Ortiz Joins Consumers in Their Outcry

December 3, 2003
Assemblyman Felix Ortiz has not only heard the frustrated cries of consumers who have been told their gift certificates are too old, but he has added his voice to their crusade. Assemblyman Ortiz has been working since 1998 on legislation that would prohibit expiration dates on purchased gift certificates.

"It is absurd to have expiration dates on gift certificates. Cash does not expire so why should a gift certificate?" said the Assemblyman. "Businesses may be trying to increase their profits by designating these expiration dates, counting on the fact that some gift certificates will not be used in time. However, consumers are getting increasingly frustrated with gift certificates because of expiration dates, and this frustration should be a cause of concern for businesses who may end up on the losing end."

"This legislation has great potential to help our economy and improve consumer and retailer relations, which is very important especially during the holiday season." continued the Assemblyman.

Under the legislation, if a consumer pays cash for a gift certificate the issuing establishment would not be allowed to place a time limit in which that certificate must be used. The prohibition of expiration dates would not apply to a situation where a business distributes discounted certificates to employees or fundraisers, or gift certificates are purchased as part of a promotion.

"There is no logical or convincing reason that gift certificates should expire. Other forms of payment do not have a time limit and by placing one on what should be an incentive to shop, dine out or travel, retailers will ultimately end up losing the patronage of consumers. The time has more than come to end these unwanted and unnecessary expiration dates," said Ortiz.

Ortiz has also recently introduced legislation that would prohibit retailers from charging monthly service fees ranging from $1.50 to $2.50 on gift cards if they are not redeemed within a specified time frame.