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Congress extends implementation date of final rule governing gift cards

BY CSA STAFF

By David S. Almeida, [email protected]

As a previous Chain Store Age guest commentary from May 7, 2010 outlined (available here), the Federal Reserve Board recently issued new federal regulations governing the provision of retail gift cards.

Specifically, the new rules amend Regulation E of The Electronic Fund Transfer Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1693, et seq., which, in conjunction with the recently promulgated Credit Card Accountability and Responsibility Disclosure Act of 2009 (the “CARD Act”), requires greater transparency for retailers seeking to impose fees (such as dormancy fees for non-use) and/or expiration dates on users of gift cards. The new Rules, originally slated to take effect on August 22, 2010, apply to both retail cards sold for store credit and cards issued through loyalty or other reward programs.

On July 27, 2010, the ECO-Gift CARD Act became public law after the House passed it unanimously on June 14, 2010, and the Senate passed it by unanimous consent on July 13, 2010. The ECO-Gift CARD Act extends the gift card implementation deadline under the CARD Act from August 22 to January 31, 2011. This extension allows retailers to sell existing gift cards that were produced prior to April 1, 2010, and ensures consumer access to them during the busy holiday shopping season. The Network Branded Prepaid Card Association had sought the delay, arguing that the Rules’ requirements regarding the display of expiration dates would result in more than a hundred million gift cards having to being scrapped.

The extension of the effective date for the Rules is conditioned upon the requirement that gift certificate and card issuers comply with the dormancy, inactivity and service fee restrictions set forth in the CARD Act. Consumers who purchase old gift card stock currently in stores during this transition period must still receive the full benefits of the new Rules, including:

  • No service fees such as ATM or reload fees until one year after inactivity and then only one fee may be charged per month;
  • Gift cards must have expiration dates of not less than five years from the last load; and
  • Free replacement cards must be provided or issuers can provide the remaining balance to the cardholder.

These conditions must be disclosed to consumers via in-store signage, messages during customer service calls, on websites and in all general advertising. Compliance with these notice requirements must continue through January 31, 2013.

Due to the ECO-Gift CARD Act, the destruction and reprinting of cards that do not meet the CARD Act’s original Aug. 22 deadline need not occur. Rather, these cards may be used until January 31, 2011, provided the aforementioned conditions are met. Finally, retailers should be aware that the other gift card requirements established by the Federal Reserve, per the CARD Act, will still go into effect August 22 as originally planned.

David S. Almeida is a partner in the Litigation Practice Group at Michael Best & Friedrich LLP’s Chicago office and a member of Michael Best’s Class Action/ Multi-District Litigation Team. He can be reached at [email protected].

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M.Misiek says:
Jan-21-2013 03:24 pm

Due to the ECO-Gift CARD Act, the destruction and reprinting of cards that do not meet the CARD Act’s original Aug. 22 deadline need not occur. Rather, these cards may be used until January 31, 2011, provided the aforementioned conditions are met. Finally, retailers should be aware that the other gift card requirements established by the Federal Reserve, per the CARD Act, will still go into effect August 22 as originally planned. Usługi transportowe Wrocław darmowe kamerki filmy romantyczne kurs bhp warszawa magda gessler katalog stron psycholog łódź kuchnie na wymiar poznań repliki zegarków

M.Misiek says:
Jan-21-2013 03:24 pm

Due to the ECO-Gift CARD Act, the destruction and reprinting of cards that do not meet the CARD Act’s original Aug. 22 deadline need not occur. Rather, these cards may be used until January 31, 2011, provided the aforementioned conditions are met. Finally, retailers should be aware that the other gift card requirements established by the Federal Reserve, per the CARD Act, will still go into effect August 22 as originally planned. Usługi transportowe Wrocław darmowe kamerki filmy romantyczne kurs bhp warszawa magda gessler katalog stron psycholog łódź kuchnie na wymiar poznań repliki zegarków

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Best Buy launches video-game trade-in service

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS Best Buy announced that it has launched a video-game trade-in service in nearly 600 stores.

“The expansion of our trade-in program reaffirms our commitment to consistently pursue new ways to bring a better gaming experience to consumers,” said Chris Homeister, SVP and general manager for the home entertainment group at Best Buy. “Fall marks the launch of several highly-anticipated gaming titles and new technology, and we’re thrilled to provide gamers with innovative ways to connect with the games they love.”

Consumers can now bring their previously played video games into Best Buy and trade them for an instant Best Buy gift card to use for purchasing anything in the store, including any game or gaming accessory. Soon, they will be able to purchase a pre-owned game as well, the company reported.

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Target launches customizable ad server

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS Target has announced the launch of “My TargetWeekly,”a new customizable version of its popular online weekly ad. With My TargetWeekly, guests can create customized views and deal alerts to learn when their favorite items are on sale, the company reported. They also can view coupons, see top 10 deals, share via Facebook and Twitter and create their own customized mobile shopping lists for their next visit in-store or online.

“We are excited to provide our guests with yet another innovation to simplify their lives and improve their shopping experience,” said Steve Eastman, president of Target.com. “As the only retailer offering this technology, we are proud to give our guests more ways to make the most of their dollar, which helps us deliver on our ‘Expect More. Pay Less.’ brand promise.”

 

My TargetWeekly can also be found on the Target Facebook fan page and guests can share products and shopping experiences with friends to create smart recommendations. The more guests “love” a product, the smarter the recommendation engine becomes, the company said.

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