Thursday, May 5, 2011
On May 2, 2011, the Oregon Senate unanimously passed a bill that allows Oregon consumers to cash used gift cards that hold $5 or less in value. Senate Bill 756 gives consumers an option at the POS to receive in cash the remaining funds on gift cards instead of forcing consumers to spend more at stores than intended in order to use up the leftover gift card funds, said the bill's sponsor, Sen. Joanne Verger, D-District 5.
SB 756 builds on state legislation passed in 2007 "prohibiting cards that automatically draw down balances without a consumer's consent," an Oregon Senate statement said. The statement added that similar gift card regulation has been enacted in California, Massachusetts, Washington, Maine and Montana.
In 2007, the California legislature passed a bill that requires merchants to reimburse consumers for the unused remainder of gift cards with a balance of $10 or less. The provision went into effect in January 2008. Boston-based consultancy and research firm TowerGroup said $8 billion in leftover funds rested on unused gift cards, as of 2008.
SB 756 now goes to the Oregon House of Representatives for consideration.
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