Getting Stores to Comply With The New Gift Card Law

January 11, 2008

San Jose Mercury News

Victoria's other secret: new law on gift cards
By Dennis Rockstroh
Article Launched: 01/11/2008 01:37:39 AM PST


Q I received a gift card of $50 for Victoria's Secret. According to the Mercury News on Jan. 1, if you have a balance below $10 on a gift card at the time of purchase, the retailer is supposed to give you the balance of the cash back.
On Jan. 2, I made a purchase that amounted to $42.76 at the Victoria's Secret in the Great Mall in Milpitas.

They would not give me the balance of $7.24 back. They said only if I had the original receipt for the purchase of the gift card.

This was a gift card.

I do not have the receipt for the purchase of it.

I think I am owed this amount because there is nothing that I can or want to purchase for that amount in the store.

Please set this straight.

I tried talking to whomever was in charge and she still refused. She said their system was not set up for this.

Sharon Wangsness
San Jose
A There are always those who don't get the word, Sharon.

Apparently it's one of the secrets at Victoria's Secret.

I sent your complaint to Victoria's Secret about this but they have remained mum.

You're right, Sharon. On Jan. 1 a new law went into effect that says if the amount left on a gift card is less than $10, the business must give you the cash on demand.

I can understand why a company would resist this law.

Businesses made a lot of money by not giving us the money when our gift cards reached small amounts (Borders was an exception.). According

to the Consumer Federation of California, between 2005 and 2006, companies claiming millions of dollars in income from gift cards that remained unredeemed for two years after they were purchased included: $43 million for Home Depot, $43 million for Best Buy, $30 million for Limited Brands, $8 million for Nordstrom and more than $7 million for MichaelsStores.
So let's do this, Sharon.

Clip this column and take it back to Victoria's Secret.

If they still refuse to follow the law, let me know. There are ways to force compliance with the law.

Anyone else having trouble getting your money? Let me know at actionline@mercurynews.com.

Q Can you please provide a link to the rules about gift cards?

I saw a column on it last year but I cannot find the link to that column on your blog page.

I am interested in finding out if gifts cards can be redeemed for cash by law.

April Rowett
Cupertino
A Except for the under-$10 rule, April, it's up to the business to set the policy on this.

The other rules on gift cards are still in effect. You can find them at www.dca.ca.gov/publications/legal_guides/s-11.shtml

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