Legislation sponsored by New Jersey Assmblywoman Connie Wagner aims to protect consumers in the state who purchase prepaid gift cards and prepaid bank cards. The law aims to regulate expiry dates and dormancy fees for gift cards in the state. The bill passed through the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee 3 to 2 and will now be reviewed by the New Jersey Assembly Speaker who will decide if the bill makes it to the floor. If the bill is then passed it will;
- Prohibit the expiration of prepaid bank and gift cards within a 2 year period of their sale.
- Prohibit the charging of any dormancy fee within a 2 year period following the date of the sale by the original purchaser of the card. A 2 year period prohibiting any dormancy charges will also follow the most recent transaction on the card.
- Any dormancy fee will, where applicable will be limited to no more then $2 per month. The retailer will also need to provide appropriate disclosure of the cards expiration date and dormancy fees.
These proposed rules governing the sale of prepaid gift cards are an important step to protect consumer’s rights. Billions of dollars of gift cards expire or are lost every single year. Gift cards are very small and easy to lose, if you have a gift card you are not planning on using soon it is better to sell the gift card or trade it for a gift card you will use. The longer you hang onto gift cards the more likely it is you will lose it or the gift card will expire.