When it comes to gift certificate law, every country and every state has its own regulations. So it might be that in your state, you’re not allowed to have expiration dates printed on the gift certificate. Or that after a number of years, the gift certificate is considered as “abandoned” by its owner. It could also prohibit any kind of fee, such as dormancy fee, inactivity fee or maintenance fee. As you can see, gift certificate law is pretty reglemented. So, before you go and offer gift certificates for your business, check your local regulations. If you’re based in United States, you might want to check out Gift Cards and Gift Statuses and Recent Legislation – http://www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?tabid=12474 . Even though there is a warning stating that the page is for informational purpose only, it is maintained by the government and provides a good starting point. If you want to be really sure about the current gift certificate law in your state, you should contact the Office of the Attorney General in your state.
Another source of information for gift certificate or gift card law is Scriptsmart. They offer free downloadable gift card law information documents. – http://scripsmart.com/state_gift_card_laws The information on the website itself is also pretty useful, both for merchants and consumers, providing positive and negative points about the local gift certificate law.
Please note that there have been changes in 2011 regarding gift card rules as documented in this Consumer Finance Law Blog Article – http://www.consumerfinancelawblog.com/2010/08/articles/gift-cards/update-new-gift-card-rules-to-take-effect-on-august-22-2010-and-disclosure-requirements-will-now-take-effect-on-january-31-2011/ . This is part of the CARD act – http://www.consumerfinancelawblog.com/2010/02/articles/credit-cards/reminder-new-credit-card-regulations-take-effect-today-gift-and-debit-card-rules-to-follow/ and these new rules restrict fees and expiration dates on various types of gift certificates and cards, and require sellers and issuers to make specific disclosures.