Bill Text: NY A06572 | 2019-2020 | General Assembly | Introduced

Bill Title: Relates to gift certificates and gift cards; prohibits expiration dates and dormancy service fees in certain instances; and requires retailers to redeem card balances of $10 or less for cash at consumer's request.

Spectrum: Slight Partisan Bill (Democrat 12-6)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-03-12 - referred to consumer affairs and protection [A06572 Detail]

Download: New_York-2019-A06572-Introduced.html

                STATE OF NEW YORK
                               2019-2020 Regular Sessions
                   IN ASSEMBLY
                                     March 12, 2019
        Introduced  by M. of A. WEPRIN, ARROYO, WRIGHT, EPSTEIN, TAYLOR, EICHEN-
          STEIN, DeSTEFANO, SCHMITT, B. MILLER -- read once and referred to  the
          Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protection
        AN  ACT  to  amend the general business law, in relation to gift certif-
          icates and gift cards; and to repeal certain provisions  of  such  law
          relating thereto
          The  People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
     1    Section 1. Section 396-i of the general business law is REPEALED and a
     2  new section 396-i is added to read as follows:
     3    § 396-i. Gift certificates and gift cards. 1. For the purposes of this
     4  section:
     5    (a) the term "gift certificate" shall mean  a  written  promise  in  a
     6  specified  amount which cannot be increased in value on the face thereof
     7  and purchased by a consumer in exchange for payment to provide  merchan-
     8  dise or service in a specified amount or of equal value to the bearer of
     9  the certificate.
    10    (b) "gift cards" shall mean a card which may be purchased by a consum-
    11  er in exchange for payment to provide merchandise or service in a speci-
    12  fied amount of equal value to the bearer of the card.
    13    2.  It is unlawful for any person or entity to sell a gift certificate
    14  or gift card to a purchaser that contains any of the following:
    15    (a) An expiration date; or
    16    (b) A service fee, including, but not limited to, a  service  fee  for
    17  dormancy, except as provided in subdivision six of this section.
    18    3.  (a)  Any gift certificate sold after January first, nineteen nine-
    19  ty-seven, is redeemable in cash  for  its  cash  value,  or  subject  to
    20  replacement  with  a new gift certificate at no cost to the purchaser or
    21  holder.
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        A. 6572                             2
     1    (b) Notwithstanding  paragraph  (a)  of  this  subdivision,  any  gift
     2  certificate  with a cash value of less than ten dollars is redeemable in
     3  cash for its cash value.
     4    4.  A  gift certificate sold without an expiration date is valid until
     5  redeemed or replaced.
     6    5. This section does not apply to any of the  following  gift  certif-
     7  icates  issued on or after January first, nineteen hundred ninety-eight,
     8  provided the expiration date appears in  capital  letters  in  at  least
     9  ten-point font on the front of the gift certificate:
    10    (a) Gift certificates that are distributed by the issuer to a consumer
    11  pursuant to an awards, loyalty, or promotional program without any money
    12  or other thing of value being given in exchange for the gift certificate
    13  by the consumer;
    14    (b)  Gift  certificates that are donated or sold below face value at a
    15  volume discount to employers or to nonprofit  and  charitable  organiza-
    16  tions  for  fundraising  purposes  if  the expiration date on those gift
    17  certificates is not more than thirty days after the date of sale; or
    18    (c) Gift certificates that are issued for perishable food products.
    19    6. Paragraph (b) of subdivision three of this section does  not  apply
    20  to  a dormancy fee on a gift card that meets all of the following crite-
    21  ria:
    22    (a) The remaining value of the gift card is five dollars or less  each
    23  time the fee is assessed;
    24    (b) The fee does not exceed one dollar per month;
    25    (c)  There  has  been  no  activity  on  the gift card for twenty-four
    26  consecutive months, including, but not limited to, purchases, the adding
    27  of value, or balance inquiries; and
    28    (d) The holder may reload or add value to the gift card.
    29    7. A statement is printed on the gift card in at least ten-point  font
    30  stating  the  amount  of the fee, how often the fee will occur, that the
    31  fee is triggered by inactivity of the gift card, and at what  point  the
    32  fee  will  be  charged. The statement may appear on the front or back of
    33  the gift card, but shall appear in a location where it is visible to any
    34  purchaser prior to the purchase thereof.
    35    8. An issuer of gift certificates may accept funds from  one  or  more
    36  contributors  toward the purchase of a gift certificate intended to be a
    37  gift for a recipient, provided that each contributor is provided with  a
    38  full refund of the amount that he or she paid toward the purchase of the
    39  gift certificate upon the occurrence of all of the following:
    40    (a) The funds are contributed for the purpose of being redeemed by the
    41  recipient by purchasing a gift certificate.
    42    (b) The time in which the recipient may redeem the funds by purchasing
    43  a  gift  certificate is clearly disclosed in writing to the contributors
    44  and the recipient.
    45    (c) The recipient does not redeem the funds within the time  described
    46  in paragraph (b) of this subdivision.
    47    9.  For  purposes of this section, "cash" includes, but is not limited
    48  to, currency or check. If accepted by both parties, an electronic  funds
    49  transfer  or  an  application  of the balance to a subscriber's wireless
    50  telecommunications account is permissible.
    51    § 2. This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day  after  it  shall
    52  have  become  a  law and shall apply to gift certificates and gift cards
    53  issued on or after such date.