Ned recently wrote All Consuming to ask, “I bought gift cards at [name of upscale department store] at Christmas and tried to return them last week but was told state law prohibited gift card returns. Is this true?”
Actually, it’s not true that Washington’s law prohibits gift card returns. But most retailers have an “all sales are final” policy.
In most cases, the terms and conditions are printed on the back of the card. But if you’re unable to find them, ask. I checked the Web site of the store Ned visited and found this clause among the policies, “Gift cards may not be returned, applied as payment on any account or redeemed for cash, except where required by law.”
So what do you do with those unwanted gift cards? A number of Web sites allow you to turn them into cash. KOMO’s Herb Weisbaum reports, “If you go this route, stick with a well-known company, such as Plastic Jungle, Gift Card Granny, Cardpool, GiftCards and GiftCardRescue.” I've never tried those sites, so I can't vouch for them. Avoid auction sites, where some cards are counterfeit or stolen.
Frankly, I find it easier to simply regift. (An estimated 68 percent of people regift holiday presents, according to a tequila importer, which I can only assume conducted such a survey to get its booze in the news.)
Since Washington’s law states that store gift cards can’t expire, Ned may want to just hold onto them until next Christmas, Mom's Day or Administrative Professionals’ Day (the politically correct term for that helpful person who answers your phone calls and
fills your coffee cup places your grande vanilla latte order). In case you’re interested, Ned, my birthday is in October.
And don’t forget that some gift cards can be used at more than one place because they’re owned by the same parent company. For example, Pottery Barn cards can be used at Williams-Sonoma or vice-versa. Ditto for the Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy and Piperlime.
It’s also worth noting that Washington’s gift card law allows you to cash out when the balance drops to $5 or less. A news reporter recently asked me about the law after a movie-goer complained the theater refused to allow her to receive the remaining money on a gift card. The theater employee said there was just no possible way. To that, I say the theater employee needs to figure out a way to open the cash register -- with or without butter -- and give the change to the customer.
While we’re on the topic, let’s take Henry’s question. He recently asked, “How can Groupon offer expiring certificates? Their offers clearly aren't coming from VISA/Mastercard or a charitable or financial institution.”
I’m a frequent shopper on discount coupon sites like Groupon, LivingSocial and Restaurant.com, so Henry’s question made me curious. [UPDATE: I figured I better add a disclaimer here that I'm not an attorney so I can't provide any legal analysis and this isn't the right venue for that anyway.] But I checked out the terms and conditions on Groupon’s Web site. (Anyone note a recurring theme here? Read the terms.) I found this:
“While the expiration date on the Voucher dictates the last date that you can use your Voucher at Merchant for the promotional offer stated on the Groupon, applicable law may provide that the Merchant is responsible for honoring the cash value that you paid for your Voucher for a period of time beyond the expiration date stated on the Voucher. In other words, you should be allowed to redeem the cash value (or purchase price) of your Voucher up until the greater of: (1) the Voucher’s expiration date; or (2) the minimum length of time allowed by applicable law for a Voucher to expire.”
Although Henry doesn't specifically ask this, I might as well add that I can't address the issue of redeeming a discounted certificate for an oil change, massage or fondue dinner for face value versus purchase price. That's a question for lawyers and courts.
Speaking of laws that don't allow expiration dates, there's a little exception in our law for artistic and cultural organizations, though, so use those quickly. And really, you shouldn’t wait forever …
A year ago, I issued a consumer alert that KB Toys gift cards were expiring because the 87-year-old company was liquidating its stores. Cathy apparently missed that warning because she posted a comment last month asking if she could use hers. She bought it at a CVS pharmacy, which we don't have in Washington state. I don’t have a definite answer, but my hunch is Cathy is out of luck. Toys R Us now owns the KB Toys brand. But when a company files for bankruptcy, it’s up to the court to decide which financial obligations are honored and that decision was made long ago.
If you're told a card or certificate is expired, speak up. One of our consumer protection attorneys recently called the number on the back of a store gift card to check the balance. She said, "The electronic response said it was expired. I pushed to talk with a customer rep and they immediately offered to renew it. Amazing."
So, to recap, here’s the lowdown on merchant-issued gift cards and gift certificates in Washington:
- They don’t expire. If you're told the card or certificate is expired, talk to customer service or a manager. But if a company is out of business, that's another story.
- They don’t usually accrue fees. However, a merchant can charge a minor inactivity fee if you have less than $5 remaining on a card and you haven’t made a purchase within the past two years, checked your balance or added to the card’s value.
- Once your gift card balance goes below $5, you have the right to redeem the balance for cash.
- The law doesn’t give you the right to return an unused gift certificate or card you bought, nor does it prohibit a retailer from allowing you to do so. In other words, it’s up to the business to set its own return policy.
The state law doesn’t apply to rebate cards, promo cards or those purchased at a charity event. General-purpose cards issued by Visa, Mastercard, American Express or Discover aren’t covered either.
Posted by Kristin Alexander All Consuming Blog Moderator at 01/10/2011 04:23:01 PM |
|Is there anything in Washington law that prohibits retailers from a "one-gift-card-per-purchase" policy? I received three $25 gift cards to an upscale department store and wanted to dispense all three on an $80 shirt, but received notice that I can only use gift card per purchase! This essentially means that to maximize the value of my gift cards (i.e. to minimize by cash outlays) I can only purchase socks.|
Posted by: Dan Youngblut ( Email ) at 3/15/2011 12:06 PM
|Hi Dan -- Washington's gift card doesn't address the issue of multiple cards used for a purchase. Personally, I've used multiple gift cards for a single purchase at several department stores. Check the terms and conditions that come with your gift card. If you don't see that restriction among the terms, then I suggest bringing up the issue to the store's corporate headquarters or management. Another thought: Will they let you combine the cards in advance? For example, if you brought in two $25 cards, could you swap them for a single $50 card?|
Posted by: KRISTIN ALEXANDER, ALL CONSUMING MODERATOR ( Email ) at 3/17/2011 1:51 PM
|I purchased some products from Sally Foster. The items that I purchased were not avail so they sent me 2 vouchers for $39. plus free shipping. When I went to use the vouchers they said they expired. They do say in the legal area that they expire May, 1, 2010. Isn't that unlawful? Don't they have to refund me they can't just take my money... Please help! [ALL CONSUMING MODERATOR’S RESPONSE: I admit that I had never heard of Sally Foster, so I had to check out the Web site. It appears the company sells items for fundraisers. Under Washington’s Gift Card Law, certificates DONATED to a charity and used for fundraising activities may expire. I’ll also note that gift cards/certificates given as refunds for returned items may expire. Do either of those situations apply to you? I suggest you consider filing a consumer complaint with our office if you are unable to resolve your dispute with the company.]|
Posted by: Elise Quinn ( Email ) at 4/19/2011 11:30 AM
|two problem; I purchased two GO Cards from Crystal Mountain for 2011 lift tickets that were "pre-loaded" with $250 worth of lift tickets. I understood that I could transfer the value to another person, but when I went to do that I was told no. I also tried to use them in late April "after their season ended" this year and was denied the value of these cards. Am I out of luck? I just went to their web site and found this information:|
" When you purchase a ticket at any of our ticket windows you’ll receive YOUR RELOADABLE lift access GO Card. For subsequent ticket purchases you can go online and reload a discounted ticket onto your GO Card.
You can also reload at the ticket window but in order to recieve the $5 discount you must reload online.
Carry only ONE GO card.
Go Cards and tickets you load are non-refundable.
Go Card tickets you load during the regular winter season expire April 17, 2011."
They told me "too bad" you loaded too much money on those and never used them, but they are worthless now". Well I loaded them with money to purchase a service I never received, how can this be right? [ALL CONSUMING MODERATOR'S RESPONSE: I don't know enough about the GO Card to know whether it is considered a gift card under Washington's law. Your question is specific and therefore, I suggest you file a complaint with our Consumer Resource Center and request informal mediation. Thanks.]
Posted by: Rhett Russell ( Email ) at 7/10/2011 10:22 PM
|While I can understand why businesses have some limits and restrictions on gift cards, to me, by doing so without making the public at large aware, is not good business. |
I was hassled about a gift card last year. I said fine, left the store -- never to shop there again.
[ALL CONSUMING RESPONSE: Your comment baffles me. How exactly were you "hassled."? Your account makes me wonder if this is just comment spam.]
Posted by: CED ( Email ) at 7/12/2011 6:21 AM
|My husband and I recently purchased a pack of Cinetopia Cine Saver cards. These cards are basically certificates for a movie, you pay 10.50 for each card (25 cards in total) and you trade them in for a ticket when you want to see a movie. I fail to see the difference between these cards and gift certificates, especially since you can hand them out to friends and anyone can use them. Well, they stamped each card with an expiration date out to one year. I asked the manager when she handed them to me about the Washington Gift Certificate law and she said that it only applies to gift certificates. I was confused because I just payed over $260 dollars for movie tickets and she was telling me they expire!? Isn't that wrong? Just because they don't call the card a gift certificate or gift card doesn't mean it isn't one, right? [ALL CONSUMING - Hi Mary -- I can't give you a legal opinion. Please file a consumer complaint if you wish to mediate the issue. Thanks.]|
Posted by: Mary Kelly ( Email ) at 7/24/2011 7:10 PM
|I am the owner of a massage clinic and in the process of selling. There are a number of outstanding gift certificates that am unsure of how to deal with. Can i put a notice to our clients to redeem gift certificates asap, as the business is selling, or do the certificates expire at the sale? Are these certificates good forever or eventually can expire? My problem is that massage certificates are often bought for use with a specific therapist, and if those certificates were brought in to new ownership, clients may be unhappy. I am just at a loss as to how to handle this outstanding business issue. [ALL CONSUMING MODERATOR'S RESPONSE - Hi Sara - I can't give you legal advice. Please check with your attorney. This may be an issue you address as part of your sales agreement.]|
Posted by: sara ( Email ) at 7/24/2011 10:28 PM
|When using gift cards at Bath & Body Works at Northgate Mall in Seattle I have only once been successful when asking for my less than $5 balance back in cash. Several other times I've been told it isn't possible and just last month was told they only give cash back if it's less than $1.50. I've called their customer service line- they are apologetic and familiar with WA state laws, assuring me it will be looked into but I run into the same issue again and again. Same deal at Barnes & Noble this summer as well. Your suggestions for when this next happens would be appreciated. [ALL CONSUMING BLOG MODERATOR'S RESPONSE: Thank you for taking the time to read the All Consuming blog and comment on the post about gift cards. I have also had this problem with some retailers. My suggestion (I must disclose that I’m not an attorney and this is not legal advice) is to politely ask for a manager. If the manager is unable to help finish your transaction and stop by the customer service desk on the way out. Again, politely explain, mentioning that RCW 19.240 states “If after the purchase the remaining value of the gift certificate is less than five dollars, the gift certificate must be redeemable in cash for its remaining value on demand of the bearer.” In fact, I printed out a copy of the law and carry it in my purse. Remember, the state law doesn’t apply to rebate cards, promo cards or those purchased at a charity event. General-purpose cards issued by Visa, Mastercard, American Express or Discover aren’t covered either.]|
Posted by: Shawn ( Email ) at 8/31/2011 12:49 AM
|I was just reading the ladies post about the massage vouchers. Surely she must keep records such as voucher numbers and the buyers e-mail address. Would it not be an easy enough task to contact these people and offer them a choice of a refund. |
If you had a record of vouchers issued and redeemed then would it not be possible to come to arrangement with the new buyer.
I have always found it best policy to place an expiry on vouchers to ensure they get used relatively quickly.
Posted by: Clive Merrick ( Email ) at 9/17/2011 6:51 AM
|I want to offer a special during December: Purchase $X in services or Y number of gift cards and get a free massage. May I place an expiration date on the free massages? [ALL CONSUMING MODERATOR'S RESPONSE: You should contact a private attorney to review the law and advise you about rules and regulations that may apply to your situation.]|
Posted by: Nancy Allen ( Email ) at 10/26/2011 1:53 PM
|I recieved a gift certificate for my birthday from a friend that purchased it with cash from a local nail salon. I went in today for pedicure and gave them the gift certificate, they said it expired, only good for 1 year. I was under the impression that gift certificates that were purchased could not expire in the state of WA, am I wrong? I understand that if you donated to an organization that you can put an expiration, but if it is purchased by consumer to use or give as a gift??? [ALL CONSUMING MODERATOR'S RESPONSE: You should file a complaint with our Consumer Protection Division at: https://fortress.wa.gov/atg/formhandler/ago/ComplaintForm.aspx |
This will allow the Consumer Protection Division staff to get all of the appropriate information they need and allow them to more efficiently handle your consumer complaint.]
Posted by: Heidi Churchill ( Email ) at 4/27/2012 3:31 PM
|I received 2 gift cards as a holiday gift for The Local Vine wine bar (U-Village and Capitol Hill) in the amount of $100. The businesses just closed without warning/notice. Am I out my gift? [ALL CONSUMING MODERATOR'S RESPONSE: Yes unfortunately. The gift card is only good for as long as the business is open. If a business closes or is sold the gift card is voided, (although if sold the new owner can accept them as a customer service/goodwill gesture).]|
Posted by: Bridget ( Email ) at 8/1/2012 4:52 PM
|I won a fundraising bid at the Grand Cinema auction a while back which included free Grand Cinema entry tickets, free popcorn and a $25 voucher to the HUB restaurant. They had expiration dates that have passed. I paid $65 for the auction package. i tried to redeem them recently and was denied. what is my recourse?|
[ALL CONSUMING MODERATOR'S RESPONSE: Washington’s gift card statute covers gift certificates that are purchased at charity auctions and specifically states that they may have an expiration date. Please see portions from relevant statutes: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=19.240.030 . Sorry, I think you are out of luck.]
Posted by: Cindy ( Email ) at 11/26/2012 10:55 AM
|I went out on Black Friday and stood in line for over 3 hours to purchase an IPOD for my daughter with this purchase you received a $50 promotional gift card. Awesome deal right?? Well I thought so until I went to use it and was told that it has expired. You only had 2 months to use the gift card, and the card wasn't activated when you first purchased it you had to wait 6 hours. I called Toy's R Us and they told me there was nothing they could do about it and I was out $50 dollars. Who in this economy can afford to loose $50, I know I can't. So Thank you to Toy's R Us for making my children suffer & lose out on gifts. I work a full time job 5 days a week 9 hr days, with a part-time job 3 days a week while raising 2 kids. Has anyone else had this expeirence and what can be done about it???|
Posted by: Tonya ( Email ) at 12/9/2012 8:05 AM
|I received a gift certificate for a stated value rather than for specific goods or services. About a month ago I made an appointment and went to the business to redeem the gift certificate. I was told the business had been sold and the new owner was not responsible for honoring my certificate, but she would be willing to work with me. The glitch was that I could only redeem the value of the certificate for services she personally provided, not any other service available at her store. Since I could not use the service she provided, I asked if I could be provided with product, she declined that also. She said she would check with her attorney to see what her liabilities were and would get back to me soon.|
My question is this - if the new owner of the business that the certificate was bought from still has the same name, same location, same website and same telephone number - shouldn't the certificate be honored as if nothing has changed? No customer walking into the business would notice any difference between before and after. There are also no disclaimers posted anywhere making anyone aware of these changes. In addition, my certificate expired while I have been patiently waiting for her response; she was aware of the upcoming expiration date. Am I correct to believe I should receive goods or services because there are no obvious material changes to the business as far as the consumer is concerned? Do I have any recourse? [ALL CONSUMING MODERATOR'S RESPONSE: The basic question is whether the new owner of a business must honor the gift certificates issued by the prior owner. I can’t answer that question without knowing more about the acquisition of the business and the terms of the acquisition. Generally, gift certificates in Washington don’t expire so IF the new owner must honor the gift certificate then the expiration date may not be valid. You should contact a private attorney to determine whether you have any recourse.]
Posted by: M ( Email ) at 12/24/2012 1:43 AM
|Appreciate the information, it’s good to know.|
Posted by: Gad subone ( Email ) at 5/28/2013 4:58 AM
|I purchased a ticket on southwest airlines. The price dropped, so I was able to change my ticket for free to get a refund. However, they just give us a credit on the site and claim that we have to use it within one year or it will expire. Can they hold us to a 1 year expiration, or are they required to honor it beyond that one year period? [ALL CONSUMING MODERATOR'S RESPONSE: Generally businesses can set their own return/refund policies and will include a time limit on “in-store” credits or vouchers. You may want to contact SouthWest Airlines and ask for their specific policy regarding credits and if there are any other options available to them. If you are not able to find an answer, file a complaint with our office using our online compliant form at www.atg.wa.gov.]|
Posted by: Aaron ( Email ) at 6/18/2013 9:47 PM
|I won a gift certificate from a fundraising event in 2007 ant it expired in 2008. I wanted to double check before I throw away the certificate if it can be used at all. I live in Massachusetts. Thanks in advance. Mel|
Blog Post Manager Comment (KD): Washington State law on gift certificate usage can vary from Massachusetts law. I strongly suggest that you reach out to the Massachusetts AG office to determine if your certificate is still valid.
Posted by: Mel ( Email ) at 10/21/2013 7:41 PM
|I was given a gift certificate for a restaurant that says that the entire amount has to be used in one visit. Is that permissible? Or should the restaurant return the balance of what I don't use, so that I can visit the restaurant and use it at a later time?|
Blog Post Manager Comment (KD): Washington’s gift card law states that store gift cards can’t expire and the law also allows consumers to cash out when the balance drops to $5 or less. The right to cash out would allow you to return to the restaurant at a later time to use the remaining balance.
Posted by: Sarah Johnson ( Email ) at 12/19/2013 6:45 PM
|Consumer beware! I had assumed a gift certificate I received was protected under Washington state law, it turns out that American Express named it a "Prepaid Reward" card. It was $10, foolish me, I held it and they drained it dry via $2 fees per month. I called them to question it via the Washington law, only to find out that they clearly created this "card" type to avoid the law. They held the line and would not budge. It would be nice if the Attorney General closed this loop hole.|
AGO Blog Comment Manager (lw): You input is well-taken. For the time being, we encourage consumers, as you are now, to be aware of the fees associated with prepaid cards whether before purchase or after receipt and also realize they differ significantly from gift cards.”
Posted by: Robert ( Email ) at 12/24/2013 5:13 PM
|I purchased a gift certificate from a local nail salon in November 2012 for my sister. She misplaced it and found it last week. On the certificate it states that it expires in six months. Is that legal? I thought it was illegal to put an expiration date on any certificates in the State of Washington.|
AGO Blog Comment Manager (lw): Washington’s gift card law states that store gift cards can’t expire and the law also allows consumers to cash out when the balance drops to $5 or less. Please contact our Consumer Protection Division at 800-551-4636 between 10:00 am - 3:00 pm to determine exactly what type of gift card versus gift certificate you have.
Posted by: Sylvia ( Email ) at 12/26/2013 6:03 PM
|I purchased a buy 10 get 2 free tanning package at tropical tan in WA State. I used 8 of the 12 tans in 1 year, but when I tried to use 9 after 1 year, they told me they had expired. Is it legal for them to expire a specific quantity purchase? It is not a gift card or a yearly subscription, it was 12 VISITS. I signed nothing, and recall no mention of 1 year expiration when I bought them, they simply charged my credit card and tracked them on their system under my name, and of course never mentioned they were expiring soon during my recent visits. After calling them, they offered to add back on 2 visits or only 1/2 of my "expired" session.|
AGO Blog Manager Comment (lw): Please contact our Consumer Protection Division at 800-551-4636 between 10 am and 3 pm
Posted by: Michael ( Email ) at 2/21/2014 1:02 PM
|I had prepaid for a package at Desert Sun for over $300. After a skin cancer scare, I cancelled my membership and was told that the unused monies would stay on the account, but are not refundable (it is in the contract as well). I know my company has to escheat monies to the state after a certain time period, on a cancelled account. What are the rules for a prepaid tanning package?|
AGO Blog Comment Manager (lw): Please contact our Consumer Protection Division at 800-551-4636 between 10 am and 3 pm Monday-Friday for more information
Posted by: kate ( Email ) at 6/18/2014 8:07 AM
|I have a balance of $61.20 on a gift certificate to the Cascade Garden Restaurant in Issaquah. New owners of the restaurant will not honor the certificate. When the new owner purchased the restaurant, did he/she not acquire liabilities as well as assets?|
Is the balance on my certificate not a liability they acquired?
AGO Blog Consumer Manager (lw): Please contact our Consumer Protection Division at 800-551-4636 between 10 and 3 pm Monday-Friday
Posted by: Elisabeth Best ( Email ) at 6/30/2014 3:36 PM
|Is it legal for a yoga studio to sell a 10 visit punch card with a usage expiration date?|
AGO Blog Comment Manager (lw): Punch cards are not the same as gift cards, they are more like a loyalty reward program so they are not subject to the same laws as gift cards and expiration dates are to the business owner's discretion.
Posted by: Maria ( Email ) at 7/31/2014 6:39 PM
|We bought a hotel certificate at a school auction. We lost the certificate and didn't track it down at the hotel until after it expired. Can a gift certificates bought at a school action have an expiration date?|
AGO blog manager (lw): Please contact our Consumer Protection division at 800-551-4636 between 10 am and 3 pm to determine if you can file a complaint in this situation.
Posted by: Eric Blazevic ( Email ) at 8/4/2014 10:57 PM
|Fabulous! Some awesome stuff you have public here. I have to confess your big effort. Keep posting more blog posts like this|
Posted by: Richard Joseph ( Email ) at 9/8/2014 12:17 AM
|I was just taxed twice by buying the Destiny Expansion Pass thru GameStop. The GameStop website, and the emailed invoice, said I purchased a download code; $35.00 plus tax. However, when I redeemed the code, I was credited only $35.00, and when I purchased the Pass, from the XBOX Marketplace, I was charged $34.99 plus tax. So, after being in contact with both GameStop and Microsoft, it seems GameStop was only selling a gift card for the amount that would cover the Destiny Expansion Pass purchase; not a direct download code. So is it legal for GameStop to charge tax on the Live Currency gift card?|
AGO Blog Manager (lk): Please contact our Consumer Protection Division at 800-551-4636 between 10 am and 3 pm for more information regarding gift card purchases.
Posted by: John Jarvis ( Email ) at 10/13/2014 9:03 PM
|I purchased a new phone through AT&T and traded in my old phone for a "Promotional Card" as is stated on the card. It has an expiration date listed but more or less sounds like an easy way around the gift card law by calling it a promotional card instead of a gift card. It's not expired and they won't accept it but I want to know how they are they able to skirt the law so easily?|
AGO Blog Comment Manager (lk): Please contact our Consumer Protection Division at 800-551-4636 between 10 am and 3 pm for information regarding your specific questions.
Posted by: Nic ( Email ) at 10/16/2014 7:40 AM
|I went to Zov's restaurant and had two $50 gift cards and one card came back with only a remaining balance of $25. I never used either card until last night and how could that be? Well they ran the gift card no. and on Jan 7th a party of 4 at their Irvine Restaurant this party used $25 one of the gift cards number. So somehow $25 was taken off their bill using one of the gift cards. They said it was run thru the machine.|
So manager at Tustin said she was sorry but nothing she could do so I asked why did they use only $25 not entire amount of $50 as the balance of bill was paid by Visa card? And from Jan to Oct why was the remaining balance of $25 not used?
So how could this be used when I had the gift card?
AGO Blog Comment Manager (lk): You can file a complaint online at www.atg.wa.gov and click on the consumer complaint icon or you can contact us directly at 800-551-4636 between 10 am and 3 pm for information regarding your specific situation.
Posted by: Beth ( Email ) at 10/16/2014 8:44 AM
|I have two gift certificates that were not redeemed from Bob the Butcher. They are current and within the listed expiration date (although I thought that there cannot be an expiration date). Unfortunately, just this past week, all of the stores were closed without warning and the email and phone number listed on the notice outside the store only says that they are closed until further notice. How can I get a refund on these certificates? or are they now as defunct as the business is?|
AGO Blog Comment Manager (lk): Please contact our Consumer Protection Division at 800-551-4636 between 10 am and 3 pm for information regarding your specific situation.
Posted by: MK Joe ( Email ) at 10/16/2014 4:00 PM
|I have a number of personally bought Starbucks pre-paid gift certificates (not cards) that are a number of years old and have long-past expiration dates on them. A local Starbucks store said they were no longer being accepted. I thought Washington law states that redemption can no longer be denied based on expiration dates of any kind. Must Starbucks honor them?|
AGO Blog Comment Manager (lw): Washington’s gift card law states that store gift cards can’t expire and the law also allows consumers to cash out when the balance drops to $5 or less. Please contact our Consumer Protection Division at 800-551-4636 between 10:00 am - 3:00 pm to determine exactly what type of gift card versus gift certificate you have
Posted by: Terry Marl ( Email ) at 10/17/2014 5:52 PM
|I have a gift card from a restaurant that was closed by board of Health and has a Cease and Desist Notice on their door. I have called, written and emailed with no response about getting my money back. Does anyone have any ideas how to go about getting money back?|
AGO Blog Comment Manager (lk): Please contact our Consumer Protection Division at 800-551-4636 between 10 am and 3 pm for information regarding your specific situation.
Posted by: Nancy Marquardt ( Email ) at 10/19/2014 5:27 AM
|My questions is about transferrability. I purchased a gift 'certificate' at a charity auction and decided i didn;t want it anymore. I wanted to sell it, i contacted the place of business and they said they would not honor it to someone else. Is this legal.?|
AGO Blog Manager (lk): The statute is unclear on this issue. If you wish to file a complaint you can file online at www.atg.wa.gov and click on consumer complaint.
Posted by: shona davis ( Email ) at 10/27/2014 6:47 PM
|As it's stated above, buying gift cards from auction sites is not a good idea. I'd rather buy gift cards from the websites you mentioned above. They are reliable and they provide a great customer experience.|
Posted by: Domain Promo ( Email ) at 12/7/2014 4:45 AM
|Bought a gift card and 3 months later company went out of business. any recourse?|
AGO Blog Comment Manager (lk): You didn't state whether the store closed due to bankruptcy but here is information published on our website. If this does not answer your question please contact our Consumer Protection at 800-551-4636 between 10 am and 3 pm. A year ago, I issued a consumer alert that KB Toys gift cards were expiring because the 87-year-old company was liquidating its stores. Cathy apparently missed that warning because she posted a comment last month asking if she could use hers. She bought it at a CVS pharmacy, which we don't have in Washington state. I don’t have a definite answer, but my hunch is Cathy is out of luck. Toys R Us now owns the KB Toys brand. But when a company files for bankruptcy, it’s up to the court to decide which financial obligations are honored and that decision was made long ago.
Posted by: Edward ( Email ) at 12/9/2014 6:50 PM
|I received a gift card for Christmas a couple years ago. I haven't used it yet and just received word that the restraunt is no longer accepting them. They said that an employee had stolen some of the paper ones and handed them out, which is under investigation, and because of this are only accepting them with a receipt. Can they do this? It doesn't seem like the customer should be liable. |
AGO Blog Comment Manager (lk): Please contact our Consumer Protection Division at 800-551-4636 between 10 am and 3 pm for information regarding your specific situation.
Posted by: Travis ( Email ) at 12/14/2014 12:11 AM
|I just tried to cash out the remaining balance (under $5) at Subway & even after showing them Washington state law, they refused. They claimed that because they are a franchise, they didn't have to and I needed to contact Subway.com. Is this true/accurate? It's my belief they just didn't know how to process the transaction so they didn't want to do it.|
AGO Blog Manager (lk): Please contact our Consumer Protection Division at 800-551-4636 between 10 am and 3 pm for help with your specific situation.
Posted by: Katie ( Email ) at 12/27/2014 5:58 PM
|I was given a Cinetopia gift card for Christmas 5 years ago. Since we have recently relocated to Vancouver we are now able to use it. I think it is $25 but when I checked the balance, Cinetopia website "check your balance" could not identify the card. Do these cards expire or do they fall under the category of gift certificates? Thanks.|
AGO Blog Comment Manager (lk): Please contact our Consumer Protection Division at 800-551-4636 between 10 am and 3 pm for help with your specific question.
Posted by: kathy ( Email ) at 12/31/2014 11:01 AM
|I'm hoping you can help. I received a gift card that can be used at several different retailers at a specific shopping center (university village). They are trying to charge me dormancy fees after 12 months. Is this considered a "general purpose" card? I didn't think so, but they are saying this isn't protected by the Washington state laws because it can be redeemed at multiple retailers.|
AGO Blog Comment Manager (lk): Please contact our Consumer Protection Division at 800-551-4636 between 10 am and 3pm in regards to your specific situation.
Posted by: Allison ( Email ) at 1/10/2015 9:32 PM
|Is it true that the recipient of a gift card must be notified at the end of the year of their unclaimed property if not used?|
AGO Blog Comment Manager (lk): Gift cards do not expire. Vendors do not need to notify customers of their balance. Here is a link to the gift card law in Washington State. http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=19.240&full=true
Posted by: Diana ( Email ) at 1/22/2015 3:21 PM
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