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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Casey Pushes Measure to Protect Consumers
From Unfair Gift Card Practices

Washington, DC- With the holiday quickly approaching, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) made a push for the Gift Card Consumer Protection Act, a legislative measure which would end gift card expiration dates and user fees.

“Gift cards are popular holiday gifts but too often unfair practices like hidden fees and expiration dates take advantage of Pennsylvania families,” said Senator Casey. “Over time many of these cards may lose their value or may come with hidden fees. Sometimes companies on the verge of bankruptcy continue to issue cards that they can never honor. That’s simply unacceptable. Consumers deserve protection, and that is why I am supporting the Gift Card Consumer Protection Act.”

Gift cards are some of the most popular gifts but consumers sometimes face expiration dates and user fees. According to Consumer Reports surveys, a quarter of Americans who receive gift cards during the holidays have at least one lying around 10 months later. A researcher at a financial services firm estimated that consumers left $2.5 billion worth of gift-card value on the table in 2010.

The measure, introduced by Senator Dick Blumenthal (D-CT), would end deadlines and dormancy fees at any time. It would prevent companies that file for bankruptcy from selling gift cards and require them to accept and honor unredeemed gift cards. The Gift Card Consumer Protection Act would prevent consumers from buying or being stuck with a worthless gift card after a company goes out of business. The provision would also prevent loyalty, promotion, and award cards from expiring. These are cards consumers receive by redeeming credit card points or buying a certain product. Under the Gift Card Consumer Protection Act, these cards would have the same protections as gift cards.

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