California Gift Certificates

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Quick Summary

  • A business cannot sell gift certificates with an expiration date, except for certain exceptions.

  • A consumer cannot waive the no-expiration date requirement.

  • New rules effective January 1, 2004, prohibit gift certificates with service fees.

General Rule: No Expiration Dates for Gift Certificates

Except for three narrow exceptions, gift certificates in California cannot have an expiration date.

Gift certificates must be redeemable in cash for its cash value, or be replaced with a new certificate at no cost to the consumer.

New rules and limitations applicable to service fees come into effect on January 1, 2004.

More Information is Available with a Premium Subscription


  • Text of California statutes


  • Analysis of new laws effective January 1, 2004, and reasons for new law



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