It's not much of a surprise when I hear of a consumer who is unfamiliar with their state's gift card laws. However, it's a much more concerning when a company who issues gift cards is unfamiliar with the gift card laws which they must follow.
I just read a rather humors article by consumer advocate Dennis Rockstroh. He's fed up with California companies who will not offering cash back for gift cards with a balance less than $10. In fact, he's so fed up, that he's created a printable coupon for consumers to take with them to the store in hopes of getting the a merchant to abide by the law and cough up the cash.
I agree with Dennis, it's rather ridiculous that a business is still unaware of a consumer protection law which was enacted over three years ago; and it's even worse when they stick to their guns and refuse to fork over the cash. While Dennis' coupon can't hurt, here are some more tips:
1) Ask to speak to manager. Be nice. They can also cut a check at a later date.
2) Quote the section code: 1749.5(b)(2) in the case of California.
3) Direct them to California's consumer friendlily gift card law website on your smart phone or a company computer with internet access.
4) Take down names, times, phone numbers and report it to your state's Attorney General.
Not Just Cash Back In California
California is not the only state with a law requiring merchant's give cash back for a gift card. Take a look at ScripSmart's list of states with cash back laws for an up-to-date listing of where you can get cash back for your gift card!