Hammoud, Wittenberg Introduce Consumer Protection Legislation

Bills would eliminate expiration date for gift cards and certificates
Wednesday, February 8, 2017

LANSING — State Representatives Abdullah Hammoud (D-Dearborn) and Robert Wittenberg (D-Oak Park) introduced House Bills 4194 and 4193, respectively, which would amend the Consumer Protection Act. Together, the bills would eliminate the expiration date on gift cards and would also classify certain prepaid discount cards as gift cards. Prepaid discount cards are items used to purchase goods, services or classes at a price or percentage below the normal price. This pro-consumer legislation follows in the footsteps of other states that have voted to extend consumer rights on this topic.

“This type of consumer protection legislation is a no-brainer for me,” Wittenberg said. “I believe when customers pay hard-earned money for gift cards, for friends or relatives, they should then be able to redeem those gifts without expiration.”

Federal law requires a five-year minimum for expiration dates on gift cards and certificates. Several states have passed laws to address this topic. Some states have extended the expiration date, while others have prohibited expiration dates on gift cards.

“It’s hard to argue against this type of legislation. When people purchase gift cards, often from large corporations outside of Michigan, they are entitled to use the product on their own terms,” Hammoud said. “We were encouraged to see broad bipartisan support for this bill package from both sides of the aisle. The protection of Michigan residents should remain a continual focus for the Michigan Legislature.”