Is it illegal for gift cards to expire in Maine?

One of the most popular items in the United States to give away during holidays, birthdays, and other key life events is a gift card. A gift card can take several different forms. Some gift cards are brand specific, some are temporary debit cards, and some are for a specific restaurant or business. When you give someone a gift card, you want to make sure they can use that gift however they want. So, is it illegal for gift cards to expire in Maine?

Gift card isolated on white background. 3d rendering


Under Maine law, gift cards cannot have an expiration date

According to, regardless of business type, if a gift card or gift certificate is issued in Maine, it cannot have an expiration date. Some retailers and gift card distributors nationwide have disputed this over the past few years, but these disputes have almost always been in favor of the consumer.

If you don’t use your specific gift card within two years, it could become unclaimed property

A headache for businesses that distribute gift cards and certificates is the unclaimed property rule. If a business gives out $250,000 or more in gift cards each year, the business is required to keep track of those gift cards and their usage. If a person does not redeem their gift card from this business within 2 years, the business must return the value of that gift card to the State of Maine as unclaimed property. That doesn’t mean you can’t use that gift card after 2 years, but it can cause a lot of headaches for small businesses.

Young man shopping with credit card and laptop


Can I get my gift card back if I haven’t used it within 2 years?

In most cases, companies do not assign names when giving out gift cards. Ultimately, if there is no specific right to ownership of a gift card, the value of the card is forfeited to the State of Maine after the 2 year window. A condition of the rule is that if you visit a business after the 2 year mark and redeem your gift card, the business is required to recover the value of the gift card from the state.

Susan’s Vineyard

Susan’s Vineyard

What happens to gift cards from a business that has closed?

There are two options for getting your money back on gift cards after a business has closed permanently. If the business files for bankruptcy, you can file a claim in the federal court system for compensation. Unfortunately, you’re unlikely to see any money back. For a business that is permanently closing in Maine and not filing for bankruptcy, you can file a formal complaint with the Maine Attorney General’s Office and they may be able to help you.

Bankruptcy law books with court gavel


12 Restaurants and Bars in Maine with Something Fun to Do While You Eat and Drink

Personally, I like a place that not only offers good food and drink, but also something to do while I’m enjoying those things, especially when I’m with a group of friends. Here are a few places in Maine that offer activities while you sip and dine:

WATCH: Here are the pets banned in each state

Since the regulation of exotic pets is left to the states, some organizations, including the Humane Society of the United States, are advocating for standardized federal legislation that would prohibit the ownership of large cats, bears, primates, and large poisonous snakes as pets.

Read on to see which pets are banned in your home country, as well as nationwide.

Michael N. Clark