2009 California Civil Code - Section 1749.45-1749.6 :: Title 1.4a. Gift Certificates

SECTION 1749.45-1749.6

1749.45.  (a) As used in this title, "gift certificate" includes
gift cards, but does not include any gift card usable with multiple
sellers of goods or services, provided the expiration date, if any,
is printed on the card. This exemption does not apply to a gift card
usable only with affiliated sellers of goods or services.
   (b) Nothing in this title prohibits those fees or practices
expressly permitted by Section 17538.9 of the Business and
Professions Code with respect to a prepaid calling card, as defined
in that section, that is issued solely to provide an access number
and authorization code for prepaid calling services.

1749.5.  (a) It is unlawful for any person or entity to sell a gift
certificate to a purchaser that contains any of the following:
   (1) An expiration date.
   (2) A service fee, including, but not limited to, a service fee
for dormancy, except as provided in subdivision (e).
   (b) (1) Any gift certificate sold after January 1, 1997, is
redeemable in cash for its cash value, or subject to replacement with
a new gift certificate at no cost to the purchaser or holder.
   (2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), any gift certificate with a
cash value of less than ten dollars ($10) is redeemable in cash for
its cash value.
   (c) A gift certificate sold without an expiration date is valid
until redeemed or replaced.
   (d) This section does not apply to any of the following gift
certificates issued on or after January 1, 1998, provided the
expiration date appears in capital letters in at least 10-point font
on the front of the gift certificate:
   (1) Gift certificates that are distributed by the issuer to a
consumer pursuant to an awards, loyalty, or promotional program
without any money or other thing of value being given in exchange for
the gift certificate by the consumer.
   (2) Gift certificates that are donated or sold below face value at
a volume discount to employers or to nonprofit and charitable
organizations for fundraising purposes if the expiration date on
those gift certificates is not more than 30 days after the date of
   (3) Gift certificates that are issued for perishable food
   (e) Paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) does not apply to a dormancy
fee on a gift card that meets all of the following criteria:
   (1) The remaining value of the gift card is five dollars ($5) or
less each time the fee is assessed.
   (2) The fee does not exceed one dollar ($1) per month.
   (3) There has been no activity on the gift card for 24 consecutive
months, including, but not limited to, purchases, the adding of
value, or balance inquiries.
   (4) The holder may reload or add value to the gift card.
   (5) A statement is printed on the gift card in at least 10-point
font stating the amount of the fee, how often the fee will occur,
that the fee is triggered by inactivity of the gift card, and at what
point the fee will be charged. The statement may appear on the front
or back of the gift card, but shall appear in a location where it is
visible to any purchaser prior to the purchase thereof.
   (f) An issuer of gift certificates may accept funds from one or
more contributors toward the purchase of a gift certificate intended
to be a gift for a recipient, provided that each contributor is
provided with a full refund of the amount that he or she paid toward
the purchase of the gift certificate upon the occurrence of all of
the following:
   (1) The funds are contributed for the purpose of being redeemed by
the recipient by purchasing a gift certificate.
   (2) The time in which the recipient may redeem the funds by
purchasing a gift certificate is clearly disclosed in writing to the
contributors and the recipient.
   (3) The recipient does not redeem the funds within the time
described in paragraph (2).
   (g) The changes made to this section by the act adding this
subdivision shall apply only to gift certificates issued on or after
January 1, 2004.
   (h) For purposes of this section, "cash" includes, but is not
limited to, currency or check. If accepted by both parties, an
electronic funds transfer or an application of the balance to a
subscriber's wireless telecommunications account is permissible.

1749.51.  Any waiver of the provisions of this title is contrary to
public policy, and is void and unenforceable.

1749.6.  (a) A gift certificate constitutes value held in trust by
the issuer of the gift certificate on behalf of the beneficiary of
the gift certificate. The value represented by the gift certificate
belongs to the beneficiary, or to the legal representative of the
beneficiary to the extent provided by law, and not to the issuer.
   (b) An issuer of a gift certificate who is in bankruptcy shall
continue to honor a gift certificate issued prior to the date of the
bankruptcy filing on the grounds that the value of the gift
certificate constitutes trust property of the beneficiary.
   (c) (1) This section does not alter the terms of a gift
certificate. The terms of a gift certificate may not make its
redemption or other use invalid in the event of a bankruptcy.
   (2) This section does not require, unless otherwise required by
law, the issuer of a gift certificate to:
   (A) Redeem a gift certificate for cash.
   (B) Replace a gift certificate that has been lost or stolen.
   (C) Maintain a separate account for the funds used to purchase the
gift certificate.
   (d) (1) This section does not create an interest in favor of the
beneficiary of the gift certificate in any specific property of the
   (2) This section does not create a fiduciary or quasi-fiduciary
relationship between the beneficiary of the gift certificates and the
issuer, unless otherwise provided by law.
   (3) The issuer of a gift certificate has no obligation to pay
interest on the value of the gift certificate held in trust under
this section, unless otherwise provided by law.

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