LANSING — State Representative Julie Plawecki (D-Dearborn Heights) introduced House Bill 5590 this week, which would amend the Consumer Protection Act to extend the minimum allowable expiration date for gift cards and gift certificates from five years to 10 years. This pro-consumer legislation follows in the footsteps of other states that have voted to extend consumer rights on this issue. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Commerce and Trade.
The reason for expiration dates on gift cards is the accrual accounting used by companies. Without an expiration date, businesses are not able to close out their books for these particular accounts. Federal law has a five-year minimum expiration date. Some states have extended this expiration date or have prohibited expiration dates.
“Rather than eliminate gift card expiration dates altogether, as other states have done, this bill is a compromise that extends the minimum expiration date from five to 10 years, which is a much more reasonable time period for the consumer,” said Plawecki. “I believe five years is too short, and when customers pay for gift cards or certificates, they should have longer to redeem them. This is common-sense legislation to protect consumers.”