Senator Fuschillo Spurs Action By Attorney General Regarding Gift Card Law

Charles J. Fuschillo Jr.

February 04, 2005

Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (8th Senate District) announced that, in response to a request he made along with Senator Dean G. Skelos (9th Senate District), New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer is taking action against mall operator Simon Property Group. The two legislators requested an investigation by the Attorney General after they discovered that Simon Property Group had been violating recently enacted gift card protections.

In their request to the Attorney General, Senator Fuschillo and Senator Skelos provided information which showed that Simon Property Group had continued to charge a $2.50 monthly fee on gift cards sold over the internet and in the malls that it operates only seven months after purchase. These fees, which diminish the value of a gift card, are commonly referred to as dormancy fees and are now banned for an entire year on any unused gift card under the new law authored by Senator Fuschillo and Senator Skelos.

"The intent of this law, which has been in effect since last October, is to make sure that individuals who buy gift cards know that their purchase will retain its value," said Senator Fuschillo. "These actions will show consumers that every effort is being made to protect their rights and to ensure that businesses in the state comply with the law."

The Attorney General filed suit against Simon Property Group charging that the company is violating two provisions of the gift card law. In addition to the illegal monthly charge, the Attorney General discovered that Simon Property Group did not comply with the full disclosure portion of the gift card laws by neglecting to print a $5 fee the company charges for lost or stolen gift cards on the actual gift card.

The full disclosure gift card law, which Senator Fuschillo and Senator Skelos also co-authored, requires retailers to clearly state all the terms and conditions regarding gift cards and gift certificates. These terms and conditions, by law, must include certain information on the gift card itself including any expiration date, any fees and whether a replacement will be issued for lost, stolen or destroyed gift cards and certificates.

"The actions taken by Attorney General Eliot Spitzer in response to our joint request regarding whether Simon Property Group was violating New York's gift card law are appreciated," stated Senator Fuschillo. "When we amended the law, the intent was to ensure that consumers receive the full value of a gift card and that their rights under the law would be protected. I applaud the Attorney General for his actions today."

Locally, Simon Property Group operates the Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City, the Source Mall in Westbury, the Walt Whitman Mall in Huntington Station and the Smithhaven Mall in Lake Grove. Anyone who would like to file a complaint about gift card violations is encouraged to contact the Attorney General’s office by calling (800) 771-7755 or by visiting Senator Fuschillo’s website at andclick on the link in the Senate Update section.