ESCHEAT AND GIFT CARD LAWS: MICHIGAN

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MICHIGAN

Definition of Gift Card/Gift Certificate:

Mich. Comp. Laws §445.903e

“Gift certificate” means a written promise or a gift card or other electronic payment device that meets all of the following: 1) Is usable at a single retailer, is usable at an affiliated group of retailers that share the same name, mark, or logo, or is usable at multiple, unaffiliated retailers or service providers. 2) Is issued in a specified amount. 3) May or may not be increased in value or reloaded. 4) Is purchased or loaded on a prepaid basis for the future purchase or delivery or goods or services. 5) Is honored upon presentation.

“Gift certificate” does not include any of the following: (a) A general use, prepaid card or other electronic payment device that is issued or sponsored by a financial institution in a predetermined amount and is usable at multiple, unaffiliated retailers or at automated teller machines. As used in this subdivision, “financial institution” means a bank, bank and trust, national bank, savings bank, savings and loan association, credit union, or money transmitter organized under the laws of this state, another state, the District of Columbia, the United States, or any territory or protectorate of the United States and their respective subsidiaries, affiliates, or holding companies. (b) An electronic payment device linked to a deposit account. (c) A prepaid telephone calling card regulated under state or federal law or a card used in connection with prepaid wireless telephone service. (d) An electronic payment device used to access an account from which an individual may pay medical expenses, health care expenses, dependent care expenses, or similar expenses on a pretax basis under the Internal Revenue Code, 26 USC 1 to 1789, or regulations adopted pursuant to the internal revenue code. (e) A prepaid discount card or program used to purchase identified goods or services at a price or percentage below the normal and customary price, if any expiration date of the prepaid discount card or program is clearly and conspicuously disclosed. (f) A payroll card or other electronic payment device linked to a deposit account and given in exchange for goods or services rendered. (g) A gift certificate sold below face value or at a volume discount to an employee, to a nonprofit or charitable organization, or to an educational institution for fund-raising purposes. (h) A gift certificate distributed to a consumer or employee pursuant to an awards, rewards, loyalty, or promotional program, if the consumer or employee is not required to give consideration for the gift certificate. (i) An electronic credit voucher issued by a person that holds a certificate issued under chapter 411 of title 49 of the U.S. Code, 49 USC 41101 to 41113, or a permit issued under chapter 413 of title 49 of the U.S. Code, 49 USC 41301 to 41313.

Expiration Date Provision:

Mich. Comp. Laws §445.903g

A person engaged in the retail sale of goods or services shall not sell a gift certificate to a consumer that expires within a period of less than five years.

Fee Provision:

Mich. Comp. Laws §445.903f

A person engaged in the retail sale of goods and services shall not charge an inactivity fee or other service fee to a customer for the possession or use of a gift certificate.

As used in this section, “service fee” does not include any fee charged to and paid by a consumer in connection with the sale of a gift certificate, unless the fee is deducted or debited from the face value of the gift certificate.

Escheat Provision:

Mich. Comp. Laws §567.235

(1) Except as provided in subsection (4), a gift certificate, gift card, or credit memo is presumed abandoned if either of the following apply: (a) The certificate, card, or memo is not claimed or used for a period of five years after becoming payable or distributable. (b) The certificate, card, or memo was used or claimed one or more times without exhausting its full value, but subsequently was not claimed or used for an uninterrupted period of five years.

(2) For purposes of subsection (1), a gift certificate or gift card is considered to have been claimed or used if there is any transaction processing activity on the gift certificate or gift card including, but not limited to, redeeming, refunding, or adding value to the certificate or card. Activity initiated by the issuer of the certificate or card, including, but not limited to, assessing inactivity fees or similar service fees, does not constitute transaction processing activity for purposes of this subsection.

(3) In the case of a gift certificate or gift card, the owner is presumed to be a gift recipient of the gift certificate or gift card, and the amount presumed abandoned is the price paid by the purchaser for the gift certificate or gift card, less the total of any purchases or fees assessed against the certificate or card. In the case of a credit memo, the amount presumed abandoned is the amount credited to the recipient of the memo.

(4) This act does not apply to a gift certificate as defined in §3e of the Michigan consumer protection act, 1976 PA 331, MCL 445.903e, that is issued for retail goods or services by a person engaged in the retail sale of goods or services.

SOURCE: National Conference of State Legislatures


PLEASE NOTE:  Please note the summaries should be used for general informational purposes and not as a legal reference. DropZone Marketing is unable to answer questions or provide guidance to business owners regarding gift cards and gift certificate laws and practices. If you have questions regarding issuing or redeeming a gift card or gift certificate or a retailer’s practices, please contact the Office of the Attorney General in your state.

About James La Barrie

James La Barrie is passionate about marketing and changing a company's service culture. Originally from the Caribbean island of Antigua, James melds his approach of marketing and delivering elite service together as one. James has injected his 'service marketing' approach throughout his career to transform companies from good to great.

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