I recently went through the gift cards in my wallet and called to check the balances. Some of them had $2 or less balances and I realized that this is one of the ways gift cards make the merchant money.
I decided to mark down all my balances so I would use them fully. I went into one store and was informed by the cashier that in California, the merchant has to give you cash back for your gift card if you ask.
I searched and found on the Consumers Affairs for California website these three things:
- Most 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, including a fee for dormancy.
- Any gift certificate sold after January 1, 1997, is redeemable in cash for its cash value, or subject to replacement with a new gift certificate at no cost to the purchaser or holder. Effective January 1, 2008, any gift certificate with a cash value of less than $10 is redeemable in cash, which includes currency or check, for its cash value.
- California laws governing gift cards and gift certificates cannot be waived.
This may be something you’re already aware of but I thought I’d give you a heads up if you weren’t. This is all I could find regarding this topic and it’s only for California. Does your state have regulations like this? It may be something to look into.