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Laws govern gift card fees, expirations

Posted by: Jane Friedmann under Whistleblower Updated: December 21, 2011 - 6:13 PM
If you are buying last-minute holiday gift cards, the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office wants you to know your rights.
Under state law, Minnesota consumers do not have to pay service or dormancy fees to use most gift cards unless the card goes unused for at least a year. Service fees must be clearly disclosed on the card. Expiration dates are not allowed in most circumstances.
Some exceptions under state law are for promotional or loyalty cards and some bank- or employer-issued cards.
The exceptions are governed by federal law that forbids expiration dates of less than five years from the date of issuance or last loading of funds. The federal law doesn't apply to gift cards and certificates that are issued only in paper form.
Be aware that if a company goes out of business or your card is lost or stolen, you’ve likely lost your money.

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