Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline, was the lone member of the General Assembly to vote “no” on the gift-card legislation.Why? The retailer gets to use that money interest-free. If gift cards are too much of a burden for a store, then they shouldn’t sell them.
“Consumers need friendly laws, but this, in my opinion, is going too far,” Jacobs said.
“I think that it could become a nightmare for retailers,” he added. “If a retailer issues a card and they put an expiration date on there, I think people have a responsibility to spend that money in a year.”
I remember once getting a $50 gift card from Circuit City as a rebate on a large purchase I had made. Several months later, I went in to use it only to find out it had expired after three months. I was pissed, since I had been saving the card for another large purchase. And yes, there was an expiration notice on the card itself, but I hadn’t even thought to look at the fine print on a gift card.
I’m not sure this legislation would have covered my situation or not (since it was a rebate and not a cash purchase), but I’m glad it’s putting an end to the practice of screwing people out of their gift card’s purchasing power. I think the statistic is something like 17% of gift cards aren’t EVER redeemed because people lose them or forget about them or just never have a use for them. I think that alone should take care of any burden on the retailer.