ASSEMBLY, No. 2449

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

213th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED MARCH 3, 2008

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman CONNIE WAGNER

District 38 (Bergen)

Assemblywoman ELEASE EVANS

District 35 (Bergen and Passaic)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Regulates expiration dates and dormancy fees for certain prepaid bank cards, such as mall gift cards.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning certain prepaid bank cards and amending P.L.2002, c.14.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    Section 1 of P.L.2002, c.14 (C.56:8-110) is amended to read as follows:

     1.    a.  A gift certificate or gift card sold after the effective date of [this amendatory act] P.L.    , c.   (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) shall retain full unused value until presented in exchange for merchandise or money, or shall have any and all conditions and limitations, as permitted in paragraphs (1) through (3) of this subsection, disclosed to the purchaser of the gift certificate or gift card at the time of purchase as provided in subsection b. of this section.

     (1)   In no case shall a gift certificate or gift card expire within the 24 months immediately following the date of sale.

     (2)   No dormancy fee shall be charged against a gift certificate or [a] gift card within the 24 months immediately following the date of sale, nor shall one be charged within the 24 months immediately following the most recent activity or transaction in which the certificate or card was used.

     (3)   A dormancy fee charged against a gift certificate or gift card as permitted by this subsection shall not exceed $2.00 per month.

     b.    The terms of any expiration date or dormancy fee applicable to a gift certificate or gift card, as permitted by subsection a. of this section, shall be disclosed to a consumer by:

     (1)   written notice of the expiration date or dormancy fee , or both , printed in at least 10 point font, on the gift certificate or gift card, or the sales receipt for the certificate or card, or the package for the certificate or card; and

     (2)   written notice, in at least 10 point font, on the gift certificate or gift card, or the sales receipt for the certificate or card, or the package for the certificate or card, of a telephone number which the consumer may call, for information concerning any expiration date or dormancy fee.

     c.     As used in this section:

     "Dormancy fee" means a charge imposed against the unused value of a gift card or gift certificate due to inactivity;

     "Gift card" means a tangible device, whereon is embedded or encoded in an electronic or other format a value issued in exchange for payment, which promises to provide to the bearer merchandise or money of equal value to the remaining balance of the device.  "Gift card" includes a prepaid bank card, but does not include a prepaid telecommunications or technology card, [prepaid bank card] or rewards card;

     "Gift certificate" means a written promise given in exchange for payment to provide merchandise or money in a specified amount or of equal value to the bearer of the certificate.  "Gift certificate" includes a prepaid bank card, but does not include a prepaid telecommunications or technology card, [prepaid bank card] or rewards card;

     "Merchandise" means and includes any objects, wares, goods, commodities, services or anything offered, directly or indirectly, to the public for sale; 

     "Prepaid bank card" means a general use, prepaid card or other electronic payment device that is issued by a bank or other financial institution, or a licensed money transmitter, in a pre-denominated amount usable at multiple, unaffiliated merchants or at automated teller machines, or both, but shall not include a card issued by a retail merchant;

     "Prepaid telecommunications or technology card" includes, but is not limited to: a prepaid telephone calling card; prepaid technical support card; or prepaid Internet disk distributed to or purchased by a consumer; and

     "Rewards card" means a card or certificate distributed by the issuer to a consumer pursuant to an awards, loyalty, rewards or promotional program, without any money or other consideration or thing of value by the consumer in exchange for the card or certificate.

(cf: P.L.2005, c.254, s.1)

 

     2.    This act shall take effect on the 90th day after enactment, except that an action for a violation of P.L.1960, c.39 (C.56:8-1 et seq.) based upon the requirement as to font size of the notice required by section 1 of P.L.2002, c.14 (C.56:8-110) shall not accrue for a prepaid bank card issued on or before the 365th day after the date of enactment.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill incorporates prepaid bank cards, defined in the bill as a form of gift card, into the existing statutory provisions which regulate the expiration dates and dormancy fees for gift cards and gift certificates generally.  These prepaid bank cards include mall gift cards issued by third party banks or other financial institutions which are usable at multiple, unaffiliated merchants within a particular shopping mall.

     By incorporating prepaid bank cards into the existing gift card and gift certificate statutory requirements, the bill: 1) prohibits the expiration of prepaid bank cards within 24 months immediately following the date of sale by the original purchaser of the card; 2) prohibits the charging of a dormancy fee against a prepaid bank card within 24 months immediately following the date of sale, and within 24 months immediately following the most recent activity or transaction in which the card is used; 3) limits the dormancy fee, when applicable, charged against a prepaid bank card to no more than $2.00 per month; and 4) requires appropriate disclosure of the above card expiration and dormancy fee provisions to prepaid bank card consumers.