Montana, North Dakota and Virginia Enact Gift Card Laws
Montana's new gift certificate and gift card law takes effect October 1, 2005. The law prohibits service and dormancy fees and expiration dates. The law exempts gift certificates and gift cards given as part of an award or loyalty program or promotion, as well as gift certificates and gift cards usable with multiple sellers of goods or services.
North Dakota's new law took effect April 6, 2005. The law prohibits service and dormancy fees, and prohibits expiration dates shorter than 6 years after the date of purchase. The expiration date and fee prohibitions do not apply to gift certificates or gift cards that are given as part of an award or loyalty program or promotion; however, any restriction or limitation on such gift certificates or gift cards must be disclosed to the consumer in writing at the time it is given to the consumer. The law exempts general use prepaid cards that are usable at multiple, unaffiliated merchants or service providers.
Virginia's new gift card law requires certain disclosures. A gift certificate or gift card issued by a merchant in Virginia that has an expiration date must include either (1) the expiration date on the certificate or card, or (2) a telephone number or Internet address where a consumer can obtain information about the expiration date. A gift certificate or gift card issued by a merchant in Virginia that is subject to any fees must contain a telephone number or Internet address where a consumer can obtain information about such fees. These disclosures must be clearly and permanently imprinted on the gift certificate or card. Virginia's new law takes effect July 1, 2005.
Maine amended its unclaimed property law so that gift certificates and gift cards that are unredeemed for two years (instead of three years) are presumed abandoned and are subject to reporting requirements. This change takes effect July 1, 2005.
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