The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is seeking public opinion on whether unclaimed property laws in Maine and Tennessee related to gift cards align with federal laws on gift card expiration dates.
“We are committed to gathering input before we make these kinds of decisions,” Richard Cordray, the director of the CFPB, said. “This notice gives the public an opportunity to comment on a decision that could affect how consumers use their gift cards.”
Federal law under the Electronic Fund Transfer Act and the CFPB’s Regulation E prohibit the sale of a gift card that is set to expire within five years after the card is issued or five years after funds are last loaded onto the card. Unclaimed property laws in Maine and Tennessee, however, mandate that certain types of gift cards are considered abandoned property if unused for a period of two years.
Under both provisions, the CFPB is required to respond to requests for determinations related to conflicts between federal and state laws. The EFTA requires that the agency evaluate not only whether the states’ laws are inconsistent with federal laws but also whether the states’ laws protect consumers more so than federal law.
The CFPB included a notice that summarizes the differing laws on gift cards at the state and federal levels and explains the factors that will be considered by the agency in making a determination.