ESCHEAT AND GIFT CARD LAWS: MAINE

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MAINE

Definition of Gift Card/Gift Certificate:

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 33, §1952

“Gift obligation” means an obligation of a business association arising from a transaction between the business association and a consumer to provide goods or services at a future date. This includes, but is not limited to, a gift certificate, gift card, on-line gift account or other representation or evidence of the obligation.

“Prefunded bank card” means a device issued by a financial organization that enables the holder to transfer the underlying funds to multiple merchants at the merchants’ point-of-sale terminals. For purposes of this subsection, “underlying funds” means the funds received by the financial organization that issued the card in exchange for the issuance of the card. A prefunded bank card must provide value from multiple merchants.

“Stored-value card” means a record evidencing a promise, made for consideration, by the seller or issuer of the record that goods or services will be provided to the owner of the record to the value shown in the record and includes, but is not limited to, a record that contains a microprocessor chip, magnetic stripe or other means for the storage of information, that is prefunded and for which the value is decreased upon each use.

Expiration Date Provision:

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 33, §1953(G)

A period of limitation may not be imposed on the owner’s right to redeem the gift obligation or stored-value card. This paragraph does not apply to prefunded bank cards.

 

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 33, §1953(G-1)

A period of limitation may not be imposed on the owner’s right to redeem the prefunded bank card

Fee Provision:

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 33, §1953(G)

Prohibits fees or charges on gift obligations or stored-value cards, except that the issuer may charge a transaction fee for the initial issuance and for each occurrence of adding value to an existing gift obligation or stored-value card. These transaction fees must be disclosed in a separate writing prior to the initial issuance or referenced on the gift obligation or stored-value card.

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 33, §1956

A holder may deduct from property presumed abandoned a charge imposed by reason of the owner’s failure to claim the property within a specified time only if there is a valid and enforceable written contract between the holder and the owner under which the holder may impose the charge and the holder regularly imposes the charge, which is not regularly reversed or otherwise canceled. The amount of the deduction is limited to an amount that is not unconscionable. Nothing in this section prevents the holder from deducting fees or charges in lieu of those fees or charges related to the owner’s failure to claim the property within a specified period of time when such fees or charges are deducted from the property before the date the property is presumed abandoned. This paragraph does not apply to prefunded bank cards.

Redeemable for Cash: 

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 33, §1953(G)

Beginning November 1, 2008, if the gift obligation or stored-value card is redeemed in person and a balance of less than $5 remains following redemption, at the consumer’s request the merchant redeeming the gift obligation or stored‐value card must refund the balance in cash to the consumer. This subparagraph does not apply to a prepaid telephone service card, a gift obligation or nonreloadable stored‐value card with an initial value of $5 or less or a stored-value card that is not purchased but provided as a promotion or as a refund for merchandise returned without a receipt. This paragraph does not apply to prefunded bank cards.

Escheat Provision:

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 33, §1953(G)

A gift obligation or stored-value card is presumed abandoned if it is unclaimed by the apparent owner two years after Dec. 31 of the year in which the obligation or the most recent transaction involving the obligation or stored-value card occurred, whichever is later, including the initial issuance and any subsequent addition of value to the obligation or stored‐value card.

(1) The amount unclaimed is 60 percent of the gift obligation’s or stored-value card’s face value.

(2) A gift obligation or stored‐value card sold on or after Dec. 31, 2011 is not presumed abandoned if the gift obligation or stored‐value card was sold by a single issuer who in the past calendar year sold no more than $250,000 in face value of gift obligations or stored‐value cards. Sales of gift obligations and stored‐value cards are considered sales by a single issuer if the sales were by businesses that operate either: (a) Under common ownership or control with another business or businesses in the state; or (b) As franchised outlets of a parent business.

(3) A period of limitation may not be imposed on the owner’s right to redeem the gift obligation or stored-value card. This paragraph does not apply to prefunded bank cards.

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 33, §1953(G-1)

A prefunded bank card, three years after December 31st of the year in which the obligation or the most recent activity involving the prefunded bank card occurred, whichever is later, including the initial issuance and any subsequent addition of value to the prefunded bank card.

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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