Gift cards may be popular holiday presents, but – if you’re not careful – you could be stuck with nothing more than a lump of coal. With that in mind, US Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) is pushing for action on the Gift Card Consumer Protection Act, which would ban all gift card expiration dates and user fees.
“It’s billions of dollars that are sometimes wasted when you have these arbitrary rules about deadlines,” Casey tells Radio PA, calling it a major & a timely issue. “It’s really an economic issue for consumers, but it’s really a broader economic issue for our larger economy.”
Consumer Reports surveys show that a quarter of Americans who receive gift cards during the holidays have at least one lying around ten months later. Casey’s office also cites a financial services firm, which found that consumers left $2.5-billion worth of gift-card value on the table in 2010.
With so much “fiscal cliff” work that must be done before the end of the calendar year, Casey says he will work to attach this language to a larger financial bill that could be on the move. If the job can’t get done during this holiday season, Casey wants to revisit the issue in 2013.
The Act, which was introduced by Sen. Dick Blumenthal (D-CT), would also bar bankrupt companies from selling gift cards, and protect consumers from being stuck with worthless cards after a company goes out of business.