Gift Certificate Trouble
Help Me Hank: Gift Certificate Trouble
Susan Therriault's husband isn't home right now, so we can gossip just a little about his bookshelf misadventures.
"Maybe he's learned his lesson," Therriault said.
He knows Susan carefully organizes all their gift certificates in a special box.
"We just got married so we got a lot of different certificates," Therriault said.
But Christmas of Ď01, when Brian got $50 of online freebies from his brother-in-law, did he put the gift certificate into the special box? No.
"This one got lost in the shuffle," Therriault said.
Years passed, memories of the certificate faded, but more than three years later, while searching for a favorite passage in a favorite book, they found it!
"Its enough, its fifty dollars," Therriault said.
So Susan hopped online to cyber-spend the newfound $50. She typed in the proper numbers, but got bad news instead.
"It treated it like nothing had happened, like I still needed to pay," Therriault said.
That's when Susan noticed the expiration date.
"I was really disappointed," Therriault said.
But Susan knows her consumer stuff and knew Mass. law requires gift certificates be good for at least seven years.
"It just seemed really odd to me," Therriault said.
But law or not, the company still wouldn't accept the certificate.
"I felt I was just an individual who had no power," Therriault said.
So how do you give new life to what was looking like a worthless piece of paper?
"I called channel 7," Therriault said.
Time to check with the attorney general's office, they told us online stores must follow the same gift certificate rules as other stores in the state. Thatís why you'll see fine print saying things like "the expiration date is not applicable in states where it is prohibited by law." In other words, like in Massachusetts.
We explained the situation to the cyber store and reminded them of Massachusettsís rules.
And as a result, Susanís back in business, reinstated full-value certificate now safely stashed till she decides what to buy and as for her husband.
"I thought he should let me keep the gift certificates," Therriault said.
Massachusetts has lots of very specific regulations about gift certificates and their expirations; sometimes they can be good forever!
Find out all the Massachusetts gift certificate rules by clicking here.
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