New Gift Certificate Rules

Bed & Breakfast / Short Term Rental Host Forum

Help Support Bed & Breakfast / Short Term Rental Host Forum:

gillumhouse

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Supporting Member
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
15,767
Reaction score
418
This came this morning from WV Hospitality & Travel Association. Sharing with all of you.
[FONT= &quot]New Federal Reserve rules provide important protections when you purchase or use gift cards. Here are some key changes that apply to gift cards sold on or after August 22, 2010: [/FONT]
[FONT= &quot]Covered by the new rules [/FONT]
[FONT= &quot]Store gift cards[/FONT][FONT= &quot], which can be used only at a particular store or group of stores, such as a book store or clothing retailer. [/FONT]
[FONT= &quot]Gift cards with a MasterCard, Visa, American Express, or Discover brand logo[/FONT][FONT= &quot]. These cards generally can be used wherever the brand is accepted. (Not all cards with a brand logo are covered; see "[COLOR= #4c4c4c]Other prepaid cards[/COLOR]" below for exceptions.) [/FONT]
[FONT= &quot]New protections [/FONT]
[FONT= &quot]Limits on expiration dates. [/FONT][FONT= &quot]The money on your gift card will be good for at least five years from the date the card is purchased. Any money that might be added to the card at a later date must also be good for at least five years. [/FONT]
[FONT= &quot]Replacement cards.[/FONT][FONT= &quot] If your gift card has an expiration date you still may be able to use unspent money that is left on the card after the card expires. For example, the card may expire in five years but the money may not expire for seven. If your card expires and there is unspent money, you can request a replacement card at no charge. Check your card to see if expiration dates apply. [/FONT]
[FONT= &quot]Fees disclosed. [/FONT][FONT= &quot]All fees must be clearly disclosed on the gift card or its packaging. [/FONT]
[FONT= &quot]Limits on fees.[/FONT][FONT= &quot] Gift card fees typically are subtracted from the money on the card. Under the new rules, many gift card fees are limited. Generally, fees can be charged if [/FONT]
[FONT= &quot]
[/FONT][FONT= &quot]you haven't used your card for at least one year, and [/FONT]
[FONT= &quot]
[/FONT][FONT= &quot]you are only charged one fee per month. [/FONT]
[FONT= &quot]These restrictions apply to fees such as: [/FONT]
[FONT= &quot]
[/FONT][FONT= &quot]dormancy or inactivity fees for not using your card, [/FONT]
[FONT= &quot]
[/FONT][FONT= &quot]fees for using your card (sometimes called usage fees), [/FONT]
[FONT= &quot]
[/FONT][FONT= &quot]fees for adding money to your card, and [/FONT]
[FONT= &quot]
[/FONT][FONT= &quot]maintenance fees. [/FONT]
[FONT= &quot]You can still be charged a fee to purchase the card and certain other fees, such as a fee to replace a lost or stolen card. Make sure you read the card disclosure carefully to know what fees your card may have. [/FONT]
[FONT= &quot]Other prepaid cards[/FONT][FONT= &quot] [/FONT]
[FONT= &quot]These new rules apply only to gift cards, which are just one type of prepaid card. The new rules do not cover other types of prepaid cards, such as: [/FONT]
[FONT= &quot]Reloadable prepaid cards that are not intended for gift-giving purposes[/FONT][FONT= &quot]. For example, a reloadable prepaid card with a MasterCard, Visa, American Express, or Discover brand logo that is intended to be used like a checking account substitute is not covered. [/FONT]
[FONT= &quot]Cards that are given as a reward or as part of a promotion[/FONT][FONT= &quot]. For example, a free $15 gift card given to you by a store if you purchase merchandise or services of $100 or more may have fees or an expiration date of one year rather than five years. [/FONT][FONT= &quot]Regardless, you must be clearly informed of any expiration dates or fees for these cards.[/FONT][FONT= &quot] [/FONT]
 

agoodman

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 18, 2008
Messages
818
Reaction score
0
Yes this is what I have pointed out in several postings that we need to be really careful .. in all states
Thats why I would rather incur the cost of accepting B&B.com gift cards (and the income of selling them even though they could be used at another Inn) than having my own.
Remember that for MOST tax regulations you are required to report any unused gift cards that you issued as a liability on your books
 

Copperhead

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 24, 2008
Messages
5,968
Reaction score
0
As a reminder these are GIFT CARDS - NOT Gift Certificates. The best source to make sure you are selling within the law is to check YOUR state laws. State laws may be more strict, but must at least be as strict as the Federal guidelines.
I just checked my state which differentiate the laws of Gift Cards vs Gift Certificates.
 

Alibi Ike

Well-known member
Staff member
Joined
Aug 8, 2010
Messages
2,928
Reaction score
0
As a reminder these are GIFT CARDS - NOT Gift Certificates. The best source to make sure you are selling within the law is to check YOUR state laws. State laws may be more strict, but must at least be as strict as the Federal guidelines.
I just checked my state which differentiate the laws of Gift Cards vs Gift Certificates..
copperhead said:
As a reminder these are GIFT CARDS - NOT Gift Certificates. The best source to make sure you are selling within the law is to check YOUR state laws. State laws may be more strict, but must at least be as strict as the Federal guidelines.
I just checked my state which differentiate the laws of Gift Cards vs Gift Certificates.
They're not the same thing? I was thinking they're calling them 'cards' because a lot of places use the plastic 'cards' instead of a paper 'certificate'. The intent is the same. (Which means nothing when it comes to laws, I know!)
How does your state differentiate the 2?
 

JBloggs

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Oct 7, 2008
Messages
17,744
Reaction score
9
It all goes back to that other thread from Birdwatcher, services rendered thing too, on the tax?
 

agoodman

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 18, 2008
Messages
818
Reaction score
0
I would have to think that in a court of law if the guest or purchaser ever decided to get nasty that "inhouse" Gift certificates would be considered the same as gift cards and subject to the same rules but thats just my humble opinion
 

Copperhead

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 24, 2008
Messages
5,968
Reaction score
0
As a reminder these are GIFT CARDS - NOT Gift Certificates. The best source to make sure you are selling within the law is to check YOUR state laws. State laws may be more strict, but must at least be as strict as the Federal guidelines.
I just checked my state which differentiate the laws of Gift Cards vs Gift Certificates..
copperhead said:
As a reminder these are GIFT CARDS - NOT Gift Certificates. The best source to make sure you are selling within the law is to check YOUR state laws. State laws may be more strict, but must at least be as strict as the Federal guidelines.
I just checked my state which differentiate the laws of Gift Cards vs Gift Certificates.
They're not the same thing? I was thinking they're calling them 'cards' because a lot of places use the plastic 'cards' instead of a paper 'certificate'. The intent is the same. (Which means nothing when it comes to laws, I know!)
How does your state differentiate the 2?
.
Alibi Ike said:
copperhead said:
As a reminder these are GIFT CARDS - NOT Gift Certificates. The best source to make sure you are selling within the law is to check YOUR state laws. State laws may be more strict, but must at least be as strict as the Federal guidelines.
I just checked my state which differentiate the laws of Gift Cards vs Gift Certificates.
They're not the same thing? I was thinking they're calling them 'cards' because a lot of places use the plastic 'cards' instead of a paper 'certificate'. The intent is the same. (Which means nothing when it comes to laws, I know!)
How does your state differentiate the 2?
I'll be darned if I can find that site again in order to explain what I read about our state and it was a .gov site. Now all I can find provides no difference between the two. What a difference a day makes in a search!!!
 

Copperhead

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 24, 2008
Messages
5,968
Reaction score
0
How many Innkeepers charge a fee for their GC? The meat in this law really applies to the big sellers - V/MC and the like that are trying to make even more off the sale by charging fees, taking interest etc. If you follow your state guidelines (county, city too), then you should be in total compliance with all laws that govern them.
My DH got one of these cards last Christmas & has had a heck of a time using it. Not all places take the card, if you do not know the exact balance (interest fees deducted daily on his), it may not be able to be used. I think he just gave up when he got down to $6-7 left on it. That is exactly what they intended and that is one reason this new law was placed in effect.
 

Alibi Ike

Well-known member
Staff member
Joined
Aug 8, 2010
Messages
2,928
Reaction score
0
As a reminder these are GIFT CARDS - NOT Gift Certificates. The best source to make sure you are selling within the law is to check YOUR state laws. State laws may be more strict, but must at least be as strict as the Federal guidelines.
I just checked my state which differentiate the laws of Gift Cards vs Gift Certificates..
copperhead said:
As a reminder these are GIFT CARDS - NOT Gift Certificates. The best source to make sure you are selling within the law is to check YOUR state laws. State laws may be more strict, but must at least be as strict as the Federal guidelines.
I just checked my state which differentiate the laws of Gift Cards vs Gift Certificates.
They're not the same thing? I was thinking they're calling them 'cards' because a lot of places use the plastic 'cards' instead of a paper 'certificate'. The intent is the same. (Which means nothing when it comes to laws, I know!)
How does your state differentiate the 2?
.
Alibi Ike said:
copperhead said:
As a reminder these are GIFT CARDS - NOT Gift Certificates. The best source to make sure you are selling within the law is to check YOUR state laws. State laws may be more strict, but must at least be as strict as the Federal guidelines.
I just checked my state which differentiate the laws of Gift Cards vs Gift Certificates.
They're not the same thing? I was thinking they're calling them 'cards' because a lot of places use the plastic 'cards' instead of a paper 'certificate'. The intent is the same. (Which means nothing when it comes to laws, I know!)
How does your state differentiate the 2?
I'll be darned if I can find that site again in order to explain what I read about our state and it was a .gov site. Now all I can find provides no difference between the two. What a difference a day makes in a search!!!
.
copperhead said:
I'll be darned if I can find that site again in order to explain what I read about our state and it was a .gov site. Now all I can find provides no difference between the two. What a difference a day makes in a search!!!
Which is why I try to remember to bookmark everything I think I will need again! Not that my bookmarks list is always accurate. I've gone looking the next day and the bookmark is nowhere to be found.
 

gillumhouse

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Supporting Member
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
15,767
Reaction score
418
As a reminder these are GIFT CARDS - NOT Gift Certificates. The best source to make sure you are selling within the law is to check YOUR state laws. State laws may be more strict, but must at least be as strict as the Federal guidelines.
I just checked my state which differentiate the laws of Gift Cards vs Gift Certificates..
copperhead said:
As a reminder these are GIFT CARDS - NOT Gift Certificates. The best source to make sure you are selling within the law is to check YOUR state laws. State laws may be more strict, but must at least be as strict as the Federal guidelines.
I just checked my state which differentiate the laws of Gift Cards vs Gift Certificates.
They're not the same thing? I was thinking they're calling them 'cards' because a lot of places use the plastic 'cards' instead of a paper 'certificate'. The intent is the same. (Which means nothing when it comes to laws, I know!)
How does your state differentiate the 2?
.
Alibi Ike said:
copperhead said:
As a reminder these are GIFT CARDS - NOT Gift Certificates. The best source to make sure you are selling within the law is to check YOUR state laws. State laws may be more strict, but must at least be as strict as the Federal guidelines.
I just checked my state which differentiate the laws of Gift Cards vs Gift Certificates.
They're not the same thing? I was thinking they're calling them 'cards' because a lot of places use the plastic 'cards' instead of a paper 'certificate'. The intent is the same. (Which means nothing when it comes to laws, I know!)
How does your state differentiate the 2?
I'll be darned if I can find that site again in order to explain what I read about our state and it was a .gov site. Now all I can find provides no difference between the two. What a difference a day makes in a search!!!
.
copperhead said:
I'll be darned if I can find that site again in order to explain what I read about our state and it was a .gov site. Now all I can find provides no difference between the two. What a difference a day makes in a search!!!
Which is why I try to remember to bookmark everything I think I will need again! Not that my bookmarks list is always accurate. I've gone looking the next day and the bookmark is nowhere to be found.
.
Or get a new computer and lose all your bookmarks..........
 

agoodman

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 18, 2008
Messages
818
Reaction score
0
I don't charge a fee and would not, then again if I ever sell a bedandbreakfast.com card again (not much demand for them) I make the comm on the sale anyway
Although this may vary from state to state, here is the "definition"
Gift certificates generally are upfront payment in exchange for a certificate or card, which can be redeemed later for goods or services by the holder. Gift certificates are primarily governed by state laws, which vary by state.
Typically, gift certificates cannot be offered in a manner that is untrue or misleading, and in some states, gift certificates and gift cards sold by retail sellers for use with the seller and its affiliates cannot contain an expiration date or a service fee. In those states that do allow expiration dates, the typical rule is that they must be conspicuously displayed, and usually the card must not expire for at least one year after the date of issuance. If there is a fee or deduction for the card laying dormant longer than a certain period of time, those terms are generally also required to be disclosed on the certificate/card. Some states also require the unused amounts on gift cards to be turned over to the state's abandoned property agency.
 

Samster

Well-known member
Joined
May 30, 2008
Messages
6,478
Reaction score
15
Location
South Carolina
How many Innkeepers charge a fee for their GC? The meat in this law really applies to the big sellers - V/MC and the like that are trying to make even more off the sale by charging fees, taking interest etc. If you follow your state guidelines (county, city too), then you should be in total compliance with all laws that govern them.
My DH got one of these cards last Christmas & has had a heck of a time using it. Not all places take the card, if you do not know the exact balance (interest fees deducted daily on his), it may not be able to be used. I think he just gave up when he got down to $6-7 left on it. That is exactly what they intended and that is one reason this new law was placed in effect..
My dh had the same difficulty with using one of the VISA gift cards. Most restaurants didn't know how to input it here and so it took him almost a year to finally use it up. Apparently there was some kind of fee associated with it as well, so that it always ended up more than whatever you were buying. It was a pain. I think the new regulations are trying to address some of the difficulties. But they apply to pre-purchased gift cards, not gift certificates that are sold by independent merchants. Everyone has to adhere to their specific locality's regulations regarding gift certificates. When I closed, I had to refund the outstanding purchased gift certificates that I had. Donated gift certificates were a different story and all were expired.
My advice is if you're not sure what to get someone, give them a gift card for a specific place, store, or whatever so that it can be used more easily.
I just recently saw some commercial on TV where there is a company that will buy back unused gift cards. I'm sure not for their total value because they have to make money somehow, right?
 
Top