On Nov. 1, 2008, Maine passed legislation affecting gift cards. Among the provisions the law disallowed expiration dates or after sale fees on cards, although a fee may be charged at the time of purchase or when additional funds are added. The exception to this requirement is when the card is issued as part of a promotion since no transaction occurred.
In addition, when the balance on the card drops below $5 as part of a transaction, the merchant must refund the remaining balance to the customer if asked to do so. This does not apply to prefunded bank cards. Although technically no expiration dates are allowed, the value of the card will escheat to the state after five years of inactivity.
Maine's consumer protection laws for gift cards are better than most states. We are encouraged by the determination of Maine to protect its consumers.
Maine, the "Pine Tree State" became the 23rd state March 15, 1820. York, Maine, became America's first chartered city in 1641. Famous people from Maine include Stephen King, E.B. White, Patrick Dempsey, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, L.L. Bean and Milton Bradley.
Maine's motto is "I lead" and when it comes to blueberries, they do. Maine has the largest blueberry crop in the nation (99 percent of all wild blueberries in the country). If you like lighthouses, Maine has more than 60.
Need a toothpick? Chances are, you are using one from Maine since they make 90 percent of the country's supply. With an annual yield of 40 million pounds, Maine also provides 90 percent of the nation's supply of the one thing Maine is most famous for: lobster.
- In spite of all the scary stories by Stephen King that are set in Maine, more than 1.3 million people live there according to the US Census Bureau.
- Approximately 73 percent of Maine residents own their own home.
- Maine's Department of Labor reports that the unemployment rate is 6.8 percent and 13 out of every 100 citizens in Maine live below poverty level.
Maine's Consumer Protection Laws
To learn what Maine is doing to protect consumers, please visit the website for the Office of the Attorney General.
Why You Should Know Gift Card Laws
While on a trip to Maine you go a store to purchase and ship some lobster and some blueberries. You were fortunately given a gift card for just this purpose, but when you get to the counter the clerk informs you that the card has expired. If you did not know that Maine law doesn't allow for expiration dates you might end up paying for it out of pocket.
Just The Right Card
You are a character in a horror novel and so you are heading up to Maine for some mayhem. What kind of gift cards would you want to bring? Perhaps a card for a store selling building supplies so you can buy what you need to either reinforce your house to keep the monster out or build a cage to contain the beast. You may also want a sporting goods store that offers things like guns, ammo, hunting bows, arrows and night vision goggles. If the monster is more supernatural you may seek a store that sells religious symbols and holy water. Then again, you might be the monster. Since it is unlikely you will find gift cards for the local blood bank or morgue, you may want to pull out some cash.