New York State STOP: Before Buying Gift Cards, Read This
Grabbing a few gift cards to use as holiday gifts? Great idea! For the most part, people love to get them, but when they go to use them, that is where the gift cards can leave a bad taste in someone's mouth (hypothetically).
New York State has been at the forefront of making sure that gift cards, their use and their purchase, are as transparent as possible. Recently, New York State and the Office of Consumer Affairs made a few changes to what can happen with that gift card.
What did New York State change in regard to purchasing gift cards?
The bill that Governor Hochul signed requires that the newly purchased gift cards be valid for at least 9 years from the date of purchase. In the past, there had been retailers that tried to establish shorter expiration dates. While the change is good for the consumer, it is in your best interest to use your gift card as soon as reasonably able.
What is the other big change about the gift card fees?
The new legislation makes it so the companies cannot charge you fees to use the card or fees such as inactivity fees. The exception to this is an activation fee like there is on a pre-paid Mastercard, Visa or American Express gift card.
You can still be charged those fees when you purchase those particular items, but not other gift cards. To be clear the term gift card and gift certificate can be used here interchangeably.
When does this all go into effect? These new improved, New York State gift card rules?
The changes go into effect on December 10, 2022. If you have an issue with any gift card, you should first start with the business that it was purchased at, and ask them for assistance. Remember, treat that gift card as if it was cash, and use it as soon as you can.