New Federal gift card rules might be delayed

A bill passed by the House (summary here) of Representatives this week would delay the onset of the disclosure requirements of the gift card provisions from until January 31, 2011.  The disclosure requirements are considered among the most onerous of the new gift card regulations because they all but insure that gift card issuers will have to remove the current inventory from store shelves, destroy them, and issue new gift cards with the proper disclosures on the outside of the packaging.

This is a bit of a setback for consumers, as it is possible in that time that cards that have expiration dates that don’t meet the requirements of the gift card laws will likely still be sold.  While issuers will have to honor request for replacement of those cards with new ones that have later expiration dates upon request, there are sure to be plenty of cases where consumers aren’t aware of this or store personnel are not properly trained, and deny requests.

The bill still must be passed by the Senate to become law.

Update 7/14/10:  The bill was passed by the Senate yesterday.  The rules for new open-loop gift cards discussed above will not have to take effect until January 31, 2011, for cards produced before April 1, 2010.  The industry is thrilled.