Leawood, Kan. – December 8, 2023: On December 4, 2023, representatives of the Washington Consumer Protection Coalition, Sen. Yasmin Trudeau, D-Tacoma, and state Rep. Emily Alvarado, D-Seattle, hosted a press conference. These individuals argued that greater consumer protection regulations were needed for consumers in Washington who utilize gift cards. The proposed legislation should be finalized and introduced in both chambers before the legislative session starts in January. They indicated that the proposed bill would require gift cards to escheat to Washington, as well as requiring gift cards with a balance of less than $50 to be redeemed for cash. The proposed bill is also said to provide regulations regarding reloads of gift cards and mobile apps at amounts the consumer elects instead of high minimums and may require businesses to notify the consumers of their unspent gift card amounts. Additionally, the proposed bill may contain a potential exemption for businesses with annual revenue under $25 million.
As you may recall, Washington prohibits the use of expiration dates and any service or dormancy fees for gift cards. RCWA 19.240.020(1)(a) – (c). Also, Washington requires that gift cards with a balance less than $5 be redeemed for cash. Id. at (3).
Card Compliant will continue to monitor Washington for the proposed legislation and provide updates as we receive them.
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