Coupons in california dont expire

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Complete my profile. Similarly, "solely for admission to events or venues" is a very narrow exception limited to tickets and the like. If you think you might qualify, grab yourself a venti caffeinated beverage, read the Final Rule and then consult your legal council. Otherwise, read on and then do the same. This is also a very narrow exception. The official comments explain, "the sole means of issuing the card, code or other device must be in paper form. In fact, one of the comments seems to speak directly to users of the BoomTime services.

Our platform creates a private labeled gift certificate that end users can purchase online, or at retailer's physical location in paper form.

They Accept Expired Store Coupons

It generates an image and secure barcode that can be printed or emailed to a purchaser or gift recipient. The comment states that the exclusion does not apply because the gift certificate was "issued to the consumer in electronic form even though it can be reproduced or otherwise printed on paper by the consumer. One may argue that our retail gift certificates, which are "issued to the consumer" at retail in paper form are excluded. However, the examples given of certificates that do meet the exclusion are cases where the gift certificates are not available in any form other than paper, like a prepaid parking code or ticket from a fuel pump good for a car wash.

This is a potentially large exclusion. The official staff comment to the Final Rule provides seven examples of programs excluded as loyalty, awards or promos. The summary of the Final Rule, explaining the history of the comments regarding this exclusion yes, it really is that complicated states that the commenters agreed with the proposed examples because they apply even if consumers have paid for or otherwise exchanged value for the certificates or cards.

Of the seven examples its Paragraph 20 a 4 to the official staff comment if you are hungry for details the first two and number seven are the most likely to apply to small and independent retailers. They are:. Consumer retention programs operated or administered by a merchant or other person that provide to consumers cards or coupons redeemable for or towards goods or services or other monetary value as a reward for purchases made or for visits to the participating merchant;.

Sales promotions operated or administered by a merchant or product manufacturer that provide coupons or discounts redeemable for or towards goods or services or other monetary value. Charitable or community relations programs through which a company provides cards redeemable for or towards goods or services or other monetary value to a charity or community group for their fundraising purposes, for example, as a reward for a donation or as a prize in a charitable event. Number seven is for cards provided to a charity or community group.

Nice that they are exempt from the federal law but not helpful to small businesses trying to control their long-term liabilities. So now you have read the examples from the official comments to the Final Rule to the Card Act, but if you are a normal person you may still be wondering; is my gift certificate exempt? Most small businesses participate in customer rewards programs and sales promotions. If you run legit promotions that fit these descriptions, gift cards and gift certificates issued under such programs may qualify and thereby be excluded from the substantive expiration requirements of the Card Act if they also meet the disclosure requirements.

In order to qualify for this exemption the Final Rule requires you to disclose on the front of the gift card or gift certificate that it is issued for loyalty, award or promotional reason; provide a toll-free phone number and, "if one is maintained" website. While it is crazy to require small businesses to maintain a toll-free number, the Board was very reasonable about implementing this disclosure. The real reason for the toll free number and website is so consumers can get fee information about their card.

Comment 20 a 4 -3 says if you aren't charging fees, you do not need the toll-free number or website to be disclosed on your gift certificate. Generally financial organizations and big gift card issuers charge non-use or dormancy fees so it makes sense that businesses who don't charge them don't need to maintain a toll-free number. The bottom line is that the Final Rule permits exemption of certificates or cards that are for retention, reward or sales promotions as defined above so long as they are clearly marked as such.

The comment even gives examples; "Reward" or "Promotional" is appropriate language. So we know what needs to be disclosed and how to say it.

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The last question is what does it need to look like. The Final Rule states that all disclosures must be "clear and conspicuous" meaning "readily understandable" and "the location and type size are readily noticeable to consumers. Reality Check: We are well over 2, words here and are still not sure when we can expire our gift cards and certificates. So let's go back to our algorithm. If your gift certificate does not meet the Final Rule's definitions, we go to state law. If it does meet the definitions but there is an exception, we go to state law.

If we determine that our gift card or certificate is subject to the new law, what is the permitted expiration? It still depends, this time on your state's law and federal preemption. The Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution generally allows federal law to preempt state law where there is a conflict. However, the Card Act's core purpose is to provide consumer protection. So the Card Act expressly preempts state laws only when they are inconsistent with its protections and only to the extent of the inconsistency.

Therefore, if you sell a gift certificate that has a dollar value and is not subject to one of the seven statutory exceptions, it is subject to the Card Act's five-year minimum expiration date. However, if your state law has a seven-year minimum, your gift certificate still cannot expire before the seven years. If you are in one of the states, like California and Florida that do not allow gift certificates to expire at all your gift cards may not be expired.

It's worth noting that states like California makes it unlawful to sell one with an expiration date on it at all. Thus, the new law is a floor, not a ceiling. For example, a gift card has an expiration date printed on it that is hard to change. Gift certificates generated electronically offer a lot more flexibility. So, the Final Rule says that we can't issue gift certificates or store gift cards unless the underlying funds do not expire for at least five years.

What does that mean? It's in the Final Rule because a card may have an expiration date before the five-year minimum and the Board wants consumers to get at least 60 months to use their funds without being confused. So, if your card expires less than five years before the funds expire, you have to say so on the card and the Final Rule gives some examples of acceptable ways to do so. In one of the most confusing parts of the Final Rule the Board states that issuers or sellers of gift certificates or cards are required to adopt policies and procedures to ensure that a consumer will have a reasonable opportunity to purchase a gift certificate or gift card with at least five years remaining until the certificate or card expiration date.

This means, to avoid confusing consumers, issuers must make cards or certificates available that do not have expiration dates less than five years, even if the underlying funds are good for five years. The explanation to the comments describe why and how to comply. The comments are as confusing as the confusion they are trying to avoid.

However, it should not really matter to those of us who either sell or help small businesses sell gift certificates and store gift cards. If your gift card or certificate meets the Card Act's statutory definition of a gift certificate or store gift card as interpreted by the Final Rule , and does not qualify for a statutory exception, your expiration date and your underlying funds should be the longer of five years or what is required by state law.

What is state law? That should be easy, but you may not feel that way. There are fifty states plus territories like Guam and Puerto Rico. Some of them are wackier than others in terms of their gift card laws. There are at least 10 states that do not permit gift cards or certificates to expire.

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There are several more that require valid terms of greater than 60 months. How do they feel about underlying funds?

The Stores That Accept Expired Coupons (and Restaurants Too)

Good question. There may not be 50 different answers but its likely more than two. The big question is; how will your state handle underlying funds. Some states like Arkansas for example use a definition that generally tracks that of the Card Act.

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Therefore an "experience" or service gift certificate sold without a dollar or specific amount on its face may not subject to the Arkansas gift card law. The Card Act states clearly that there is no requirement to replace gift cards or certificates that are lost or stolen. Prior to Disclosures: One of the simple but important requirements of the law it to mandate that if a gift card or certificate or underlying funds expire that fact must be disclosed "prior to purchase" of such card.

Of particular interest to those of us involved in selling instant gift certificates and gift cards online is the requirement that for certificates or cards purchased via the web, disclosures can be made after a consumer has started an online purchase of a certificate or card, but before the purchase is consummated. However, simply posting such disclosures on an issuer's website that need not be accessed during the purchase process will not satisfy the prior-to-purchase requirement.

In a nutshell addresses cards produced before April 1, that are not compliant with the new law's requirements of disclosure prior to purchase, fee disclosures, the requirement of reasonable opportunity to purchase one with at least 5 yrs left, disclosure of underlying funds expiration and the disclosure on the card of a toll-free number and website and other fee disclosures.

The amendment lets issuers continue to sell those non-compliant cards through January 31, if they, otherwise comply with the Card Act, do not expire the underlying funds ever , don't charge any fees, and provide signage, oral and electronic notice regarding the accessibility to those funds for up to two years after the January 31, date. If you are still reading this the ship has sailed for this amendment.

Do ‘No Expiration Date’ Coupons Ever Expire?

If you are selling dollar valued gift certificates or gift cards that do not qualify for the promotional, loyalty exemption, you only need one expiration date, which must be the greater of five years or your state's minimum term. If you are selling a "service," or experience gift card or certificate, consider having two dates; a reasonable time frame during which you will honor the card or certificate for the service on the face and then your state's minimum for the underlying funds.

The funds part could say "Funds valid until [date]". If you have a qualified promotional program where the purchaser buys a gift as part of a sales promotion, or receives it as some kind of award let those gift certificates or gift cards can expire in some reasonable time but make the funds available for your state's minimum term. If you give a certificate away, set the term to whatever you like so long as it complies with state law. You don't want to be foolish in what you offer your customers. Good practice is to set a reasonable expiration date and generally honor expired gift certificates in a reasonable way.

That way you can manage your liability, but provide great customer service. Always be confident that you are compliant with state law and use tools and vendors that give you the flexibility to do so. Anyone selling gift cards or gift certificate should take a good hard look at their entire program. A great start is a review of your state law. It is probably worth engaging counsel unless you have the time and background for understanding statutes and how they have been interpreted. Specifically, you need to know if your state law is more or less restrictive than the new federal law and if it imposes other substantive requirements. For example, some states require some gift cards to be redeemable in cash under certain circumstances. Some state set minimum terms for gift cards given away with no exchange of value.

These are the kinds of details you need to understand to make your gift program comply with the law and work for you. As discussed above, if your state law is more restrictive requires longer terms than the Card Act, it probably does not affect you that much. If it is less restrictive, that's good, but you have to do some real analysis and strategic planning. If all you are selling is dollar denominated gift cards, you might consider selling "experience" or service denominated cards or gift certificates. They are exempted from the Card Act and therefore expire as required by state law.

Again, understanding your state law is critical.