Starting January 1st, California consumers will be able to exchange gift cards for cash once the card’s value falls below $10. [consumercal]


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  1. Major-General says:

    I’ll bet you it will take about eight months to get enforced, with lots of stores saying “Our policy doesn’t allow us to do that, despite you being able to quote the law chapter and verse.”

    This message brought to you by Wal-Mart, where a food item gets taxed because the computer says so, common sense and the ingredients list be damned.

  2. HRHKingFriday says:

    @Major-General: I dunno. Its a pretty straightforward law, that you could even print out and bring with you to the store. If you’re really feeling stabby, bring a compaint form as well.

    I do wonder what this means for profit reporting- that’s why you usually can’t redeem for cash now. A store could report 5 million in sales of 10 dollar gift cards, but then half of them get redeemed for cash (after purchasing something silly like a pack of gum for 25 cents). Then, do they have to adjust their earnings in the next quarter do to cashing-back all those cards?

  3. I always loved California’s laws in relation to Gift Cards. Especially the one where it says Gift Cards cannot expire nor can they be hit with an “inactivity” tariff.

  4. Murph1908 says:

    Gift cards will move from the realm of ‘income’ to the realm of ‘liabilities’ on the balance sheet. It would be handled like retainer fees. That is, if 100% of the card could be redeemed.

    From what I read in the article, only when the card falls below $10 can it be redeemed. So, accounting would need to count $10 per card as ‘liability’,perhaps. Though, IANAA.

  5. punkrawka says:

    Ah, the people’s republic of California. I’m going to laugh when businesses stop bothering to open there and citizens wonder why…

  6. czarandy says:

    @punkrawka: Right, because the $1.62 trillion GDP of California clearly shows that businesses hate it there.

  7. wring says:

    fucken sweet.

  8. wring says:

    @punkrawka: we pay dearly for the weather.

  9. Red_Eye says:

    Thank goodness, forced rebates on visa debit cards are the biggest theft against the American public ever perpetrated. Just how many ‘rebate’ cards do you think a company like oh say Cingular issued and collected the few buck back people never spent? Millions? Imagine that….. All because you cant always spend $1 from a credit card.

  10. CyGuy says:

    This benefits everyone as people will be able to eBay their cards at much closer to face value. Also, charities benefit as they can setup collection points (like Salvation Army kettles) and then ship them bulk to an affiliate in California for redemption.

  11. rhombopteryx says:


    And more to the point, CA has one of the highest business startup rates in the nation, the highest rate of business R&D and foreign investment per capita in the nation and 2x as long an average corporate lifespan as the national average… Yes, consumer protection and actual enforcement obviously stifle businesses.

  12. coren says:

    Anyone ever tried to get a gift card spread out across multiple cards….

  13. Trackback says:

    Jillian:Thanks to a new state law (SB-250), you, as a California consumer, will no longer be stuck with all those leftover gift cards. Now, if you have a gift card worth less than $10, the store has to give you the balance – in cash.