Businesses sell gift cards with illegal expiration dates

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) – Our KCRG-TV9 i9 investigation team discovered that several companies were selling gift cards with illegal expiration dates.

Gift cards are always a popular gift during the holiday season. Problems with supply chains and slower delivery times have made the cards even more popular, Blackhawk Network Payment Service Survey. These cards cannot expire for at least five years, according to the Iowa attorney general’s office.

Some local businesses sell gift cards with an expiration date shorter than the requirement, such as Nelson’s Meat Market in Northeast Cedar Rapids. The meat market has issued a certificate, which expires in about a year.

Jonathan Moore, President of Nelson’s Meat Market at Cedar Rapids, said he knew gift cards couldn’t expire for at least five years. However, he said he was putting an expiration date to get people into the store and to prevent people from losing gift cards.

“We need them here,” Moore said. “We want them to come in here and sooner they will come in here after getting this card. The more they will buy, see what we have and spend more.

He said the store will continue to honor any gift cards as normal, regardless of age. However, the attorney general’s office said companies like Nelson’s Meat Market could charge an inactivity fee, which would take that balance, if not used in a year.

Ashlee Kieler, a spokesperson for the Iowa attorney general’s office, said it was common for local retailers to offer gift cards in good faith. Thus, he asks people to speak with the retailer before going through the complaint process.

Kirkwood College also distributes gift cards with illegal expiration dates. The community college sent TV9 a notice in December 2021 stating that a gift card purchased by the station in 2019 would expire on December 31, 2021. It offered to reissue the amount as a check by December 31.

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Michael N. Clark