New Jersey enacted Assembly Bill 1079 which amends the state’s existing gift card law in several important ways. The new law takes effect April 4, 2006 (although the provisions relating to the font size of disclosures will not be enforced against a gift card or gift certificate that is issued on or before January 4, 2007).
The new law will
prohibit gift cards and gift certificates from expiring within 24 months of issue;
prohibit charging dormancy fees within 24 months of issue or within 24 months of the most recent transaction; and
prohibit dormancy fees that exceed $2.00 per month.
In addition, gift cards and gift certificates will not expire and will not be subject to dormancy fees unless the following disclosures are made at the time of purchase: the terms of expiration dates and/or dormancy fees and a telephone number a consumer can call for information on expiration dates and dormancy fees must be printed in at least 10 point font (1) on the gift card or gift certificate, (2) on the packaging for the gift card or gift certificate, or (3) on a sales receipt.
The terms “gift card” and “gift certificate” as used in the statute do not include:
a prepaid bank card (defined as a general use, prepaid card or other electronic payment device that is issued by a bank or other financial institution, or a licensed money transmitter, in a pre-denominated amount useable at multiple, unaffiliated merchants or at automated teller machines, or both, but does not include a card issued by a retail merchant);
a prepaid telecommunications or technology card (defined as including but not limited to a prepaid telephone calling card, prepaid technical support card, or prepaid internet disk distributed to or purchased by a consumer); or
a rewards card (defined as a card or certificate distributed by the issuer to a consumer pursuant to an awards, loyalty, rewards or promotional program, without any money or other consideration or thing of value by the consumer in exchange for the card or certificate).
The New Jersey law is the latest in a growing trend of state laws that restrict or prohibit expiration dates and dormancy fees on gift cards and gift certificates.
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