Rhode Island has state laws specific to gift cards. Rhode Island statutes mandate that there not be any expiration dates or after sale fees. Gift cards with balances under $1.00 are redeemable for cash and they do not escheat to the state. These laws do not affect bank cards, phone cards or cards where there was no money exchanged, such as a loyalty or promotional event.
Rhode Island gift card consumer protection laws are superior to most states. Their laws go beyond what is federally mandated and provide comprehensive consumer protection. We hope they continue on this trend and that other states will take notice.
About Rhode Island
Rhode Island, one of the original 13 colonies, entered statehood on May 29, 1790. Rhode Island is the smallest state and second only to New Jersey for population density. It is home to the first open golf tournament as well as the first National Lawn Tennis Championship (precursor to the US Open).
The first circus in the US was in Rhode Island, which is also home to the nation's oldest carousel. Rhode Island was the first colony to declare its independence from England and also the first to take military action. Rhode Island has the oldest operating tavern in the US and they also never ratified the 18th Amendment – prohibition of alcohol. Rhode Island is also home to the oldest Roman Catholic Parish as well as the oldest synagogue in North America.
Rhode Island Statistics
The smallest state is home to over 1 million residents according to the US Census Bureau.
Approximately 62% of Rhode Islanders own their own home and 12.8% live below poverty level, which is less than the national average of 14.3%.
Unemployment in Rhode Island is 8.8%, 4th highest in the nation.
Rhode Island's Consumer Protection Laws
Information regarding consumer protection efforts in Rhode Island can be found at the website for the Office of the Attorney General.
Give A Gift Card
The smallest state is rich on history with many firsts. Although only a fraction of the size of many states it is truly rich on culture and history. A gift card is one of the smallest of presents, but can have great value. So both Rhode Island and gift cards prove the old adage that good things come in small packages.
Know What You're Buying
In the market for a gift card for a friend or loved one? Do you know what you are buying? You might buy a traditional gift card that is specific to a merchant. Generally that means you might pay $100 for a $100 gift card and if they use it at the merchant (as opposed to trying to sell it online for less than its face value) it is worth the full face value of $100. There are more generic electronic versions out there. These do have the advantage of being able to be used almost anywhere. The downside is you are likely to pay a premium for such a card and also most such cards are not protected under state or federal law. For example, the law may state that an expiration date must be a minimum of 5 years but if the item in question is not covered under the law then it might expire in 1 year instead.