How New Ohio Law Impacts Shoppers
Ohio retailers could be in for a gift card system overhaul in light of latest legislations. According to legislation handed down by General Assembly on March 20th, 2019, no business or entity is permitted to sell a gift card that has an expiry that is less than two years from its purchase. This law does include paper certificates and electronic gift cards that can be redeemed for goods and services.
The law further states that any good or services remitted in exchange for a gift card issued after the 20th of March, 2019, should not be additionally taxed, fined or charged relative to that gift card, including fees for dormancy, latency or administration which would effectively reduce the overall redeemable gift card balance.
Retailers and hospitality businesses will have to stay aware that any gift cards that have been sold to customers with no visible or stated expiration date—under this law—are valid until redeemed or replaced with another gift card by the establishment. Any replacement gift cards given under this subsection of the law are to abide by the two-year minimum implemented by the above statements.
There are, however, several different circumstances and types of cards that merit an exemption from the new Ohio mandate. Exemptions are granted if:
-> The gift card was awarded to the customer as part of a customer loyalty or promotional program without anything of value being given in exchange for the gift card by the consumer.
-> A gift card that is sold below face value at a volume discount to employers or to nonprofit and charitable organizations for fundraising purposes, if the expiration date on that gift card is not more than 30 days after the date of sale
-> A gift card that is sold by a nonprofit or charitable organization for fundraising purposes
-> A gift card that an employer gives to an employee, if the use of the card is limited to the employer’s business establishment, which may include a group of merchants that are affiliated with that business establishment
-> A gift certificate that is issued in accordance with section 1533.131 of the Revised Code that may be used to obtain wild game permits and wetlands habitat stamps
-> A gift card that is usable with multiple, unaffiliated sellers of goods or services
-> A gift card that an employer issues to an employee in recognition of services performed by the employee.
Any gift cards that violate any of the above could leave Ohio businesses liable for the total gift card balance and pursuant court and legal fees. More information on this can be found here.
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