Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
SECTION 1. Section 14S of chapter 93 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2000 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out, in line 4, the word "five" and inserting in place thereof the following figure:- 7.
SECTION 2. Section 1 of chapter 200A of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out, in line 24, the words ", gift certificates".
SECTION 3. Section 5 of said chapter 200A, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out, in lines 5 and 6, the words ", including gift certificates and increments of any of them".
SECTION 4. Said chapter 200A is hereby further amended by inserting after section 5C the following section:-
Section 5D. A gift certificate, as defined in section 1 of chapter 255D, sold or offered to be sold shall be valid for not less than 7 years after its date of issuance. The date of issuance and the expiration date shall be clearly marked on its face, subject to section 75C of chapter 266; provided, however, that a gift certificate not clearly marked with an expiration date shall be redeemable in perpetuity. Once an expiration date has been reached, the issuer of the gift certificate shall not be subject to section 7. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, upon a gift certificate being redeemed for up to 90 per cent of its face value, a consumer shall make an election to receive the balance in cash or to continue with the gift certificate.
SECTION 5. Section 6B of said chapter 200A is hereby amended by striking out subsection (a), as appearing in the 2000 Official Edition, and inserting in place thereof the following subsection:-
(a) Subject to subsection (b) of this section and section 1A, a sum payable on a certified check, draft, cashier's check, treasurer's check, registered check or other similar written instrument, other than a third-party bank check, on which a person is directly liable shall be presumed abandoned under this section if it has been outstanding for more than 3 years from the date it was payable, or from the date of its issuance if payable on demand or, in the case of a traveler's checks, has been outstanding for more than 15 years or, in the case of a money order, has been outstanding for more than 7 years from the date of its issuance, unless the owner has within 3 years, or within 15 years in the case of a traveler's checks, or within 7 years in the case of a money order, corresponded in writing with the person concerning it, or otherwise indicated an interest as evidenced by a memorandum on file with the person. A new person shall be directly liable if it is the actual holder of the fund representing the face amount of such instrument at the time of presumed abandonment under this section.
SECTION 6. The definition of "Gift certificate" in section 1 of chapter 255D of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by adding the following sentence:- A gift certificate shall include an electronic card with a banked dollar value, a merchandise credit, a certificate where the issuer has received payment for the full face value for the future purchase or delivery of goods or services and any other medium that evidences the giving of consideration in exchange for the right to redeem the certificate, electronic card or other medium for goods, food, services, credit or money of at least an equal value.
SECTION 7. Chapter 266 of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking out section 75C, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 75C. Whoever sells or offers to sell a gift certificate as defined in section 1 of chapter 255D, which imposes a time limit of less than 7 years within which such certificate may be redeemed, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $300. This section shall not apply when the purchaser of the gift certificate is not obligated to pay for it until the time of use. Whoever, after having sold a gift certificate refuses to redeem the certificate before it has reached the expiration date, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $300.
SECTION 8. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, a gift certificate that has been issued but not redeemed as of the effective date of this act, shall expire 7 years after the gift certificate's date of issuance. If the date of issuance is not clearly marked on its face, the gift certificate shall be redeemable in perpetuity.