Leawood, Kan. – June 16, 2023: The Rhode Island legislature is currently considering in Senate Bill 759 and House Bill 5732 (together, the “Twin Bills”) amending its Commercial Law, General Regulatory Provisions to require signage at points-of-sale warning of potential scams involving gift cards. The changes further provide for a civil penalty for violations of the provisions. The amendment will become effective upon passage of the Twin Bills.
Specifically, the proposed Twin Bills would require, among other things: “No person, firm, partnership, association, retailer or corporation shall sell a gift card to a purchaser unless the seller displays a conspicuous notice, in a form prescribed by the department of business regulation, at or near where the gift card is displayed and at or near the physical location where the sale occurs, that: (1) Cautions the purchaser about prepaid card scams; and (2) Instructs the purchaser on what to do if they suspect they might be a potential victim of such a scam.” 2023 RI S.B. 759/H.B. 5732 § 1(6-59-2).
The Twin Bills define “gift card” to mean “a written promise or electronic payment device that: (1) Is usable at a single merchant or an affiliated group of merchants that share the same name, mark, or logo, or is usable at multiple, unaffiliated merchants or service providers; (2) Is issued in a specific amount; (3) May or may not be increased in value or reloaded; (4) Is purchased and/or loaded on a prepaid basis for the future purchase or delivery of any goods or services; and (5) Is honored upon presentation.” 2023 RI S.B. 759/H.B. 5732 § 1(6-59-1(1)).
Regarding penalties, the proposed amending legislation specifies, “any person, firm, partnership, association, corporation or retail mercantile establishment that violates the provisions of the chapter shall be subject to a civil penalty in the amount of two hundred fifty dollars ($250).” 2023 RI S.B. 759/H.B. 5732 § 1(6-59-3).
At this time, the Senate has approved SB 759 and the House of Representatives is scheduled to consider HB 5732 this week.
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