New Rules for Gift Cards Go into Effect

According to Nation’s Restaurant News, “New rules involving the sale of pre-paid gift cards and incentive offers, including limitations on expiration dates and dormancy fees, went into effect Sunday as a result of federal legislation adopted earlier this year.”

“The legislation, which affects gift cards sold or issued on or after Aug. 22, is designed to address concerns raised in recent years by consumers, who are increasingly buying gift cards. For the first half of 2010, the number of restaurant gift cards sold rose 12.4 percent over the same period last year in the quick-service segment alone, according to a study by Atlanta-based First Data Corp., an electronic commerce and payment processor. At casual-dining restaurants, gift card sales increased 6.1 percent for the first half of the year. The sale of gift cards overall, including those offered by retailers, rose 2.7 percent. Under the new rules, gift cards must be good for at least five years from the purchase date. Any money later added to the card must also be good for at least five years, said David Koenig, director of tax and profitability for the National Restaurant Association.”

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