On Sunday, August 22nd, the new federal gift card law (often referred to as the "CARD Act")went into effect. If you know about this at all, you are in the minority. A simple web search will turn up short outlines for how the law affects consumers or holders of gift cards, but almost nothing to help independent restaurants without their own general counsel, until today. CoverBoom has posted a guide to selling gift cards under the CARD Act for small businesses on their Boomtime site. If you sell any form of gift card or certificate it is a must read!

The highlights include:

  • The new minimum term for a gift card before expiration is 5 years.
  • State laws are preempted only if they are less restrictive than the new law.
  • Gift cards redeemable for a service without a dollar value are not regulated by the federal law.
  • Gift certificates that are promotional or issued as part of a reward or loyalty program are exempt from the new federal expiration terms provided they meet certain requirements.

Thingsyou should do: Obviously this blog is not legal advice or any form of a substitute for your own counsel. If you are selling, or plan on selling gift cards you must know how the law applies to you. A great start is the Guide for Small Businesses Selling Gift Cards we posted for restaurants, spas, and independent retailers in general. Read, understand and make a plan to sell profitable and compliant gift cards this holiday season.

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