ESCHEAT AND GIFT CARD LAWS: MONTANA

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

MONTANA

Definition of Gift Card/Gift Certificate:

Mont. Code Ann. §30-14-102

“Gift certificate” means a record, including a gift card or stored value card, that is provided for paid consideration and that indicates a promise by the issuer or seller of the record that goods or services will be provided to the possessor of the record for the value that is shown on the record or contained within the record by means of a microprocessor chip, magnetic stripe, bar code, or other electronic information storage device. The consideration provided for the gift certificate must be made in advance. The value of the gift certificate is reduced by the amount spent with each use. A gift certificate is considered trust property of the possessor if the issuer or seller of the gift certificate declares bankruptcy after issuing or selling the gift certificate. The value represented by the gift certificate belongs to the possessor, to the extent provided by law, and not to the issuer or seller.

(b) The term does not include: (i) prepaid telecommunications and technology cards, including but not limited to prepaid telephone calling cards, prepaid technical support cards, and prepaid internet disks that have been distributed to or purchased by a consumer; (ii) a coupon provided to a consumer pursuant to any award, loyalty, or promotion program without any money or consideration being given in exchange for the card; or (iii) a gift certificate usable with multiple sellers of goods or services.

Expiration Date Provision:

Mont. Code Ann. §30-14-108(1)
A gift certificate is valid until redemption and does not terminate.

Fee Provision:

Mont. Code Ann. §30-14-108(3)
A gift certificate may not be reduced in value by any fee, including a dormancy fee.

Redeemable for Cash: 

Mont. Code Ann. §30-14-108(4)
If the original value of the gift certificate was more than $5 and the remaining value is less than $5 and the possessor requests cash for the remainder, the issuer or seller shall redeem the gift certificate for cash.

Escheat Provision:

Mont. Code Ann. §70-9-803(g)

A gift certificate is presumed abandoned three years after Dec. 31 of the year in which the certificate was sold, but if redeemable in merchandise only, the amount abandoned is considered to be 60 percent of the certificate’s face value. A gift certificate is not presumed abandoned if the gift certificate was sold by a person who in the past fiscal year sold no more than $200,000 in gift certificates, which amount must be adjusted by Nov. of each year by the inflation factor defined in §15-30-101. The amount considered abandoned for a person who sells more than the amount that triggers presumption of abandonment is the value of gift certificates greater than that trigger.

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.

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