Fri. Jun 9th, 2023

The New York State Division of Consumer Protection (DCP) today released tips to inform and empower New York consumers purchasing gift cards and gift certificates this holiday season. Any gift cards or gift certificates purchased in New York State on or after December 10, 2022, will remain valid for a minimum of nine years from the date of purchase. And, when the remaining value of a gift card or gift certificate is less than five dollars, the recipient can opt to receive cash for the balance.
All fees are prohibited under the new law, which will prevent gift cards and gift certificates from declining in value. The law specifically forbids the imposition of any “activation fees, retroactive fees, redemption fees, service fees, dormancy fees, latency fees, administrative fees, handling fees, access fees, periodic fees, renewal fees, re-loading fees, or any other fee of any kind.” There is one exception to the law. A gift card or gift certificate that is redeemable at multiple, unaffiliated merchants or service providers may charge a one-time activation fee, not to exceed $9.
“Gift cards offer consumers convenience during the holidays,” said Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez. “Thanks to Governor Hochul, gift cards now have a longer shelf life and recipients are afforded more time to find the perfect gift to treat themselves as their gift giver intended.”
In New Yok State, a gift card or gift certificate’s purchase date determines what, if any, rights exist for consumers.  Based on the purchase date, consumers can expect the following legal protections:       
Gift Cards & Gift Certificates Purchased:
Minimum Expiration Date Imposed by Law:
Inactivity Fee Terms:
Between September 21, 2004, and August 21, 2010
No Law Requiring a Minimum Expiration Term.
A monthly inactivity service fee may be assessed monthly after the 12th month of inactivity.
Between August 22, 2010, and December 24, 2016
5-years from date of purchase before gift card can expire.
A one-time inactivity fee may be assessed after the 12th month of inactivity.
Between December 25, 2016, and December 9, 2022
5-years from date of purchase before the gift card can expire.
A monthly inactivity service fee may be assessed after the 24th month of inactivity.
If the gift card is presented within 3 years of the purchase date, any activity fees assessed will be waived and the gift card will be replenished to its value prior to the fees.
On or after December 10, 2022
9-years from the date of purchase before the gift card can expire.
Inactivity fees are prohibited.
New York State Senator Shelley B. Mayer said,  “I am so pleased that the Department of State has issued these timely alerts concerning consumer protections my colleagues and I worked so hard to adopt.  Gift card fees and expiration dates make it difficult for consumers to use products they have purchased, and the timing of the adoption of these new laws will ensure consumers are protected as they make holiday purchases of gift cards.”
New York State Assemblywoman Nily Rozic said, “In preparing for the holiday season, consumers who purchase gift cards can rest easy knowing new laws will protect the value of their gifts. Chair of the Assembly Committee on Consumer Protection. “I’m thankful to Secretary Rodriguez for fighting for New Yorkers during this busy time of year.”
New York State Assemblyman Nader Sayegh said, “As we enter the holiday season, I’m pleased to learn that my legislation which will protect consumers is going into effect. Thanks to the enactment of this legislation, New Yorkers can rest assured that gift cards and gift certificates will not dwindle and diminish in value due to miscellaneous fees. Together, New York State is leading the nation in protecting consumers and ensuring recipients can enjoy the full value of a gift they receive.” 
Below are tips consumers should keep in mind when buying and using gift cards this holiday season:
Consumers having difficulty redeeming a gift card are encouraged to file a complaint with the New York State Division of Consumer Protection. The Division of Consumer Protection provides voluntary mediation, between the consumer and business, when the consumer has been unsuccessful at reaching a resolution on their own.
The Consumer Assistance Helpline 1-800-697-1220 is available Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm, excluding State Holidays, and consumer complaints can be filed at any time at The Division can also be reached via Twitter at @NYSConsumer or Facebook at
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