Maryland enacted legislation relating to gift cards in 2006 designed to protect consumers. The law specifies that any expiration date must be a minimum of four years and that any kind of after sale fees may be charged four years after purchase. The Federal CARD act pushes the expiration out to five years making the state law mostly irrelevant on that point.
Maryland provides adequate protection compared to other states, but there is room to improve and we hope to see that happen in the near future.
King Charles I of England granted a charter for a colony to Lord Baltimore with the specification that it be called Maryland to honor Queen Mary. Maryland is one of the original colonies and became the 7th state April 28, 1788. Today, Maryland is home to the US Naval Academy and as well as the first school in the US and the first railroad station.
- The US Census Bureau reports there are more than 5.8 million Marylanders, with approximately 23 out of every hundred being under 18 and 13 being more than 65 or older.
- Over 68 percent of Maryland residents own their own home and 9 percent live below poverty level.
Maryland's Consumer Protection Laws
To learn more about what Maryland is doing to protect consumers, please visit the Maryland Attorney General.
Use Gift Cards Right Away
When you receive cash, it is usually wiser to save it for when you really need it. You might even invest the money and accumulate a substantial amount over time. Gift cards work contrary to this approach, particularly with small businesses. If you get a gift card to a small business you should use it as soon as possible because the store itself may close, rendering your gift card useless.
Same As Cash
A gift card is not cash, but when it comes to security it should be treated like cash. Gift cards should be secured like cash and not be left out in plain sight. Remember that gift cards are very easy to use, whether by you or someone who just stole your card. Take the advice of a certain popular movie wizard and "keep it secret, keep it safe."