Representative Dan Maffei today introduced the ECO-Gift Card Bill to delay the effective date by which retailers must replace gift cards to make them compliant with new regulations in the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act.
The CARD Act, which was enacted last year, stipulated that retailers could not charge dormancy fees on gift cards, nor could gift cards have an expiration date. These rules will still apply to gift cards, as the CARD Act directed, and retailers will be required to disclose such information to customers via toll free numbers, websites and signage in stores. However, Maffei's ECO-Gift Card bill now requires gift cards be printed to reflect those changes by January 31, 2011, instead of the original August 2010 date.
Representative Maffei said: "Had retailers been required to destroy all gift cards in stock and reprint new cards by August 2010, they would have destroyed approximately 100 million cards, or the equivalent of eight football fields filled 12 feet deep with plastic cards. By delaying the effective date until after the 2010 holiday season, we're giving retailers a chance to clear out their stock, while still protecting consumers with the new rules."
Retailers are required to inform consumers, beginning in August 2010, that they will not be charged dormancy fees and gift cards can not expire. Disclosure to consumers will be required via toll free numbers, websites and signage in stores, and retailers must continue to inform customers of those changes through January 2013.