Gift Certificate Expiration Act

It is against California law to put time limits on gift certificates (with a few exceptions, including gift certificates for food, from nonprofit fundraisers, and from awards programs).


The California legislature passed Section 1749.5 of the California Civil Code stating that "On or after January 1, 1997, it is unlawful for any person or entity to sell a gift certificate to a purchaser containing an expiration date. Any gift certificate sold after that date shall be redeemable in cash for its cash value, or subject to replacement with a new gift certificate at no cost to the purchaser or holder."There are laws on the books to protect consumers in unscrupulous businesses such as the Consumer Legal Remedies Act, the California False Advertising Law, California Unfair Business Practices Act and the Gift Certificates Expiration Act. These address the issues of fraud, constructive trust, unjust enrichment, and a breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing.