Even though new federal gift card laws go into effect on August 22, 2010, it's important to celebrate states who have taken the effort to enact some serious gift card legislation. All of the states below exceed the new federal laws for expiration dates and post-sale fees. We think they set a great example for other law makers looking to craft legislation.
One thing to note: I'm referring to Store Issued Gift Cards, not Bank Issued Gift Cards (Visa, American Express) which are regulated by federal laws.
5. Rhode Island
For such a small state, it sure packs a powerful punch when it comes to protecting consumers against unruly gift cards. Expiration dates and post-sale fees are not allowed, gift cards are never considered unclaimed property and if the valued of the card is less than a buck you can redeem it for cash.
The evergreen state rings true to it's name: gift cards never expire. We also like how they include a clause for allowing a business to zero out a balance if it's less then $5.00, inactive for two years or more and not relaodable.
The land of 10,000 lakes hasn't been out fishing when it comes to gift card laws. Residents enjoy the fact that gift cards never expire and post-sale fees aren't allowed. We also love how they've taken the extra step in publishing a consumer-centric web page for Minnesota's gift card laws.
We see Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal's name quite a bit when monitoring gift card laws. In fact, he's been pushing to include bank issued gift cards (Visa, American Express) since 2004 and recently announced the new federal gift card laws will include such cards. Gift cards in Connecticut never have expiration dates or post-sale fees.
The Golden State earns the gold medal on our list. Of course, gift cards never expire in California; however, there is a provision allowing for fees to be charged under limiting circumstances. California has also created an excellent consumer-centric gift card website and to make things even better, gift cards with a balance less than $10.00 are redeemable for cash.