AmEx Pulls Gift Cards Out of N.J.
American Express has yanked its network-branded gift cards from all New Jersey retailer outlets in response to a state law that lets New Jersey appropriate funds from unused gift cards. AmEx says it took this action because it cannot meet the statute’s requirement that retailers collect the ZIP codes of customers who buy AmEx-branded gift cards at the point of sale. “Because American Express sells its gift cards through third-party independent retail partners, we are not able to ensure compliance with that part of the law,” says AmEx’s Vanessa McCutchen. “As a result, we cannot conduct any third-party sales, such as those through retail locations, financial institutions, and third-party selling Web sites, of our gift cards in [New Jersey].” Currently working its way through the New Jersey legislature is a bill to roll back the law’s gift card provisions, including removing gift cards from the category of escheatable property and banning the assignment of expiration dates to any gift cards sold in New Jersey. The state was sued by the New Jersey Retail Merchants Association, in conjunction with AmEx and the New Jersey Food Council, over the unclaimed property ordinance. The plaintiffs argued that the disclosure mandates on gift card purchases stipulated by the law would be too expensive and time consuming to fulfill, and result in the elimination of gift card programs in New Jersey by both providers and merchants.
From “AmEx Pulls Gift Cards Out of N.J.”
Green Sheet (04/03/12)