CARSON CITY — A bill that would ban expiration dates on gift cards sold in Nevada would save residents their money and put the state on the same consumer-friendly playing field as eight other states, a legislative panel was told Monday.
“Hard-working Nevadans should have common-sense consumer protections in place,” said Assemblyman William McCurdy II, D-Las Vegas.
McCurdy said a 2009 federal law prohibited the expiration of gift cards for five years. But several states, including California and Washington, have banned expiration dates.
Assembly Bill 287 is a logical measure for Nevada residents who may put the cards in a drawer and forget about them, he told the Assembly Judiciary Committee.
Christina Tetreault, an attorney with the Consumers Union’s Financial Services Program, testified in support of the bill by telephone. She said the federal act solved many consumer concerns with gift cards, but there is no prohibition on states enacting more restrictive laws.
She said data shows that millions of consumers have at least one unused gift card. An estimated $1 billion of gift cards are left unredeemed each year, Tetreault said.
“Cash doesn’t expire, and neither should a gift card,” she said.
There was no other public testimony on the bill, but the Henderson Chamber of Commerce submitted a letter in support.
No immediate action was taken on the bill.
Contact Sean Whaley at email@example.com or 775-461-3820. Follow @seanw801 on Twitter.
Highlights of the 2009 federal gift card law:
- Money on a gift card cannot expire for at least five years from the date the card was purchased, or from the last date any additional money was loaded onto the card. If the expiration date listed on the card is earlier than these dates, the money can be transferred to a replacement card at no cost.
- Inactivity fees can be charged only after a card hasn’t been used for at least one year, and you can be charged only once per month. But you may be charged a fee to buy the card or to replace a lost or stolen card.
- The expiration date of a card must be clearly disclosed on the card, and fees must be clearly disclosed on the card or its packaging.