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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: December 16, 2016 11:48 AM
From: Representative Neal P. Goodman
To: All House members
Subject: Gift Cards and Certificates – Protection from Expiration Dates and Inactivity Fees
With the massive popularity of gift cards and gift certificates during the holiday season and throughout the entire year, it would be nearly impossible to find someone who hasn’t given one or received one at some point in their lives. But do consumers know federal law allows gift cards and certificates to expire after 5 years? It also allows retailers to begin charging dormancy fees after just 12 months of inactivity, reducing the original value of the gift card or certificate.

That’s not fair to consumers.

In the near future I will re-introduce legislation from last session (HB 385) to protect Pennsylvania consumers from expiration dates and inactivity fees. My legislation would go beyond federal law – just as 38 other states have done for their citizens.

This year, I have split my legislation into a two-bill package in the hopes of getting relief for consumers as quickly as possible. The first bill will prohibit expiration dates for gift cards and gift certificates sold in Pennsylvania, just as 9 other states have done. It will also prohibit inactivity fees that reduce the value of the card or certificate purchased, just as 19 other states have done for their citizens.

The second bill would keep the 5-year expiration date as permitted by federal law, but would continue to prohibit inactivity fees. If a card is allowed to expire after 5 years, there is no reason a retailer should be permitted to charge inactivity fees.

Both bills amend Pennsylvania’s Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law to accomplish these goals.

Document #1

Introduced as HB940

Description: This bill will prohibit expiration dates for gift cards and gift certificates sold in Pennsylvania. It will also prohibit inactivity fees or any other kind of post-sale fees that reduce the value of the card or certificate sold. 


Document #2

Introduced as HB941

Description: This bill will prohibit inactivity fees or any other kind of post-sale fees that reduce the value of a gift card or gift certificate sold in Pennsylvania.  It does not change the law with regard to expiration dates.