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National Restaurant Association - New Jersey revamps gift-card law

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New Jersey revamps gift-card law

Gift-card holders soon will be able to request redemption in cash from New Jersey merchants for stored-value gift card balances that have fallen below $5, under amended gift-card rules signed into law by Gov. Chris Christie (R) in late June.

New Jersey's new cash-redemption requirement takes effect Sept. 1, and follows similar rules in effect in California and other states.

New Jersey's amended gift card law makes a number of other changes to address perceived shortcomings in a controversial 2010 gift-card law that was set to take effect in November 2010 but was challenged in court. Among the most unpopular parts of the 2010 law: A requirement that would have forced issuers of gift cards sold in New Jersey to collect at least the zip code of the owner or purchaser. The 2012 changes delay the requirement until July 29, 2016. Merchants and card issuers are expected to continue to push for full repeal of the mandate.

The amended law also increases to five years the period of inactivity required for a gift card to be considered "abandoned" under state tax law. Previously, gift cards in New Jersey were deemed abandoned after two years of inactivity. The longer abandonment period applies to gift cards issued after July 1, 2010.


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