California Law About Cash for Gift cards

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Old Oct 24, 16, 3:13 pm
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California Law About Cash for Gift cards

If there's a thread for this already, sorry, I didn't see it. I was recently at a store and they had a sign at the register that said "California law states that if any gift card balance is under $10, then the store has to give you that balance in cash if you request it." I didn't know this before, and I never saw such a sign at any store.
In theory, we could buy a gift card for $9.99 on a credit card, and then immediately ask for it back in cash. It's a very slow way to MS 9.99 at a time, but if you find a way to do it quickly and multiple times...
Do other states have such laws?

Last edited by cheaptom; Oct 24, 16 at 4:21 pm
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Old Oct 24, 16, 3:50 pm
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Originally Posted by cheaptom View Post
If there's a thread for this already, sorry, I didn't see it. I was recently at a store and they had a sign at the register that said "California states that if any gift card balance is under $10, then the store has to give you that balance in cash if you request it." I didn't know this before, and I never saw such a sign at any store.
In theory, we could buy a gift card for $9.99 on a credit card, and then immediately ask for it back in cash. It's a very slow way to MS 9.99 at a time, but if you find a way to do it quickly and multiple times...
Do other states have such laws?
True, the law is for some years now.

What store gift card can u buy under $10?
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Old Oct 24, 16, 4:01 pm
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Originally Posted by prasha11 View Post
True, the law is for some years now.

What store gift card can u buy under $10?
Many stores give you a blank card and you refill the balance, such as Best Buy, Starbucks, fast foods and even Target. I'm sure there's plenty more.
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Old Oct 24, 16, 5:24 pm
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Accurate, but hard to scale enough to be worthwhile.
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Old Oct 24, 16, 5:25 pm
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Many states have this law, but the amount varies. In some places it's $5 or less.

I don't think it's useful for MS because it doesn't scale well and is far too labor-intensive. lso, it's easy for the store to stop selling you gift cards if they realize what you're doing.
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Old Oct 24, 16, 5:41 pm
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"Sorry sir, I only had $10 cash in the drawer. I guess you'll have to come back tomorrow."

Also have you considered the fee to purchase a bunch of 9.99 GCs?
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Old Oct 24, 16, 6:44 pm
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Originally Posted by perkunas View Post
"Sorry sir, I only had $10 cash in the drawer. I guess you'll have to come back tomorrow."

Also have you considered the fee to purchase a bunch of 9.99 GCs?
There's no fee to purchase a store linked gift card
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Old Oct 25, 16, 1:13 pm
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If anyone is interested (doubtful), the amount in Washington State is $5.

Revised Code of Washington 19.240.020
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Old Oct 25, 16, 3:44 pm
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Originally Posted by Steve in Olympia View Post
If anyone is interested (doubtful), the amount in Washington State is $5.

Revised Code of Washington 19.240.020
In WA you have to buy that gets the card under $5. In CA, there are no stipulations other than the GC is below $10.

I used to comb GiftCardWiki for cards under $10 and cash them out but recently stopped because it was too much trouble and not enough reward.

Technically this is the law, however, many merchants follow it only reluctantly or not at all.

-Some stores only let you do one per day, which is hardly scalable.
-You could end up with "Store credit" that's not cashable at a store that you have no interest in spending money at.
-I took a bunch of cards to GAP on day to cash them out and was allowed to do so, however, the clerk who did it for me had to enter my name, address, DL #, phone, email, and probably some other info too into the system once per card, to the point that she could say it by heart after I was done cashing out the 13 cards, which made me a tiny bit uncomfortable.
-I waited 45 minutes at one Whole Foods while they tried to figure out how to do it.
-Steak 'n Shake would not do it, in fact, when I asked to speak with the manger about why they weren't in compliance with CA law, the manager promptly went home so she was unavailable to speak to me (I wasn't told this directly but it was extremely obvious by the way the people in the store were conducting themselves). A letter to the CA attorney general has been thusfar unanswered.
-A manager at Target told me that she understood that what I was doing was legit (buying $5 GCs and cashing them out) but she couldn't continue to allow it because there were tons of people coming in with stolen CCs buying lots of $5 GCs and cashing them out.
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Old Oct 25, 16, 9:11 pm
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Hmmmm...low value discounted gift cards bought in volume online through a portal to hit a spend bonus level (or meet a nonpin debit transaction elevated interest rate level) and then carted to California for cash unloading...




Originally Posted by prasha11 View Post
True, the law is for some years now.

What store gift card can u buy under $10?
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Old Oct 25, 16, 11:10 pm
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Originally Posted by 1353513636 View Post
-Steak 'n Shake would not do it, in fact, when I asked to speak with the manger about why they weren't in compliance with CA law, the manager promptly went home so she was unavailable to speak to me ...
At Jack in the Box, the cashiers don't know how to do it, but you can call Jack in the Box customer service and they'll mail you a check.

That general rule probably applies to other places (maybe Steak 'n Shake); cashiers often don't know how to do it, but you can call someone who does.
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Old Nov 1, 16, 2:43 pm
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Originally Posted by sbft77 View Post
At Jack in the Box, the cashiers don't know how to do it, but you can call Jack in the Box customer service and they'll mail you a check.

That general rule probably applies to other places (maybe Steak 'n Shake); cashiers often don't know how to do it, but you can call someone who does.
Yeah, here's an interesting undercover piece about cashiers not knowing the law:
http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2014/...rd-refund-law/

California has some kind of hotline or task force that you can call to report this stuff. Personally, I wouldn't call a state official to report that a 16-year-old fast food worker tried to cheat me out of a few bucks, but I suppose if no one ever reported it, no one would ever know.
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Old Nov 1, 16, 4:26 pm
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Originally Posted by cheaptom View Post
Yeah, here's an interesting undercover piece about cashiers not knowing the law:
http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2014/...rd-refund-law/
That seems kinda silly to me. I don't think the law requires every front line cashier to be capable of giving a refund. Calling a customer service number to get the refund is less convenient, but still seems reasonable to me.
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Old Nov 4, 16, 4:55 pm
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Expecting that anyone running a cash register at a fast food joint will be familiar with consumer protection law seems unreasonable to me.
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Old Nov 4, 16, 5:17 pm
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Originally Posted by nwflyboy View Post
Expecting that anyone running a cash register at a fast food joint will be familiar with consumer protection law seems unreasonable to me.
Yeah and even if they know about the law, it's not like many cashiers have the ability to open their drawer and hand out cash.
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