Connecticut Attorney General's Office
Attorney General Announces CT Gift Card Laws To Be Restored For All Gift Cards Issued In State
March 23, 2010
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal today announced a major victory for Connecticut consumers, restoration of state laws banning expiration dates and unfair fees on all gift cards issued in the state.
Blumenthal has fought for five years to reinstate the bans after federal regulators ruled that they did not apply to gift cards issued by national banks.
The U.S. Federal Reserve today confirmed that the Credit Card Accountability and Disclosure Act (CARD Act) reinstates Connecticut’s authority to enforce its gift card laws on all cards, including those issued by national banks. The Fed’s statement is in response to Blumenthal’s specific request that the Federal Reserve confirm that state law can be enforced to protect consumers.
Blumenthal was the only state attorney general who submitted comments to the Fed on that aspect of the CARD Act
The Fed’s statement is included in new national rules for gift cards issued today.
The state will be able to enforce its gift card protections on all cards starting August 22 when the CARD Act goes into effect.
“Today marks a new era in gift cards -- ensuring basic protections against draconian deadlines and abusive fees and charges,” Blumenthal said. “No longer can gift card companies avoid state law by hiding behind friendly federal bureaucrats.
“This is a huge victory for consumers, restoring vital state laws protecting all gift card purchasers from unfair and exploitative expiration dates and fees,” Blumenthal said. “I urge Congress to make this change immediate so that consumers must not wait more months for crucial protections.
“For five years, I have fought federal regulators who cravenly kowtowed to companies seeking to unfairly confiscate consumer cash. Companies used dormancy, activation and other garbage fees, as well as expiration dates, to unfairly deprive consumers of their hard-earned dollars. Like so many schemes of the last decade, this bled consumers white with petty, underhanded junk fees for nothing.
“Under the new law taking effect August 22 -- hopefully sooner -- card values can no longer arbitrarily shrink and shrivel, fattening corporate bottom lines, while emptying consumer wallets. State law can no longer be evaded by issuing cards through national banks.
“I thank Sen. Chris Dodd for leading the fight to pass the CARD Act enabling closure of this grossly unfair loophole allowing seizure of consumers’ cash. I thank Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke for doing the right thing, and affirming that the new law restores state authority to enforce gift card laws.
“I will continue fighting for banking and credit card reform, providing a fair and level playing field and ending abuses that seriously harm consumers and the economy.”