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Gift Card Rules and Laws Update Information

Overview
Thank you for trusting Sync Payments to provide you with gift card services. It is our goal to deliver exceptional service, which includes sharing with you the most up-to-date information concerning certain existing gift card
laws for the various states. These laws, summarized below, may or may not affect your current gift card program. And it is important to note that federal laws may override less restrictive state laws. Sync Payments presents
this update for general informational purposes only, because we cannot make recommendations on laws and regulations specific to your business.
PLEASE NOTE: The only significant change made to these laws or
regulations during the last year was in the State of New Jersey. We are
providing the complete list again as a courtesy.
The information provided contains summaries of state codes,
statutes and legislation, and may omit specific requirements that were, in our
judgment, too detailed to fit within the intended scope of this document or too
specific or narrowly tailored to be of interest to the majority of our partners.
Furthermore, these codes, statutes and legislation are subject to frequent
change and revision.
In every event you should not rely
on these summaries alone. Please make sure you consult with legal counsel and
review the actual codes, statutes or legislation before making any decisions
relating to your gift card program.
If, after reviewing these summaries, you need to revise your
program, please contact us at 855 Sync Pay.
Gift Card Laws by State – Updated 2012
Note on Federal Credit CARD Act
With the passage in 2009 of the federal Credit CARD Act (the
“Act”), federal law significantly restricts the ability of merchants to impose
expiration dates or inactivity (or other) fees on gift cards. The information
on state laws contained in this update should be reviewed in the context of the
Act. The Act allows states to impose more restrictive requirements on
expiration dates and inactivity fees, but to the extent state law imposes LESS
restrictive requirements, the more restrictive provisions of the Act would
likely apply as a result of federal preemption.
2012 Gift Card Legislative Update
State-by-State Summary
Many of the statutes define “gift card” (or “gift certificate”,
defined to include gift cards) to specifically exclude general-use prepaid
cards, prepaid telephone cards, cards usable at multiple, unaffiliated
merchants, cards issued by banks, credit unions, financial institutions, or
licensed money transmitters, cards usable at ATMs, cards issued for no
consideration, cards issued below face value, etc. Because these are not the
types of gift cards we typically provide to our customers, the summary below
does not identify the existence of such exclusions in the summaries below. If
any of these might apply to you, please check the specific state statute(s)
applicable to you.
In addition, many of the statutes imposing restrictions on
expiration and/or dormancy fees also contain specific exemptions for certain
types of gift cards, for example, cards issued for no consideration as part of
a promotional program or as loyalty awards, donated to charity for use in
fundraising, given pursuant to an employee incentive program, cards issued to
employees, cards usable only for goods or services provided by artistic and
cultural organizations, etc. Because these exemptions would not apply to the
vast majority of our customers, we have not identified the existence of such
exemptions in the summaries below. Again, if any of these might apply to you,
please check the specific state statute(s) applicable to you.
Alabama
We are unaware of
any restrictions imposed by the state on gift card expiration dates, although a
gift card that expires before use will escheat to the state (and this may apply
even if the card was otherwise exempt from escheat requirements under the
“retail exemption” described below). A merchant’s ability to charge an
inactivity fee, dormancy fee or service fee appears to be restricted, at least
with respect to gift cards after they are presumed abandoned (i.e. that are not
exempt from escheat). (Ala. Code §35-12- 75(b)). Gift cards or gift
certificates issued by any person primarily in the business of selling tangible
personal property at retail are not considered property and not subject to escheat
laws. (Ala. Code §35- 12-73(b)(1)). Other gift certificates (and presumably
gift cards) are considered property generally subject to escheatment three
years after June 30 of the year in which the certificate was sold, but if
redeemable in merchandise only, the amount abandoned is deemed to be 60 percent
of the certificate’s face value. (Ala. Code. §35-12-72(a)(17). It is unclear
how this last part would apply in the context of gift cards, but a literal
reading would imply that the amount abandoned may be MORE than the remaining
balance on the gift card.
Alaska
We are unaware of any restrictions imposed by the state on
expiration dates or inactivity fees on gift cards. Under Alaska’s unclaimed
property law, a gift certificate (which is defined to include gift cards, as
per Alaska Stat. §34.45.760), is presumed abandoned three years after it is
unclaimed by the owner, and the amount presumed abandoned is the price paid by
the purchaser for the gift certificate. (Alaska Stat. §34.45.240). It is
unclear how this would apply in the context of gift cards, but a literal
reading would imply that the amount abandoned may be MORE than the remaining
balance on the gift card.
Arizona
Any expiration date on “gift cards” (defined at Ariz. Rev. Stat.
Ann. §44-7401), along with the amount of any inactivity fees or dormancy fees,
and when such fees would be incurred, shall be conspicuously disclosed to the
consumer before the purchase. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §44-7402). Gift cards are
not considered property subject to escheat laws. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann.
§44-301(15)).
Arkansas
A person shall not sell or issue a gift card that is subject to an
expiration date earlier than two years from the date of issuance or sale of the
gift card. (Ark. Stat. Ann. §4- 88-703(a) and (c)). Upon the expiration of the
two-year “time period, a gift card may be subject to expiration if the date on
which the card expires is printed clearly in a conspicuous place on the front
or back of the gift card in at least 10-point type. (Ark. Stat. Ann.
§4-88-703(a) and (c)). A dormancy fee, an inactivity charge or fee, or a
service fee shall not be charged on a gift card before two years from the date
of issuance or sale of the card. Upon the expiration of the two year time
period, a gift card may be subject to a service fee, a dormancy fee, an account
maintenance fee, a cash out fee, a gift card replacement fee, an activation
fee, or a reactivation fee, if the following disclosures are printed clearly in
a conspicuous place on the front or back of the card in at least 10-point type:
(a) the amount of the fee; (b) the circumstances under which the fee will be
imposed; (C) the frequency with which the fee will be imposed; and (D) whether
the fee is triggered by inactivity. (Ark. Stat. Ann. §4-88-703(c)). Gift cards
issued or maintained by any person primarily in the business of selling
tangible personal property at retail are not considered property subject to
escheat laws. (Ark. Stat. Ann. §18-28-201(13)(B)).
California
It is unlawful for any person or entity to sell a gift certificate
(defined to generally include gift cards, at Cal. Civil Code §1749.45) to a
purchaser containing an expiration date, dormancy fee, service fee, or any
other fee except for a dormancy fee of $1 or less per month, if (i) assessed on
a re-loadable gift card, (ii) having a balance of less than $5, (iii) on which
there has been no activity for at least 24 consecutive months, and (iv) on
which a statement is printed on the gift card in at least 10-point font stating
the amount of the fee, how often the fee will occur, that the fee is triggered
by inactivity of the gift card, and at what point the fee will be charged. The
statement may appear on the front or back of the gift card, but shall appear in
a location where it is visible to any purchaser prior to the purchase thereof.
Any gift certificate shall be redeemable in cash for its cash value, or subject
to replacement with a new gift certificate at no cost to the purchaser or holder,
and, effective January 1, 2008, a gift certificate having a balance of less
than $10 must be redeemable in cash. (Cal. Civil Code §1749.5). Gift
certificates purchased after 1997 are not subject to escheat, except that any
gift certificate that has an expiration date and that is given in exchange for
money or any other thing of value will be subject to escheatment. Cal. Civ.
Proc. Code §1520.5
Colorado
Gift Cards are defined in Colo. Rev. Stat. §6-1-722(1)(a). The
definition contains several notable exclusions, including (i) paper gift
certificates, (ii) cards issued pursuant to an awards, loyalty or promotional
program for which no money or other item of value was exchanged, and (iii)
cards donated or sold below face value at a volume discount to an employer or
charitable organization for fundraising purposes. Colorado imposes no
restriction on the expiration dates of gift cards. It is unlawful to sell to a
purchaser a gift card that contains a service fee, a dormancy fee, an
inactivity fee, a maintenance fee, or any other type of fee. (Colo. Rev. Stat.
§6-1-722(3)). Upon request of the holder, the issuer must redeem the remaining
value of a gift card for cash if the amount remaining is five dollars or less.
(Colo. Rev. Stat. §6-1-722(2)). The foregoing rules restricting gift card fees
and requiring cash redemption do not apply to open-loop cards usable with
multiple unaffiliated sellers of goods or services (although such cards are
within the definition of Gift Cards). Colo. Rev. Stat. §6-1-722(1)(b). Gift
cards are generally considered intangible property subject to escheatment if
unclaimed by the owner after five years. (Colo. Rev. Stat. §38-13-108.4).
Connecticut
Connecticut law prohibits anyone from selling or issuing a “gift
certificate” (defined to generally include gift cards at Conn. Gen. Stat.
§3-56a) that has an expiration date (or any language or related agreement
suggesting that an expiration date may apply). (Conn. Gen. Stat. §42-460). In
addition, dormancy fees, inactivity fees, and other service fees relating to
gift certificates are generally prohibited. (Conn. Gen. Stat. §3-65c). Gift
certificates generally do not escheat to the state under Colorado law. (Conn.
Gen. Stat. §3-73a).
Delaware
There appear to be no restrictions imposed by the state on
expiration dates or inactivity fees on gift cards, although such mechanisms,
including an expiration date that occurs prior to the five-year escheatment period,
will NOT allow the issuer to avoid the escheatment requirement. (Del. Code Ann.
Tit. 12, §1212). “Gift certificates” are generally escheatable if the owner
dies intestate, is missing for more than five years or abandons the property.
(Del. Code Ann. tit. 12, §1197 et seq.). It is unclear from the Delaware
statute whether the term “gift certificate” includes gift cards. However, the
State of Delaware has generally taken the position that, for purposes of
unclaimed property law, it does. Gift certificates with a face value of no more
than $5 and issued by a restaurants or other eating establishments, are not
escheatable. (Del. Code Ann. tit. 12, §1198(10)).
District of Columbia
We are unaware of any restrictions imposed by the state on
expiration dates or inactivity fees on gift cards. Gift certificates held or
owing in the ordinary course of the holder’s business that have remained
unclaimed by the owner for more than five years after becoming payable or
distributable are presumed abandoned. If a gift certificate is redeemable for
cash or merchandise, its value for purposes of this chapter shall be the amount
paid by the purchaser. (D.C. Code Ann. §41-101 et seq.). It is unclear whether
the term “gift certificates” would encompass gift cards. A gift certificate
that expires before it is used escheats to the District. (D.C. Code Ann
§42-229).
Florida
A “gift certificate” (specifically defined to include gift cards
at Fla. Stat. §501.95(1)(b)) sold or issued for consideration in Florida may
not have an expiration date, expiration period, with certain limited
exceptions, and may not have any type of post-sale charge or fee imposed on the
gift certificate, including, but not limited to, service charges, dormancy
fees, account maintenance fees, or cash-out fees. (Fla. Stat. §501.95(2)(a)).
An unredeemed gift certificate or credit memo as defined in §501.95 is not
required to be reported as unclaimed property. (Fla. Stat. §717.1045). The
consideration paid for an unredeemed gift certificate or credit memo is the
property of the
issuer of the unredeemed gift certificate or credit memo. An unredeemed gift
certificate or credit memo is subject only to any rights of a purchaser or
owner thereof and is not subject to a claim made by any state acting on behalf
of a purchaser or owner.
Georgia
It is unlawful to sell or issue a gift card without: (i) including
the terms of the gift card in the packaging which accompanies the card at the
time of purchase, as well as making such terms available upon request; and (ii)
conspicuously printing the expiration date, if applicable, on the card and
conspicuously printing the amount of any dormancy or nonuse fees on the card.
(Ga. Code §10-1- 393(b)(33)(A)(ii)). A gift certificate issued in the ordinary
course of an issuer’s business that remains unclaimed by the owner for more
than five years after becoming payable or distributable is presumed abandoned.
The amount presumed abandoned is the price paid by the purchaser for the gift certificate.
(Ga. Code §44-12-205). It is unclear whether the term “gift certificate”
includes gift cards, but if so, a literal reading would mean that the amount
abandoned may be MORE than the remaining balance on the gift card. Even if gift
cards do not fall within the meaning of gift certificates, they are likely
escheatable as general intangible property since they are not specifically
excluded from the escheatment statute.
Hawaii
“Gift certificate” is defined at Hawaii Rev. Stat. §481B-13(e) to
generally include gift cards, with some notable exclusions including any
certificate that is (1) used solely for telephone services; (2) reloadable and
not marketed or labeled as a gift card, gift certificate, or certificate; (3) a
loyalty, award, or promotional gift card; (4) not marketed to the general
public; or (5) redeemable solely for admission to events or venues at a
particular location or group of affiliated locations, which may also include
services or goods obtainable at the event or venue after admission or In
conjunction with admission to such events or venues, at specific locations
affiliated with and in geographic proximity to the event or venue. An
expiration date on any gift certificate must be either printed on the face of
the certificate or, for an electronic gift card with a banked dollar value,
clearly stated on a printed receipt provided to the purchaser, and must be
greater than five years (or two years for certificates issued only in paper
form). (Hawaii Rev. Stat. §481B- 13(b)). If no expiration date, gift
certificates are valid in perpetuity. (Hawaii Rev. Stat. §481B-13(b)).
Dormancy, inactivity and service fees are generally prohibited. (Hawaii Rev.
Stat. §481B- 13(a)). Activation or issuance fees are permitted but may not
exceed the lesser of 10% of the face value of the gift certificate or $5.
(Hawaii Rev. Stat. §481B- 13(a)). A gift certificate issued in the ordinary
course of an issuer’s business that remains unclaimed by the owner for more
than five years after becoming payable or distributable is presumed abandoned.
The amount presumed abandoned is the price paid by the purchaser for the gift
certificate. (Hawaii Rev. Stat. §523A-14). It is unclear how this would apply
in the context of a gift card (or, whether gift cards might be treated as
different from gift certificates under the unclaimed property statute), but a
literal reading would imply that the amount abandoned may be MORE than the
remaining balance on the gift card.
Idaho
We are unaware of any restrictions imposed by the state on
expiration dates or inactivity fees for gift cards. A “gift certificate”
without an expiration date prominently displayed on its face that remains
unclaimed by the owner for more than five years after becoming payable or
distributable is presumed abandoned. The amount presumed abandoned is the price
paid by the purchaser for the gift certificate. (Idaho Code §14-514). Gift
certificates with an expiration date prominently displayed on their face do not
constitute abandoned property. (Idaho Code §14-502(2)(b)). It is unclear
whether the term “gift certificate” in this statute would include gift cards.
If so, a literal reading would imply that the amount abandoned may be MORE than
the remaining balance on the gift card.
Illinois
“Gift certificate” is defined to generally include gift cards.
(Ill. Rev. Stat. Ch. 815, §505/2SS(a)). On or after January 1, 2008, no person
shall sell a gift certificate that is subject to an expiration date earlier
than five years after the date of issuance. (Ill. Rev. Stat. Ch. 815,
§505/2SS(b)). On or after January 1, 2008, no person shall sell a gift
certificate that is subject to a post-purchase fee, including a dormancy or
inactivity fee. (Ill. Rev. Stat. Ch. 815, §505/2SS(b)). A gift certificate
issued prior to January 1, 2008 that is subject to a fee must contain a
statement clearly and conspicuously printed on the gift certificate stating
whether there is a fee, the amount of the fee, how often the fee will occur,
that the fee is triggered by inactivity of the gift certificate, and at what
point the fee will be charged. The statement may appear on the front or back of
the gift certificate in a location where it is visible to any purchaser prior
to the purchase. (Ill. Rev. Stat. Ch. 815, §505/2SS(b)). Any gift certificate
issued prior to January 1, 2008 that is subject to an expiration date must
contain a statement clearly and conspicuously printed on the gift certificate
(where it is visible to the purchaser prior to the purchase) stating the
expiration date. Does not apply to any gift certificate issued prior to January
1, 2008 that contains a toll free phone number and a statement clearly and
conspicuously printed on the gift certificate stating that holders can call the
toll free number to find out the balance on the gift certificate, if
applicable, and the expiration date. (Ill. Rev. Stat. Ch. 815, §505/2SS(c)).
The foregoing restrictions do not apply to certain exempt gift certificates
(and cards), including gift certificates (and cards) redeemable for food
products, or issued for no consideration as part of a loyalty program. State
escheat laws only apply to gift certificates (or gift cards) that expire or
that have dormancy or other fees. Escheat laws do not apply to certificates
that have an expiration date, but the issuer has a written and posted policy of
honoring expired certificates. After property is abandoned for five years, it
reverts to the state. (Ill. Rev. Stat. Ch. 765, §1025/10.6).
Indiana
We are unaware of any restrictions imposed by the state on
expiration dates or dormancy or other fees on gift
cards. Gift certificates and gift cards are exempted from
unclaimed property act. Ind. Code §32-34-1-1.
Iowa
We are unaware of any restrictions imposed by the state on
expiration dates on gift cards. However, no dormancy, inactivity or other fee
may be charged with respect to a “gift certificate” (defined to generally
include gift cards at Iowa Code §556.9(2)) unless there is a valid written contract
between the issuer and the owner. (Iowa Code §556.9(1)). Gift certificates (and
gift cards) unclaimed by the owner three years after issuance are abandoned and
escheat to the state. (Iowa Code §556.1 et seq.). While to some extent unclear,
it appears that a gift certificate that expires before it is used escheats to
the state. (Iowa Code §556.16).
Kansas
On and after January 1, 2007, no person, firm, partnership,
association or corporation shall sell a gift card to a purchaser containing an
expiration date that is less than five years from the date of purchase. A gift
card sold without an expiration date is valid until redeemed or replaced. (Kan.
Stat. Ann. §50-6108). A merchant shall not be required to redeem a gift card
for cash. (Kan. Stat. Ann. §50- 6108). No fees may be charged against the
balance of a gift card within twelve months from the date of issuance of the
card. (Kan. Stat. Ann. §50-6108). A provision specifically providing for the
escheatment of “gift certificates and credit memos” was removed from the Kansas
unclaimed property law in 1999. (Former Kansas Stat. Ann. 58-3947). It is
unclear whether this removal means that gift certificates are NOT escheatable
as general intangible property (or a “credit balance”, which is escheatable) (Kan.
Stat. Ann. §58-3934), and even if so, whether this applies to gift cards.
However, the general consensus among commentators appears to be that gift cards
are not subject to escheatment.
Kentucky
A gift card expiration date shall not be less than one year from
the date of issuance. (Ky. Rev. Stat. §367.890). This restriction does not
apply to certain gift cards distributed by an issuer as an award, loyalty or
promotional program. (Ky. Rev. Stat. §367.890). If no expiration date is
printed on the front or back of the card, it is presumed valid until it is
redeemed or replaced. (Ky. Rev. Stat. §367.890). No person or entity shall
charge service charges or fees relative to that gift card, including dormancy
fees, latency fees, or administrative fees that have the effect of reducing the
total amount for which the holder of the gift card may redeem the gift card
until the expiration date on the card has expired. (Ky. Rev. Stat.
§367.890(3)). Gift certificates are not specifically included as escheatable
property. (Ky. Rev. Stat. §393.010). However, intangible property generally
escheats to the state after seven years. (Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. §393.090).
Louisiana
An expiration date on any gift certificate (defined to generally
include gift cards at La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §51:1423(A)) must be stated on its
face in capital letters in at least 10-point font, and cannot be less than five
years. A gift certificate sold without an expiration date shall be valid until
redeemed or replaced. (La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §51:1423(B)(1)). Dormancy and other
service fees are not permitted, except for a one-time handling fee that cannot
exceed $1 per gift certificate. La. (Rev. Stat. Ann. §51:1423(B)(2)). A gift
certificate is presumed abandoned and escheats three years after December 31st of
the year it was sold. (La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §9:154(A)(6)). A gift certificate
that expires before it is used escheats to the state. (La. Rev. Stat. Ann.
§9:171).
Maine
Maine prohibits expiration dates and dormancy fees on a “gift
obligation” or “stored-value card” (both of which are defined at Me. Rev. Stat.
Ann. tit. 33, §1952 broadly enough to include gift cards). (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann.
tit. 33, §1953(1)(G)) This prohibition trumps the general rule allowing
dormancy fees on abandoned property where an agreement or such fees exists (as
set forth in Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. Tit. 33, §1956). (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 33,
§1953(1)(G)) However, Maine allows a transactional fee for the initial issuance
of a gift card and for each time value is added to the card, if such fees are
disclosed in writing prior to the initial issuance or referenced on the gift
card. (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 33, §1953(1)(G)). Beginning November 1, 2008,
if a gift card (other than one having an initial value of $5 or less, or that
was not purchased but provided as a promotion or as a refund for merchandise
returned without a receipt), is redeemed in person and a balance of less than
$5 remains following redemption, at the consumer’s request the merchant
redeeming the gift card must refund the balance in cash to the consumer. A gift
card is presumed abandoned two years after December 31st of the year in which
(a) the card was initially sold, (b) any additional value was subsequently
added to the card, or (c) the card was used, whichever is later. The amount
unclaimed is 60 percent of the gift obligation’s or stored-value card’s face
value. (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 33, §1953(1)(G)). All issuers must obtain the
address of the purchaser of a gift card or Maine will presume the purchaser to
have the address of the Treasurer of State of Maine. A gift card that expires
before it is used escheats to the state. Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 33, §
1970(1).
Maryland
A person may not sell or issue a gift certificate (defined broadly
to include gift cards at Md. Commercial Code Ann. §14- 1319(a)(1)) that, within
four years after the date of purchase, is subject to expiration or a fee or
charge of any kind. (Md. Commercial Code Ann. §14-1319(b)). Expiration dates
and fees that take effect after four years must be disclosed in at least
10-point font in a visible place on the card, on a sticker permanently affixed
to the card, or on an envelope that contains the card. (Md. Commercial Code
Ann. §14-1319(c)). Gift certificates are exempted from Maryland’s unclaimed
property act. (Md. Commercial Code Ann. §17-101(m)).
Massachusetts
The expiration date of a gift certificate (defined broadly to
generally include gift cards, see Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. Ch. 255D, §1) cannot be
less than seven years after issuance and must be conspicuously displayed on the
certificate/card along with the date of issuance of the card. (Mass. Gen. Laws
Ann. Ch. 200A, §5D). A gift certificate not clearly marked with an expiration
date or for which the expiration date is not otherwise made available as
provided in this section shall be redeemable in perpetuity. (Mass. Gen. Laws
Ann. Ch. 200A, §5D, as amended by Acts of 2008, Chapter 58). Whoever sells or
offers to sell a gift certificate which imposes dormancy fees, latency fees,
administrative fees, periodic fees, service fees or other fees that have the
effect of reducing the total value amount for which the holder may redeem such
gift certificate, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $300 per
violation. (Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. Ch. 266, §75D, as amended by Acts of 2008,
Chapter 58). Whoever sells or offers to sell a gift certificate, which imposes
any fees or charges including, but not limited to, purchase fees, activation
fees, renewal fees or cancellation fees, shall provide to consumers notice of
any such fees, in writing, on the gift certificate, on the packaging of the
gift certificate, or on both. Failure to print such notice shall be punished by
a fine of not more than $300 per violation. (Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. Ch. 266,
§75E, as amended by Acts of 2008, Chapter 58). Whoever redeems a gift
certificate and deducts a gratuity there from, without the consent of the
holder of the gift certificate shall be punished by a fine of not more than
$300 per violation. (Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. Ch. 266, §75F, as amended by Acts of
2008, Chapter 58). A purchaser or holder of a gift certificate that, by its
terms, prohibits the purchaser or holder from adding value thereto and which
has been redeemed for at least 90 per cent of its face value shall be entitled
to make an election to receive the balance in cash or continue using the gift
certificate. A purchaser or holder of a gift certificate which, by its terms,
authorizes the purchaser or holder to add value thereto and which has been
redeemed in part, such that the value remaining is $5.00 or less, shall make an
election to receive the balance in cash or continue using the gift certificate.
(Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. Ch. 200A, §5D, as amended by Acts of 2008, Chapter 58).
Gift certificates that have expired are not subject to escheat. (Mass. Gen.
Laws Ann. Ch. 200A, §5D, as amended by Acts of 2008, Chapter 58). It would
appear by implication that the normal three-year abandonment rule for
intangible property wouldn’t apply to outstanding and unexpired gift
certificates (since the law exempts an expired card, after having remained
outstanding and unescheated for seven years, from escheat).
Michigan
A person engaged in the retail sale of goods or services may not:
1) sell a gift certificate (defined broadly to include gift cards) that expires
within a period of less than five years, 2) refuse to accept a gift
certificate, except after an expiration date that is at least five years after
the gift certificate’s purchase date; 3) restrict the holder of a gift
certificate from using it in a manner consistent with its terms and conditions;
4) alter terms or conditions of a gift certificate after it has been issued; 5)
fail to disclose any terms and conditions that apply to a gift certificate; 6)
refuse to accept a gift certificate (and apply the balance to a purchase) if
its value is less than the purchase price; or 7) charge an inactivity fee or
other service fee for the possession or use of a gift certificate. A gift
certificate or gift card is be presumed abandoned if not used within five years
after issuance or, if partially used, within five years of its most recent use.
(Mich. Comp. Laws §567.235). The amount presumed abandoned is the price paid by
the purchaser for the gift certificate. (Mich. Comp. Laws §567.235).
Minnesota
It is unlawful for any person or entity to sell a gift certificate
(defined to generally include gift cards at Minn. Stat. §325G.53) that is
subject to an expiration date or a service fee of any kind including, but not
limited to, a service fee for dormancy. (Minn. Stat. §325G.53). Gift
certificates and gift cards are specifically exempted from definition of
intangible property subject to escheat. (Minn. Stat. §345.39).
Mississippi
We are unaware of
any restrictions imposed by the state on expiration dates or dormancy or other
fees on gift cards. Gift certificates unclaimed by the owner for five years are
abandoned. (Miss. Code Ann. §89-12-14.) Although not 100% clear, it appears
likely that a gift certificate expiring before abandonment would still escheat
to the state. (See, e.g., Miss. Code Ann. §89-12-35.)
Missouri
We are unaware of any restrictions imposed by the state on
expiration dates or dormancy or other fees on gift cards. Gift certificates
escheat as intangible property if unclaimed for five years. (Mo. Rev. Stat. §§
447.505(5), 447.535, 536) Gift certificates, credit memos and credit balances
that are redeemable in merchandise only, shall be reportable at a rate equal to
60 percent of their respective face value (although the state treasurer will
reimburse the owner the full face value). (Mo. Rev. Stat. §447.505(5)). It
seems likely these provisions would apply to gift cards as well, although the
terms “gift certificates”, “credit memos” and “credit balances” are undefined.
Missouri law appears unsettled regarding whether an expired gift certificate or
gift card would escheat to the state.
Montana
A gift certificate (defined to include gift cards at Mont. Code
Ann. §30-14-102) is valid until redemption and cannot expire or terminate.
(Mont. Code Ann. §30-14-108(1)). A gift certificate may not be reduced in value
by any fee, including a dormancy fee. (Mont. Code Ann. §30-14- 108(3)). If the
original value of the gift certificate was more than $5 and the remaining value
is less than $5, and the possessor requests cash for the remainder, the issuer
or seller shall redeem the gift certificate for cash. (Mont. Code Ann. §30-
14-108(4)). A gift certificate is presumed abandoned three years after December
31 of the year in which the certificate was sold, but if redeemable in
merchandise only, the amount abandoned is considered to be 60 percent of the
certificate’s face value. A gift certificate is not presumed abandoned if the
gift certificate was sold by a person who in the past fiscal year sold no more
than $200,000 in gift certificates, which amount must be adjusted by November
of each year by the “inflation factor” defined in Mont. Code Ann. §15- 30-101
(defined as a number determined for each tax year by dividing the consumer
price index for June of the tax year by the consumer price index for June
2005). The amount considered abandoned for a person who sells more than such
triggering amount is the value of gift certificates greater than that trigger.
(Mont. Code Ann. §70-9-803(g)). It appears likely that a gift certificate that
expires before it is used still escheats to the state. (Mont. Code Ann.
§70-9-819).
Nebraska
Any expiration date, and the amount, frequency and trigger for any
dormancy or other fees assessed on a gift card, must be shown clearly and
conspicuously on the card in a place visible to the purchaser prior to purchase.
(Neb. Rev. Stat. §69- 1305.03, as amended by 2008 L.B. 668). Nebraska exempts
from escheat (a) any gift certificate or gift card issued after November 2,
2006, that is not assessed any fees and does not have an expiration date, and
(b) any gift certificate or gift card issued prior to November 2, 2006, which
contains an expiration date or is assessed a dormancy or other post-sale fee,
and has not been redeemed, if the issuer’s policy and practice as of July 1,
2006, is to waive all post-sale charges or fees and to honor such gift
certificate or gift card, at no additional cost to the holder at full face
value or the value remaining after any applicable purchases, expiration date
notwithstanding, provided the issuer conspicuously posted a written notice of
such policy and practice by July 1, 2006, in not smaller than 10-point type, at
each site in all Nebraska locations at which the issuer distributes or redeems
a gift certificate or gift card. (Neb. Rev. Stat. §69-1305.03, as amended by
2008 L.B. 668). A gift certificate or gift card which contains an expiration
date or requires any type of post sale finance charge or fee and which is
unredeemed for a period of three years from the date of issuance shall be
presumed abandoned and subject to escheat. (Neb. Rev. Stat. §69-1305.03, as
amended by 2008 L.B. 668).
In the case of a
gift certificate or gift card, the amount presumed abandoned is the face amount
of the certificate or card itself, less the total amount of any applicable
purchases and fees. (Neb. Rev. Stat. §69-1305.03, as amended by 2008 L.B. 668).
Nevada
A “gift certificate” (defined to include gift cards at Nev. Rev.
Stat. §598.0921(3)) may contain an expiration date only if either of the
following is printed plainly on the front or back of the certificate in 10
point font and in a position readily visible to the buyer prior to purchase:
(i) the expiration date of the certificate, or (ii) a toll-free telephone
number accompanied by a statement setting forth that the buyer or holder of the
gift certificate may call the telephone number to obtain the balance of the
gift certificate and the expiration date of the gift certificate. (Nev. Rev.
Stat. §598.0921(1)(a)). A gift certificate may contain a service fee only if
each of the following is printed plainly on the front or back of the
certificate in 10 point font and in a position readily visible to the buyer
prior to purchase: (1) the amount of the service fee; (2) the event or events
that will cause the service fee to be imposed; (3) the frequency with which the
service fee will be imposed; and (4) if the service fee will be imposed on the
basis of inactivity, the duration of inactivity, which must not be less than
three continuous years of nonuse, that will cause the service fee to be
imposed. (Nev. Rev. Stat. §598.0921(1)(b)). Regardless of the notice provided,
(1) a service fee or a combination of service fees cannot exceed a total of $1
per month; and (2) a service fee cannot commence or be imposed within the first
12 months after the issuance of the gift certificate. (Nev. Rev. Stat.
§598.0921(1)(c)). Sixty percent of the unredeemed or uncharged value remaining
on a gift certificate which is issued or sold in this state and which has an
expiration date is presumed abandoned and subject to the provisions of the
state’s unclaimed property law on the expiration date. (Nev. Rev. Stat.
§120A.520). This rule (enacted in 2007), along with legislature’s simultaneous
the removal of a provision specifying that gift certificates, whether expiring
or not, were intangible property subject to escheatment after three years) at
least implies that any gift certificates which do not have an expiration date
are not subject to escheat. If a gift certificate is issued or sold in this
state and the seller or issuer does not obtain and maintain in his records the
name and address of the owner of the gift certificate, the address of the owner
of the gift certificate shall be deemed to be the address of the office of the
state treasurer in Carson City. (Nev. Rev. Stat. §120A.520).
New Hampshire
The term “gift certificate” is defined as “a written promise given
in exchange for payment to provide the bearer, upon presentation, goods or
services in a specified amount.” (N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. 358-A: 1). Arguably,
this definition doesn’t cover gift cards, and the following provisions (both
restrictions on expiration dates and dormancy fees, and the exemption of gift
certificates for $100 and less from escheat) do not apply to gift cards. Gift
certificates valued at $100 or less may not have expiration dates. (N.H. Rev.
Stat. Ann. §358-A: 2). Gift certificates may not have dormancy or service fees.
(N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §358-A: 2). Gift certificates having a face value in
excess of $100 shall expire when escheated to the state as abandoned property
pursuant to RSA 471-C. (N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §358-A: 2). Gift certificates of
$100 or less and store credits that were issued for store merchandise are not
subject to escheat. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §471-C: 16. Intangible property
unclaimed by the owner for five years is abandoned. (N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann.
§471-C: 2).
New Jersey
Passed on June 25, 2012, and signed into law on June 29, 2012, New
Jersey Senate Bill 1928 (SB1928) amended New Jersey’s unclaimed property law
and affects stored value cards generally. The law is effective immediately,
although certain provisions (as noted below) contain delayed effective dates.
Under the new law, expiration of the “funds” underlying any gift cards sold on
or after December 1, 2012, is prohibited. However, the card itself (or other
tangible medium through which funds underlying a card may be accessed) can
contain an
expiration date (requiring the card to be reissued or replaced
before funds can be accessed), but only to the extent permitted by federal law.
Gift cards sold before December 1, 2012, would be subject to the prior
restriction prohibiting expiration of gift cards and their underlying funds
within 24 months of the date of sale. As of December 1, 2012, no fees or
charges may be imposed on a stored value card other than (1) an activation,
issuance, purchase or similar fee that is related to the issuance and purchase
of a card and for each occurrence of adding value to an existing card; and (2)
a replacement card fee with respect to lost, stolen or damaged cards, provided
that these fees are disclosed in writing prior to card issuance or are
referenced in the card or its packaging. Prior to December 1, 2012, (a) New
Jersey prohibits dormancy or any other fees that reduce a gift card’s value
during the 24 months following the date of sale or within 24 months of the most
recent activity or transaction using the gift card, and any dormancy fees
cannot exceed $2/month. (N.J. Rev. Stat. § 56:8-110(a)), and (b) all terms and
conditions regarding expiration dates and dormancy fees must be disclosed to
the buyer at the time of purchase by written notice of both (i) the expiration
date and/or dormancy fees, and (ii) a telephone number which the consumer may
call for information concerning any expiration date or dormancy fee, each
written in at least 10 point font, on the gift card, or the sales receipt for
the card, or the package for the card. (N.J. Rev. Stat. §56:8-110(b)).
A stored value card for which there has been no activity for five
years is presumed abandoned for all cards issued on or after July 1, 2010. (For
cards issued prior to that date, funds were presumed abandoned after two years
pursuant to N.J. Rev. Stat. §46:30B-42.1. The proceeds of a stored value card
presumed abandoned shall be 60 percent of the value of the card, in money, on
the date the stored value card is presumed abandoned. These escheat/abandonment
provisions do not apply to a stored value card issued by any issuer that in the
past year sold stored value cards with a combined face value of $250,000 or
less. (N.J. Rev. Stat. §46:30B-42.1).For purposes of this calculation, sales of
stored value cards by businesses that operate either (1) under the same trade
name as or under common ownership or control with another business or
businesses in the state, or (2) as franchised outlets of a parent business,
shall be considered sales by a single issuer. (N.J. Rev. Stat.
§46:30B-42.1).These escheat/abandonment provisions also do not apply to (a) a
stored value card that is distributed by the issuer to a person under a
promotional, incentive, rewards or customer loyalty program or a charitable
program for which no monetary or other consideration has been tendered by the
owner, (b) cards that are donated or sold below face value to a nonprofit or
charitable organization or an educational organization, and (c) certain cards
that are redeemable for event/venue admission and/or goods or services in
conjunction with admission to such events/venues.
Effective July 1, 2016, stored value card issuers are required to
obtain the name and address of the purchaser or owner of each stored value card
issued or sold, and maintain at a minimum the purchaser or owner’s ZIP code,
Beginning Sept. 1, 2012, if $5 or less remains on a card after
redemption, the merchant (or other entity redeeming the card) must refund the
balance in cash at the card owner’s request. In certain instances, cards that
are donated or sold below face value to a nonprofit or charitable organization
or an educational organization, and certain stored value cards that are
redeemable for event/venue admission and/or goods or services in conjunction
with admission to such events/venues are not subject to this cash redemption
requirement.
New Mexico
A gift certificate (defined to generally include gift cards at
N.M. Stat. Ann. §57- 12-26(A)) shall not have an expiration date less than 60
months from the date of issuance. (N.M. Stat. Ann. §57-12-26(B)). If an
expiration date is not conspicuously stated on a gift certificate, that gift
certificate shall be presumed to have no expiration
date and shall be valid until redeemed or replaced. (N.M. Stat.
Ann. §57-12-26(B)). An issuer of a gift certificate shall not charge a fee of
any kind in relation to the sale, redemption or replacement of a gift
certificate other than an initial charge not exceeding the face value of the
gift certificate, nor may a gift certificate be reduced in value by any fee,
including a dormancy fee or service fee. (N.M. Stat. Ann. §57-12-26(C)). A gift
certificate is presumed abandoned if unredeemed three years after December 31st
of the year it was sold. If redeemable in merchandise only, amount abandoned is
60 percent of the certificate’s face value. (N.M. Stat. Ann. §7-8A-1 et seq.)
It is unclear how these provisions would apply to a gift card (e.g. whether
abandonment would be measured from date of sale or last use, and whether the amount
abandoned would be based on 60% of the current balance).
New York
“Gift certificates” are defined broadly to include gift cards.
(N.Y. General Business Law §396-i(1)). The terms and conditions of a gift
certificate, including the expiration date, whether any fees are assessed
against the balance, and whether a fee will be charged for replacement of a
lost, stolen or destroyed card, must be disclosed to the purchaser either (i)
on a sign conspicuously posted or (ii) in an offer made by mail, conspicuously
stated in the offer, in each case along with the statement: “TERMS AND
CONDITIONS ARE APPLIED TO GIFT CERTIFICATES/GIFT CARDS”. (N.Y. General Business
Law §396-i(2-a)). For purchases via electronic, computer, or telephonic means,
the same statement shall be stated prior to the customer’s purchase of the gift
certificate or conspicuously written within the electronic message offering a
gift certificate for purchase. (N.Y. General Business Law §396-i(2-a)). All
advertisements or promotions for gift certificates shall include the same or a
similar statement. (N.Y. General Business Law §396-i(2-a)). In addition to the
foregoing, the terms and conditions of a gift certificate, including the
expiration date, whether any fees are assessed against the balance, and whether
a fee will be charged for replacement of a lost, stolen or destroyed
certificate, shall be clearly and conspicuously stated on the gift certificate.
These requirements don’t apply to a gift certificate that has no terms and
conditions. Additional terms and conditions including, but not be limited to,
policies related to refunds, warranties, changes in terms and conditions,
assignment and waiver shall be conspicuously printed: (a) on the gift
certificate; or (b) on an envelope or packaging containing the gift certificate
or an accompanying printed document, provided that a toll free telephone number
to access the additional terms and conditions is printed on the gift
certificate. (N.Y. General Business Law §396-i(3)). No retroactive fees may be
assessed against a gift certificate. No monthly service fees or dormancy fees
may be assessed against the balance of a gift certificate prior to the 13th
month of dormancy. Gift certificates are considered abandoned and subject to
escheat after five years. The face value of the certificate shall be the amount
deemed abandoned, and owing to the state. N.Y. Abandoned Property Law §1315. A
gift certificate that expires before it is used still escheats to the state.
(N.Y. General Business Law §396-i(3-c))
North Carolina
The seller or issuer of a gift card (defined at N.C. Gen. Stat.
§66-67.5) must conspicuously disclose any maintenance fee (defined as any
inactivity fee, service fee, or other fee that the owner of the gift card is
subject to when the card is redeemed) at the time of purchase. The disclosure
must be visible on the gift card itself. (N.C. Gen. Stat. §66-67.5). No person,
firm, or corporation engaged in commerce shall charge any maintenance fee on a
gift card for one calendar year following the date of the purchase of the gift
card. (N.C. Gen. Stat. §66-67.5). Any gift certificate or electronic gift card
bearing an expiration date and remaining unredeemed or dormant for more than
three years after the gift certificate or electronic gift card was sold is
deemed abandoned. The amount abandoned is deemed to be 60 percent of the
unredeemed portion of the face value of the gift certificate or the electronic
gift card. (N.C. Gen. Stat. §116B- 53(c)(8)). A gift certificate or electronic
gift card is not abandoned property when the gift certificate or electronic
gift card: (1) conspicuously states that the gift certificate or electronic
gift card does not expire; (2) bears no expiration date; or (3) states that a
date of
expiration
printed on the gift certificate or electronic gift card is not applicable in
North Carolina. (N.C. Gen. Stat. §116B-54(b))
North Dakota
An expiration date on a gift certificate (defined to generally
include gift cards at N.D. Cent. Code §51-29-01) must be more than six years
after the date of purchase. (N.D. Cent. Code §51-29-02). The state prohibits
dormancy fees, and any other fees that reduce a gift certificate’s value. (N.D.
Cent. Code §51-29-02). Gift certificates are no longer specifically included in
the detailed list of intangible property subject to escheat, and presumably are
not subject to escheat. (N.D. Cent. Code §47-30.1-01 et seq.).
Ohio
Gift cards (defined at Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §1349.61) may not have
expiration dates that are less than two years from the date of issuance. Ohio
Rev. Code Ann. §1349.61(A)(1). Dormancy or other fees that reduce the value of
a gift card may not be imposed until at least two years from the date of
issuance. (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §1349.61(A)(2)). A gift card sold without an
expiration date is valid until redeemed or replaced with new card. (Ohio Rev.
Code Ann. §1349.61(B)). Gift cards are specifically exempted from unclaimed
funds subject to escheat. (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §169.01(B)(2)(d).)
Oklahoma
Oklahoma prohibits gift cards (defined at Okla. Stat. tit. 15,
§796) from expiring before 60 months from the date of purchase. Okla. Stat.
tit. 15, § 797. A gift certificate/card sold without an expiration date is
valid until redeemed or replaced. (Okla. Stat. tit. 15, §797). Service fees are
prohibited, unless (i) the remaining value on the card/certificate is $5 or
less each time the fee is assessed; (ii) the fee does not exceed $1 per month;
(iii) there has been no activity for 24 consecutive months including, but not
limited to, purchases, the adding of value, or balance inquiries; (iv) the
holder may reload or add value to the card/ certificate; and (iv) the fee is
disclosed on the gift card where visible prior to purchase, in at least
ten-point font stating the amount of the fee, how often the fee will occur,
that the fee is triggered by inactivity of the gift card, and at what point the
fee will be charged. (Okla. Stat. tit. 15, § 797). Any gift card must be
redeemable in cash for its cash value, or subject to replacement with a new
gift certificate at no cost to the purchaser or holder. (Okla. Stat. tit. 15, §
797). Gift certificates are not specifically included as property subject to
escheat, but may escheat after five years as “credit memos”. (Okla. Stat. tit.
60, §651 et seq.).
Oregon
Except as provided below, a person may not sell a gift card
(defined at Or. Rev. Stat. §646A.274) that has an expiration date. (Or. Rev.
Stat. §646A.276). A person may only sell a gift card that has an expiration
date if: (1) the gift card bears, in at least 10-point type, the words ‘EXPIRES
ON’ or ‘EXPIRATION DATE’ followed by the date on which the card expires; (2)
the person sells the gift card at a cost below the face value of the card; and
(3) the gift card does not expire until at least 30 days after the date of
sale. (Or. Rev. Stat. §646A.278). A person may not sell a gift card that has a
face value that declines as a result of the passage of time or the lack of use
of the card; or that has a fee related to the card, including, but not limited
to, an inactivity fee, a maintenance fee or a service fee. (Or. Rev. Stat.
§646A.276). Gift certificates are not specifically included in the list of
property subject to escheat. (Or. Rev. Stat. §98.302(8)).
Pennsylvania
Gift certificates unredeemed for two years after expiration, or
five years from the date of issuance if they contain no expiration date, are
presumed abandoned and escheat to the state. (Pa. Stat. Ann. Tit.
72§1301.6(1)). However, the provisions of this clause do not apply to a
“qualified gift certificate”, defined to include a gift card
without any
expiration date or dormancy fee or other post-sale fees (including a
replacement card fee or activation fee). (Pa. Cons. Stat. tit. 72, §1301).
North Dakota
An expiration date on a gift certificate (defined to generally
include gift cards at N.D. Cent. Code §51-29-01) must be more than six years
after the date of purchase. (N.D. Cent. Code §51-29-02). The state prohibits
dormancy fees, and any other fees that reduce a gift certificate’s value. (N.D.
Cent. Code §51-29-02). Gift certificates are no longer specifically included in
the detailed list of intangible property subject to escheat, and presumably are
not subject to escheat. (N.D. Cent. Code §47-30.1-01 et seq.).
Ohio
Gift cards (defined at Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §1349.61) may not have
expiration dates that are less than two years from the date of issuance. Ohio
Rev. Code Ann. §1349.61(A)(1). Dormancy or other fees that reduce the value of
a gift card may not be imposed until at least two years from the date of issuance.
(Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §1349.61(A)(2)). A gift card sold without an expiration
date is valid until redeemed or replaced with new card. (Ohio Rev. Code Ann.
§1349.61(B)). Gift cards are specifically exempted from unclaimed funds subject
to escheat. (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §169.01(B)(2)(d).)
Oklahoma
Oklahoma prohibits gift cards (defined at Okla. Stat. tit. 15,
§796) from expiring before 60 months from the date of purchase. Okla. Stat.
tit. 15, § 797. A gift certificate/card sold without an expiration date is
valid until redeemed or replaced. (Okla. Stat. tit. 15, §797). Service fees are
prohibited, unless (i) the remaining value on the card/certificate is $5 or
less each time the fee is assessed; (ii) the fee does not exceed $1 per month;
(iii) there has been no activity for 24 consecutive months including, but not
limited to, purchases, the adding of value, or balance inquiries; (iv) the
holder may reload or add value to the card/ certificate; and (iv) the fee is
disclosed on the gift card where visible prior to purchase, in at least
ten-point font stating the amount of the fee, how often the fee will occur,
that the fee is triggered by inactivity of the gift card, and at what point the
fee will be charged. (Okla. Stat. tit. 15, § 797). Any gift card must be
redeemable in cash for its cash value, or subject to replacement with a new
gift certificate at no cost to the purchaser or holder. (Okla. Stat. tit. 15, §
797). Gift certificates are not specifically included as property subject to
escheat, but may escheat after five years as “credit memos”. (Okla. Stat. tit.
60, §651 et seq.).
Oregon
Except as provided below, a person may not sell a gift card
(defined at Or. Rev. Stat. §646A.274) that has an expiration date. (Or. Rev.
Stat. §646A.276). A person may only sell a gift card that has an expiration
date if: (1) the gift card bears, in at least 10-point type, the words ‘EXPIRES
ON’ or ‘EXPIRATION DATE’ followed by the date on which the card expires; (2)
the person sells the gift card at a cost below the face value of the card; and
(3) the gift card does not expire until at least 30 days after the date of
sale. (Or. Rev. Stat. §646A.278). A person may not sell a gift card that has a
face value that declines as a result of the passage of time or the lack of use
of the card; or that has a fee related to the card, including, but not limited
to, an inactivity fee, a maintenance fee or a service fee. (Or. Rev. Stat.
§646A.276). Gift certificates are not specifically included in the list of
property subject to escheat. (Or. Rev. Stat. §98.302(8)).
Pennsylvania
Gift certificates unredeemed for two years after expiration, or
five years from the date of issuance if they contain no expiration date, are
presumed abandoned and escheat to the state. (Pa. Stat. Ann. Tit. 72§1301.6(1)).
However, the provisions of this clause do not apply to a “qualified gift
certificate”, defined to include a gift card
without any expiration date or dormancy fee or other post-sale
fees (including a replacement card fee or activation fee). (Pa. Cons. Stat.
tit. 72, §1301). property by intestate succession. (Tenn. Code Ann.
§66-29-135). Again, it seems likely but is unclear whether these provisions
would apply directly to gift cards.
Texas
The expiration date of a “stored value card” (defined to
specifically include gift cards at Tex. Business & Commerce Code §35.42)
must be disclosed as specified. (Tex. Business & Commerce Code Ann.
§35.42). Dormancy and similar fees are permitted if they are reasonable, not
imposed until after one year after the card is issued or sold, and are
conspicuously disclosed at the time the card is issued or sold. (Tex. Bus.
& Com. Code Ann. § 35.42(e)). An expiration date and fees that may reduce
the card’s value must be legibly printed on it. (Tex. Bus. & Com. Code Ann.
§ 35.42(f)). Generally, gift certificates escheat after three years. Tex. Prop.
Code Ann. § 72.101(a). However, if the existence and location of the owner of a
stored value card is unknown to the issuer, the stored value card is presumed
abandoned to the extent of its unredeemed value on the earlier of (i) the
card’s expiration date, (2) the third anniversary of the date the card was
issued, if the card is not used after it is issued, or the date the card was
last used or value was last added to the card; or (3) the first anniversary of
the date the card was issued, if the card is not used after it is issued. If
the person who sells or issues a stored value card in this state does not
obtain the name and address of the apparent owner of the card and maintain a
record of the owner’s name and address and the identification number of the
card, the address of the apparent owner is considered to be the Austin, Texas,
address of the comptroller. (Tex. Property Code Ann. § 72.1016(b)).
Utah
It is a violation of the Utah Consumer Sales Practices Act to
issue “a gift certificate, instrument or other record in exchange for payment
to provide the bearer, upon presentation, goods or services in a specified
amount” without printing in a readable manner on the gift certificate,
instrument, packaging, or record any expiration date or information concerning
a fee to be charged and deducted from the balance of the gift certificate,
instrument, or other record. (Utah Code Ann. §13-11-4(2)(v)). In addition, such
a gift certificate, instrument, or other record that does not print an
expiration date does not expire. (Utah Code Ann. §13-11-4(4)(a)). A gift
certificate, instrument, or other record that does not include printed information
concerning a fee to be charged and deducted from the balance of the gift
certificate, instrument, or other record is not subject to the charging and
deduction of the fee. (Utah Code Ann. §13-11- 4(4)(b)). Gift certificates and
gift cards are not considered abandoned property and not subject to escheatment
under the Utah Unclaimed Property Act. Utah Code Ann. §67-4a-211.
Vermont
A “gift
certificate” (defined to generally include gift cards at Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 8,
§2701) sold or offered to be sold shall be valid and not expire for at least
three years after its date of issuance. (Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 8, §2702). A gift
certificate not clearly marked with an expiration date or for which the
expiration date is not otherwise made available as provided in this section
shall be deemed to have no expiration date. (Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 8, §2702).
Dormancy fees, latency fees, issuance fees, redemption fees, or any other
administrative fees or service charges in connection with a gift certificate
are prohibited. (Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 8, §2703). If the remaining value on a
gift certificate is less than $1.00, the certificate or card is redeemable in
cash upon demand. (Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 8, § 2704). At the holder’s request, the
issuer must provide the amount of the unused balance left on the card and its
expiration date. (Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 8, § 2705). Gift certificates are not
specifically included in the list of intangible property subject to escheat.
(Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 27, §1208 et seq.)
Virginia Each gift certificate (defined to
generally include gift cards at Va. Code §59.1-530) issued by a merchant in
Virginia that has an expiration date shall include either (i) a statement of
the expiration date of the certificate or (ii) a telephone number or Internet
address where the holder of the certificate may obtain information regarding
the expiration date of the certificate. (Va. Code §59.1-531). Each gift
certificate issued by a merchant in the Commonwealth that diminishes in value
over time shall include a telephone number or Internet address where the holder
of the certificate may obtain information regarding the diminution in the value
of the certificate over time. (Va. Code §59.1-531). A gift certificate or
credit balance issued in the ordinary course of the issuer’s business that has
remained unclaimed by the owner for more than five years after becoming payable
is presumed abandoned, unless redeemable in merchandise, in services, or
through future purchases. (Va. Code §55-210.8:1)
Washington A
gift certificate (defined to include gift cards at Wash. Rev. Code §19.240.010)
may not have an expiration date (with certain very limited exceptions). (Wash.
Rev. Code §19.240.020(1)(a) and §19.240.030). A dormancy or inactivity fee may
be assessed only if: (1) the remaining value of the gift card is $5 or less
each time the charge is assessed; (2) the charge does not exceed $1 per month;
(3) the charge can only be assessed when there has been no activity on the gift
card for 24 consecutive months, including but not limited to, purchases, the
adding of value, or balance inquiries; (4) the bearer may reload or add value
to the gift card; (5) the card contains a statement in at least 6- point type
stating the amount and frequency of the fee, that the fee is triggered by
inactivity, and at what point the fee will be charged; and (6) after a dormancy
or inactivity charge is assessed, the remaining value of the gift card is
redeemable in cash on demand. (Wash. Rev. Code §19.240.040). Gift certificates
that comply with the foregoing are no longer subject to escheat, including
those that may contain expiration dates and dormancy fees as specifically
permitted by Wash. Rev. Code §§ 19.240.030 through 19.240.060. (Wash. Rev. Code
§ 63.29.020(6)). Otherwise, gift certificates issued in the ordinary course of
business escheat after three years. (Wash. Rev. Code § 63.29.140). The amount
presumed abandoned is the price paid by the purchaser for the gift certificate.
(Wash. Rev. Code §63.29.140).
West Virginia Gift
certificates are generally considered abandoned three years after December 31st
of the year in which the certificate was sold, but if redeemable in merchandise
only, the amount abandoned is deemed to be 60 percent of the certificate’s face
value. (W. Va. Code §36-8-2(a)(7)). Because the term “gift certificate” is
undefined, it is not clear whether this would apply to gift cards as well.
Wisconsin Gift
certificates are not specifically included in the definition of property
subject to escheat. (Wis. Stat. §177.01 et seq.). Because gift certificates
were previously specifically included in the definition, and were subsequently
removed from the list by the legislature, it seems likely that they are no
longer subject to escheat. However, it is not clear whether the term “gift certificates”
would include gift cards, since neither term is defined
Wyoming “Gift
certificates and credit memos” are specifically included in the definition of
intangible property subject to escheat. (Wyo. Stat. §34-24-102). A gift
certificate or credit memo in an amount greater than $100 that remains
unredeemed for more than three years after issuance deemed abandoned. (Wyo.
Stat. §34-24-114). The amount deemed abandoned is the price paid for the
certificate or shown on the credit memo. (Wyo. Stat. §34-24-114). This seems to
imply that gift certificates under $100 are not subject to escheat. Because
neither gift certificate nor credit memo are defined it is not entirely clear
whether these provisions apply to gift cards.

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