled out in their terms and conditions. Southwest Airlines apologized for any inconvenience but said there is nothing they can do for Barker.

Get Gephardt specifically asked Southwest Airlines if they could merge some of the cards into one big gift card that could be used but Southwest said, "No."

In the end, Barker was able to cover the remaining cost of the flight with his credit card and he's learning for this experience.

"I will never buy another Southwest gift card again. It's just not worth having my hands tied and having them decide when I can use the money that I've loaned to them," he said.

It's worth noting that, in our investigation, Get Gephardt checked with a with other airlines as well as some major stores and found that it's actually pretty common to see companies limit the number of payment methods to four. It's a fact worth keeping in mind for consumers who may find themselves in the marked for a gift card.

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