Clarke Insurance Agency Provides Local Businesses with Tips to Distribute Gift Certificates Legally in the Wake of the New Jersey Court Decision

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New regulations on gift certificate usage prompts local insurance agency to offer tips.

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The state of New Jersey recently made a court decision, which prevents individual restaurants from denying patrons gift cards and gift certificates after one year. This issue was brought to light when two New Jersey residents sued Illinois-based Restaurant.com because the residents had bought coupons for discounted meals from 2007 to 2009 that included wording that they would expire after one year. However, under New Jersey law, gift certificates must be valid for two years. This outcome could move to a nationwide class-action lawsuit dealing with online gift certificates for restaurants. This is because online purchases of gift certificates or coupons are written consumer contracts, all subject to state law.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), the laws in New Jersey state that the expiration date of a gift card/certificate cannot be less than 24 months after the date of the sale. In addition, the terms regarding the funds associated with a gift card sold on or after December 1, 2012 are valid until redemption and will not expire. Therefore, whether a consumer purchases a gift card/certificate online or offline, he/she is entitled to the same protections as for other "tangible" or "intangible" property.

The agents at Clarke Insurance Agency want to make sure that both restaurants and other local businesses providing gift cards or certificates to customers understand the requirements to do so. In order to avoid liability or legally issues, the team here is offering the community tips on how to distribute these goods without any trouble:

  •     Understand that a gift card transaction online must include all the features of a contract, such as an offer, acceptance, consideration, and performance by both parties.
  •     Gift cards/certificates should not contain expiration dates or service fees.
  •     A gift certificate or card sold by a seller that seeks bankruptcy may still be used if the holder makes a claim against the bankruptcy estate.
  •     When customers purchase gift certificates, provide them with the redemption policy right up front. It can also be indicated on the receipt so terms are made clear.
  •     If a client has a low balance left on a card, suggest he/she makes a purchase with it and pay the difference out of pocket.
  •     Offer customers the policies on returning merchandise to the store after using a gift card.

Clarke Insurance Agency hopes these tips help both business owners and consumers understand their rights when it comes to gift cards. Although it is important to take safety precautions, having business insurance is also a great safeguard in case of liability or legal issues. This coverage package can be designed to meet specific industry needs, and the agents here will be by your side throughout the entire process. For more information, contact them today at 877-477-1265.

About Clarke Insurance Agency:

Since 1979, individuals, businesses and families all across the state of New Jersey have put their trust in the qualified agents at Clarke Insurance Agency. It is the combination of service, affordability and personal attention that makes the agency a successful option for anyone looking for insurance. The agency’s staff can help with traditional policies as well as specialized policies. All New Jersey residents need to do is to give them a call. A personalized insurance experience that will enhance the value of all of life’s assets is just a call or click away with the modernized insurance shopping experience Clarke Insurance Agency can provide. The agency also serves communities in Pennsylvania.

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Jenn Nottage
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