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April 3, 2007 > Consumer rights for gift cards

Consumer rights for gift cards

Senator Ellen Corbett (D-San Leandro) today announced she has introduced legislation strengthening consumer rights for gift cards. SB 250 will allow consumers to redeem gift cards for cash, when the value is less than $20.

"In 2006 over $8 billion in gift cards went unspent in the United States," said Senator Corbett, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. "It is wrong that retailers are making a profit without providing a service. When an individual purchases a gift card, I don't believe they think they are making a donation to the retailer. They are entitled to the full value of their gift card."

Specifically, SB 250 would allow consumers to redeem cash for the remaining value on gift cards as long as the value is below $20.

"Every consumer has had the experience of losing the small value remaining on a gift card," said Senator Corbett. "Consumers have the right to the cash value of these gift cards and my bill makes that happen."

Under current law, most gift certificates are barred from having expiration dates and service fees. However, gift cards with less than $5 can have dormancy fees and a store can refuse to give the remaining value back in cash no matter how small the value left on the card.

SB 250 must be in print 30 days and is expected to be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee in late March.

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