Attorney General George Jepsen and Consumer Protection Commissioner William Rubenstein are reminding consumers that under Connecticut law, pre-paid gift cards and gift certificates sold in the state do not have an expiration date.
With the school year drawing to a close, many people are shopping for teacher appreciation and graduation gifts. Gift cards and gift certificates are popular choices and consumers should be clear about the rules that apply to what they are buying.
“Connecticut law prohibits businesses from selling gift cards or gift certificate with an expiration date or inactivity fee,” Attorney General Jepsen said. “The law prohibits gift cards and certificates that even suggest an expiration.”
State law defines gift certificates broadly to include most gift cards, pre-funded debit cards, store cards or similar records or cards. But it excludes prepaid telephone calling cards.
"This protection for consumers applies to cards that are sold by chain stores and restaurants doing business in Connecticut, as well as all locally-owned shops and eateries," Consumer Protection William Rubenstein said. "But even though gift cards and certificates may not expire, they should be used promptly."
Businesses, including those that sell gift cards and gift certificates, often close down without advance warning. When that happens, consumers may not have any opportunity to redeem the value of the gift cards or certificates. Consumers should be mindful of that risk and if the uncertainty is a concern, they should consider gift options other than gift cards or certificates.
Consumers who experience problems redeeming gift cards or gift certificates issued in Connecticut should first contact the store or business that issued the card. If unsuccessful, contact the Federal Trade Commission 1-877-FTC-HELP or the state Department of Consumer Protection (only for cards issued by Connecticut stores, restaurants and businesses).