You’ve probably either bought or received a gift card, but did you know that a business cannot include an expiry date or charge fees for using the card?
On October 1, 2007, the Consumer Protection Act banned expiry dates and most fees on gift cards purchased after that date to make sure you get their full value, regardless of when you use them. The only fees a business is permitted to charge are to customize a gift card or replace one that has been lost or stolen.
Gift cards purchased from shopping malls (rather than individual retailers):
You may obtain an extension of an additional three months by requesting it from the supplier (the mall) during the 15th month after you purchased the card. After that, the mall is allowed to charge you a “dormancy fee” of no more than $2.50 a month. Check your card for these terms and conditions – they must be clearly displayed.
The new law does not apply to loyalty cards used to collect rewards or points, and does not apply to cards that are subject to federal jurisdiction, such as prepaid phone cards. Cards or certificates that are redeemable for specific services, such as a massage at a spa, are also not covered.
The ban on expiry dates and some fees only applies to cards purchased after October 1, 2007. It is important to read and understand the terms and conditions of each gift card before you buy.
What you need to know about Gift Cards - Brochure