Sunday, January 20th, 2019

State Senate passes gift card information bill


Today the Wisconsin State Senate passed a bill unanimously that requires retailers selling gift cards provide “a conspicuous disclosure of any expiration date that applies to the gift obligation and the terms and amount of any service charge that apply to the gift obligation.” The bill now goes to the State Assembly.

Little noticed in the bill is a requirement that the Wisconsin Department of Commerce provide a letter from the State of Wisconsin providing additional information regarding the purchase and use of retailer gift cards. The Wigderson Library & Pub has acquired a photocopy of the actual letter from the State of Wisconsin, pictured at right. Below is the content of the letter.

Dear Thoughtless Gift Giver:

Since you were too lazy or inconsiderate to buy an actual gift for the occasion, the State of Wisconsin has decided to remind you of the following important information regarding the giving and the use of retailer gift cards:

1. Did you think that the recipient might lose the card? Did you? Huh, huh?
2. Now the recipient knows exactly how much they mean to you, a lousy 25 bucks.
3. Barnes and Noble brownies and coffee cost much more than you put on the card.
4. There may be some service charges and a reduction in value over time, or even an expiration date. In other words, when the recipient finds the card buried in their purse or wallet leftover from whatever holiday and they happen to be passing the store that it is good for, the card will be worthless.
5. Some gift cards require the retailer to beat the card user with a stick.
6. It’s not the same as buying an actual engagement ring.
7. Recipient may break a nail pulling gift card out of their purse or wallet causing them to sue you and the retailer for millions of bucks. This is, after all, “no cap” Wisconsin.
8. Gift cards fill up valuable landfill space. Local governments may impose service “fees” as a result. 9. Nothing says romance like a Valentine with a McDonald’s gift card inside.
10. You’ll be forced to make a decision, paper or plastic?
11. Some retailers will not allow sales taxes to be paid with a gift card, so include a little cash in the envelope.
12. Gift cards not covered by campaign finance law. However, gift cards for buying a member of the legislature are not the same as those used to buy the governor. Look for the tribal emblem on the governor gift card.
13. All gift cards sold in Wisconsin now made with 10% ethanol.
14. Wear clean underwear.

Thank you for taking the time to read this important consumer information. Remember, your state government loves you and cares for you and wants to protect you from anything that can ruin your day.

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