New state law protects gift card purcasers

A law signed by New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo this week now better protects consumers from hidden fees and other penalties associated with gift cards.

Regulations on gift cards in New York State changed this week.

Regulations on gift cards in New York State changed this week.

Under the new law:

  • No fees after 13 months for cards with a balance; that time frame is now 25 months.

  • If you use the card within three years of the issue date, there are no fees.

  • Cards expire no earlier than five years from the date purchased.

  • There are also additional terms and conditions for replacing a lost or stolen card.

Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York wants everyone to do their homework to maximize their gift cards.

  • Be cautious about buying gift cards from third parties or online auctions, because it is hard to tell whether the cards have any value remaining. Also, you may not be able to see if a card shows signs of tampering or if it is expired.

  • If you buy a gift card in store, make sure to check the packaging and any security seals.

  • Check the fine print to see if there are fees associated with the card, including a transaction or inactivity fees. In some cases, an organization may charge a service fee to issue the card.

  • See if the card has a hard expiration date.

  • Check the terms and conditions on the gift card. If you are giving a card

    to a friend who wants to shop online, make sure you can use the card online and in stores.

  • Consider the condition of the retailer or bank issuing the card. If you think the store may be on shaky footing, you may want to pass.

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  1. I’m really inspired along with your writing abilities as neatly as with the layout on your blog. Is that this a paid

    subject or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the nice high quality writing, it’s rare to look a nice

    weblog like this one these days.

    1. You can check with the Attorney General’s office. 1-800-771-7755.

    • Jac on December 6, 2016 at 8:23 AM
    • Reply

    I have 2 paper gift certificates with written expiration dates on them. According to the dates both have expired within the last 4 months. Are they still of any value according to New York State laws?

    1. I want to offer special pricing packages for a daycare service: 5 day, 10 day 20 day and 30 day passes with special pricing, i.e. less than daily x 10, etc.
      Can I specify time frames to these passes, or expiration dates?

      Thank you.

      pandggoerke@dogdaycare.com

      1. We recommend you check with the Attorney General’s office. 1-800-771-7755.

    • Mary Booth on December 31, 2016 at 8:59 AM
    • Reply

    Does New York State have a policy on getting cash back from gift cards if they have never been used?

    1. You would have to check with the NYS Attorney Generals office.

    2. You would have to check with the NYS Attorney General’s office.

  2. I want to offer special pricing packages for a daycare service: 5 day, 10 day 20 day and 30 day passes with special pricing, i.e. less than daily x 10, etc.
    Can I specify time frames to these passes, or expiration dates?

    Thank you.

    pandggoerke@dogdaycare.com

    • Kathy otto on March 16, 2017 at 11:51 AM
    • Reply

    I have a 100 gift certificate from Barton hill spa in Lewiston my . It says does not expire . I called to use it for a mas dawn today . The GM says that was iddyes from the ” previous owners” and they can not accept it . There is no date of issue on it and it clearly says DOES NOT EXPIRE. Help! –

    1. You would have to contact the Attorney General’s office.

    • Gabriel G. Hoff, LMT on March 16, 2017 at 5:53 PM
    • Reply

    Does NYS distinguish between the law for gift certificates/cards for a product versus gift certificates/cards for a service?

    1. We recommend you check with the Attorney General’s office to be sure. 1-800-771-7755.

    • Joey on August 16, 2017 at 11:26 AM
    • Reply

    I just tried calling and they said I’d need to email them for any questions pertaining to this new law, nyag.consumerbureau@ag.ny.gov

    • Carol clark on January 4, 2018 at 2:36 PM
    • Reply

    I’m wondering what it means to have a “hard expiration date”.? If it says the certificate expires in 12 months are they still obligated to honor that after 12 months?

    1. Hi Carol,

      That most likely would be considered a hard expiration date but you can check with the Attorney General’s office to verify. They can be reached at 1-800-771-7755.

      Thanks!

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