Gift cards and certificates are wonderful and everybody loves them. While they may be popular, they also have so many scams. That’s the reason there are federal and state laws regulating gift certificates and cards in California. Most of the California companies have this tendency to violate these laws when it comes to using and selling gift cards and certificates. If you have received a gift certificate or bought one, and discovered that after some time the gift has expired, there is a way you can redeem the gift. Most of the complaints who had successful claims have argued that they were unable to use their cards, and still, they seemed valid. This mostly happens when companies want to get profit from the unredeemed gift cards and certificates.
Understanding California Gift Cards And Certificate Law
If you have received a gift card or certificate, it would be better to understand your rights. You need to be aware that it’s illegal for an entity or a person to sell a gift card or certificate containing:
- An expiry date: The gift card should remain valid and redeemable until the owner can redeem the gift in cash for its cash value or get a replacement at no extra cost. But the rule is subject to the following exceptions:
- It may contain an expiry date if the gift card is supposed to be used by several unaffiliated sellers. As such, the expiration date must be printed on the gift card.
- Gifts issues through a promotional program without charge
- Any gift card issued for perishable food products excluding meals sold by a restaurant
- Any gift donated or sold to a charitable or any non-profit making organization.
- If the value of the gift card is less than $10, you’re supposed to receive the face value even if you haven’t made any purchase.
- The service fee that includes but not limited to a dormancy fee
The fact is that different rules apply to group gifts cards or the discount and promotional certificates. To find more about this, you can look for a consumer protection lawyer who is experienced with the applicable laws in your state. If you’re a group of employees whose rights gave been violated, you may want to file a lawsuit. To ensure the process runs smoothly, you may look for top class action attorneys in Los Angeles. They can perform investigations on matters such as:
- Where there was premature expiration on their gift cards and certificates
- There was an undisclosed fee that reduced the value of their gift cards.
- You were not provided with the balance that remained on their gift cards.
It’s worth noting that the validity of the gift cards and the certificate doesn’t apply if they are to be used in certain places, for example, in MasterCard, American Express, or Visa gift card. In such cases, only the federal law would apply. California state laws concerning gift cards and certificated seem to protect the consumer more than the federal law. For instance, a gift certificate is valid for at least five years, and the issuer can charge an inactivity fee if the card remains inactive for 12 months. This is not so under state law.
How To Make Use Of Your Gift Card
You can use your gift card or certificate in various ways. Some of them include:
- Treat your gift card like cash. Just as you use your cash when it’s available, it would also be a good idea to use your car as soon as possible. This is because if peradventure your card may be lost, you won’t lose its value. Also, make sure to utilize your gift card amount fully.
- Economize the gift card on sale items especially during holidays.
- Consider donating the gift certificate away if you don’t want to spend it.
You Can Get Legal Help
California law on gifts is not easy as some may think. The reason is that not all gifts are subjected to this law, as there are numerous exceptions. If there is an allegation that several consumers have been harmed by a violation of federal or state laws, the best option would be to file a class-action lawsuit. When filing a class-action lawsuit, you only need to know your options. Your case may end up in settlement instead of going to a trial. If you think you have been harmed more than other consumers, you may opt-out of the class action. But it would help if you considered consulting a lawyer before making the decision. The attorney can help you understand which state laws apply to your gift card. Again, your attorney understands that California law, which governs gift cards and certificates, can’t be waived. It would be best if you looked for that lawyer who understands the California law that prohibits the expiration date concerning gift cards and certificates.