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Gift cards are generally the absolute allowance for the business that issues the cards. Of the $110 billion in allowance cards purchased aftermost year, the analysis aggregation CEB TowerGroup estimates $1.7 billion will go unused.

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Judie Platkin of Simsbury accomplished this bounce she still had a allowance card’s aing relative, a abatement card, active to a printer she bought at Staples in 2010. She took the $50 card, now expired, to the Avon Staples, area she says the abundance banned to account it. The issuer, Visa, additionally acclaimed the cessation date and declared the agenda dead.

Isn’t Connecticut home of the never-expiring allowance agenda (and the Charter Oak)?

Yes, allowance cards and allowance certificates purchased in the accompaniment do not expire and they’re allowed to cessation fees. A abatement agenda looks like a allowance agenda but isn’t consistently advised like one. It does not accept the aforementioned accompaniment and federal safeguards because it’s advised chargeless money instead of article purchased (like a allowance card) by a consumer.

Platkin wasn’t alike abiding what she could do with hers.

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“I anticipation it alone went against a new acquirement at Staples because it says ‘Staples Rebate’ beyond the top,” she says, “but it seems that it could accept been acclimated anywhere.”

If the business that issued a now-expired allowance agenda doesn’t get the money, the accompaniment it was issued in sometimes does. Connecticut’s antecedent 2003 legislation that banned cessation additionally directed money to the accompaniment from cards bare for three years. The escheatment — which allows a accompaniment to accept buying of acreage that has no buyer — lasted two years. Now, the bare money belongs either to the agenda holder or, if unclaimed, the business that issued the card.

“The catchy allotment is to bethink who the issuer is,” says John Neumon, administrator of the accompaniment Department of Customer Protection’s artifice division. “If it’s a Connecticut business, coffer or acclaim union, it is covered by the law, but not if the issuer is federal in any way, such as a civic coffer or federally accountant acclaim union. Connecticut law there is pre-empted and federal law applies.”

Under federal law, a allowance agenda can expire bristles years from the date it was issued. Back it expires, area does the money go?

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“For a antithesis not accountable to Connecticut’s law,” says Neumon, “federal law permits fees so the issuer generally exhausts the antithesis that way. I will brainstorm a bit in that the business gets the account of the issuer administering the affairs and the issuer gets the fee.”

Fortunately, Platkin didn’t accept to anguish about that. The Bottom Line contacted Staples’ accumulated appointment and Platkin anon accustomed an email able a new agenda aural 14 business days.

The amount on the agenda did not expire, she was told, but the Visa agenda expires automatically if bare for six months. It ability not arise clear, but the cardholder can alarm a toll-free cardinal on the agenda and appeal a new one. Staples apologized for the store’s abortion to “direct [Platkin] to a added absolute conclusion.”

“Visa cards will generally accept a date on them as a aegis affection rather than as a ‘use it or lose it’ feature, but a lot of bodies adapt it as they are out the money,” says Neumon. “Even if the apparatus acclimated to pay the abatement — card, analysis or agenda — is acceptable to expire beneath accompaniment or federal law, the amount of the abatement would not be acceptable to expire unless that is acutely and clearly appear to the customer at the time of the basal purchase.”

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Platkin assuredly accustomed a abatement check, not a card, in mid-June. She cashed it immediately.

Credit/Debit Surcharges

As if it weren’t abundant to alive in a accompaniment that bans expiring allowance cards, Connecticut is additionally one of alone 10 states that does not acquiesce surcharges on acclaim cards.

The surcharges in the actual states started Jan. 27, at the retailers’ option, as allotment of a multibillion-dollar adjustment amid retailers and the credit-card companies. The surcharges compensate the merchants’ credit-card processing fees.

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A clairvoyant who asked The Bottom Line to abstain her name says she was with three accompany who accustomed pedicures at a Hartford County attach salon back one of them was told acquittal by debit agenda would accommodate a $5 surcharge.

“Is this legal?” asks the woman.

TBL is denial the name of the salon, too, because it says it does not, in fact, appeal a customs for debit-card payment. So let’s aloof say if that salon, or any business, accuse a fee for application a debit or acclaim card, it’s breaking the law in Connecticut.

The accompaniment prohibits surcharges on any payment, whether cardboard (cash), artificial (debit or acclaim card) or agenda (electronic).

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If you were wondering, Allotment 1: The added nine states that do not acquiesce credit-card surcharges are California, Colorado, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma and Texas.

If you were wondering, Allotment 2: Gas stations acutely avoid the customs law by charging a college credit-card amount than the banknote amount for fill-ups.

Don’t stop here! Read The Bottom Line blog.

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