Virtually everyone gets or gives a gift card for the holidays. 80% of consumers bought a gift card for holiday giving. It’s a billion-dollar business. Now there is a federal gift card law to help protect you if something goes wrong. Here's some tips that may help you.
Q: Are there two laws covering gift cards?
A: Some states have special gift card laws plus there is a federal law, and each law can cover different gift cards in different circumstances, with some overlapping coverage. Because gift cards may sometimes be used in different states, a federal law was needed to protect consumers who purchase and receive gift cards.
Q: What does the federal gift card law do?
A: The federal gift card law only covers store-issued gift cards and bank-issued gift cards, but it requires those cards to have full value for at least five years. It is important to remember that, when you buy a gift card at a third-party location, the federal gift card law does not apply. Such a third-party location, called a “card mall,” might be a kiosk within a grocery store or a drug store that offers cards from a wide variety of other sources.
Q: Can I be charged a fee if I don’t use my gift card for a while?
A: If the gift card is covered by the federal law, then any fees have to be clearly disclosed on the card itself or with its packaging, and no fee can be imposed unless the card has not been used for at least a year.
Q: If I receive a card with no expiration date, will be good for only two years?
A: No. If a card that does not include an expiration date is presumed to be valid forever.
Q: Is the law relating to gift cards likely to change?A: The Gift Card Consumer Protection Act has recently been introduced in the U.S. Congress. This Act would ban gift cards with expiration dates and non-use fees. It would also prevent companies filing for bankruptcy from selling gift cards and require them to accept and honor unredeemed cards.
Burdge Law Officewww.KentuckyConsumerLaw.com
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