After 20 years, the Washington State legislature is considering changes to existing gift card legislature that is not friendly to businesses or consumers. HB 2094 and SB 5987 would change the “cash out” on gift cards from the current less than $5 to less than $50. HB 2095 and SB 5988 would require businesses to remit unused gift card balances to the state’s unclaimed property fund after a proposed three years.
Both changes put extra burdens on businesses and actually harm consumers. For example, right now, state law requires that there are no expiration dates on gift cards. With the new legislation, a gift card would expire after three years and the money would be turned over to the state. The consumer would have to file a claim with unclaimed property to get the value of the gift card back.
This legislation would apply to any business that sells gift cards (e.g., restaurants, salons, retail stores, etc.). If your business doesn’t sell gift cards but you use them as client gifts or donate to nonprofits or use them as fundraisers, the legislation could affect you too.
The Covington Chamber is following this issue closely and partnering with other Chambers around the state, the Association of Washington Business, and the Washington Retail Association to protect our businesses from burdensome legislation like this. We will host a free webinar in the next several weeks to provide more information and to tell you how you can get involved to fight this legislation.
Free Webinar, Jan. 16 @ 1 p.m.
Please join us on Tues., Jan. 16 for a free, 30-minute webinar to learn more about this issue and how we can actively oppose it. Our guest speakers will be Crystal Leatherman, Local & State Government Affairs Manager for Washington Retail Association and Emily Shay, Government Affairs Director, Tax & Fiscal Policy for the Association of Washington Business. Find out more details, including the Zoom link, on our Facebook event page.
Washington Hospitality Association Seeks Input on Gift Card Legislation
The Legislature has recently introduced two bills that change requirements related to gift cards. The Washington Hospitality Association is conducting a survey to determine how this proposed legislation will impact the overall business community.
The bills will:
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