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Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) introduced a bill Nov. 26 that would require companies in bankruptcy to honor outstanding gift cards.
The Gift Card Consumer Protection Act of 2012 (S. 3636) would also prohibit expiration dates on gift cards as well as certain fees associated with gift cards.
The bill was referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.
“This bill bars absolutely draconian deadlines and abusive fees and charges that unfairly confiscate consumer gift card cash. Gift card companies fatten their profits and shrink consumer wallets with exploitative expiration dates and petty, underhanded junk fees,” Blumenthal said in a Nov. 23 press release. “Gift cards should not be the gift that keeps on taking. This measure assures that consumers get their money's worth, no matter when they use the gift card.”
According to the release, the bill “would significantly strengthen present law, which permits expiration of cards after five years, and non-use fees after one year.” The bill would prohibit “a dormancy fee, an inactivity charge or fee, or a service fee with respect to a gift certificate, store gift card, or general-use prepaid card.”
By Stephanie M. Acree
Full text of the Gift Card Consumer Protection Act of 2012 is available at: /uploadedFiles/Content/News/Legal_and_Business/Bloomberg_Law/Legal_Reports/Gift-Cards(1).pdf
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