Every state has Laws For Gift Certificates and Gift Cards for your protection. Many states have gift card consumer protection laws. For your convenience, Spavelous has put together a summary of Gift Certificate Laws. For any other specific state information, or the most recent information, you may contact your State Attorney General’s office.
State House, 11 S. Union St. Montgomery, AL 36130
Alabama Escheat – In general, gift certificates are presumed abandoned three years after being sold, however, gift certificates issued by retailers are exempt from this provision. Alabama Code § 35-12-72(a)(17); §35-12-73(b)(1).
P.O. Box 110300, Diamond Courthouse, Juneau, AK 99811-0300
Alaska Escheat – Gift certificate presumed abandoned after being unclaimed by owner for three years. Amount abandoned is equal to the full price paid by the purchaser. Alaska Statute § 34.45.240.
1275 W. Washington St., Phoenix, AZ 85007
Arizona Disclosure – Any expiration date, the amount of any fees, and when such fees are incurred must be clearly disclosed. Arizona Revised Statutes Annotated § 44-7402.
200 Tower Bldg., 323 Center St., Little Rock, AR 72201-2610
Arkansas Arkansas has enacted the Fair Gift Card Act (¶ 30,412), which prohibits issuance of gift certificates or cards subject to expiration or fees less than two years from issuance. Prominent disclosures of expiration and fee provisions are required. Laws of 2007, Act 304, approved March 16, 2007, effective 90 days after adjournment.
Escheat – Gift certificates are not considered property and therefore not subject to escheat laws. Arkansas Statutes
Annotated § 18-28-201(13)(B).
Expiration – No expiration earlier than two years from the date of issuance, expiration date must be disclosed in a conspicuous manner. Arkansas Statutes Annotated § 44-88-703(a) and (c).
Fees – May be charged beginning two years from the date of issuance, notice must be conspicuous. Arkansas Statutes Annotated § 44-88-703 (c).
1300 I St., Ste. 1740, Sacramento, CA 95814
California Expiration – Gift certificates cannot contain expiration dates. California Code § 1749.5(a)(1)
A gift certificate sold without an expiration date is valid until redeemed or replaced. California Code § 1749.5(c).
Gift cards cannot contain a service fee until the gift card has been inactive for two years, the remaining value is not more than $5, and the service fee is not more than $1 per month. California Code § 1749.5(a)(2), 1749.5(e).
Redemption – Any gift certificate sold after January 1, 1997 is redeemable in cash for its cash value, or subject to replacement with a new gift certificate at no cost to the purchaser or holder. California Code § 1749.5(b)
Disclosure – Gift certificates handed out by the issuer to the consumer pursuant to an awards, loyalty or promotional program, as well as gift certificates sold below face value, or those issued for a food product are permitted to contain an expiration date, as long as the date appears in at least 10 point font on the front of the gift certificate. California
Code § 1749.5(d)
Gift Cards – Gift cards are covered under the definition of “gift certificates,” except when a gift card is usable with multiple sellers of goods. California Code § 1749.45(a)
1525 Sherman Street, Denver, CO 80203
Colorado Escheat – Gift certificates that can be redeemed for cash are subject to escheat if unclaimed for 5 years; certificates redeemable for goods or services are not subject to escheat. Colorado Revised Statutes § 38-13-108.4.
55 Elm St., Hartford, CT 06141-0120
Connecticut Expiration – Gift certificates sold after August 16, 2003 cannot contain expiration dates. Gift certificate sellers are required to obtain the address of the owner and maintain a record of such address. Connecticut Public Act No. 03-1, Section 84
Redemption – Unclaimed gift certificates are considered abandoned three years after the gift certificate was either purchased or last used. Connecticut Public Act No. 03-1, Section 74. However, this does not prevent the holder from honoring a gift certificate, as reimbursement can be sought from the Treasurer. Connecticut Public Act No. 03-1, Section 84
Disclosure – As of August 16, 2003, gift certificates cannot contain expiration dates.
Gift Cards – Gift cards are covered under the definition of “gift certificates”. Connecticut Public Act No. 03-1, Section 66(5)
District of Columbia:
John A. Wilson Building, 1350 PA Ave, NW Suite 409, Washington, DC 20009
District of Columbia Escheat – Certificates unclaimed for five years are presumed abandoned. D.C. Code Annotated § 41-101 et seq.
Carvel State Office Bldg., 820 N. French St., Wilmington, DE 19801
Delaware Escheat – In the event that an owner dies intestate, is missing for more that five years, or abandons the certificate, a gift certificate reverts to the state. Delaware Code Annotated tit. 12 § 1197 et seq.
The Capitol, PL 01, Tallahassee, FL 32399-1050
Florida Florida has enacted a new law (¶30,912) prohibiting expiration dates, postsale charges, and fees for gift certificates and stored value cards. Laws of 2007, Chapter 256, approved and effective June 28, 2007.
40 Capitol Square, SW, Atlanta, GA 30334-1300
Georgia Disclosure – Any expiration date or dormancy/non-use fee must be conspicuously printed. Georgia Code § 10-1-393(b)(33)(A)(ii).
Escheat – Certificates unclaimed for five years are presumed abandoned. Georgia Code § 44-12-205.
425 Queen St., Honolulu, HI 96813
Hawaii Expiration and Fees: Effective July 1, 2005, gift cards may not expire within two years of issue, and no fees may be charged for their use. Consumer’s Union.
Statehouse, Boise, ID 83720-1000
Idaho Escheat – Certificates without expiration dates unclaimed for five years are presumed abandoned. Idaho Code § 14-514. Certificates with expiration dates displayed do not constitute abandoned property. Idaho Code § 14-502(2)(b).
James R. Thompson Ctr., 100 W. Randolph St., Chicago, IL 60601
Illinois Expiration and Fees: Effective January 1, 2005, gift cards may not have an expiration date or service fees or they risk escheat to the state. Consumer’s Union.