Minnesota Law Review

Note, The Gift That Keeps on Taking: How Federal Banking Laws Prevent States from Enforcing Gift Card Laws

Every year, consumers purchase about $80 billion in gift cards, only to lose $8 billion loaded on those cards because of expiration dates and service fees that deplete the value of the cards. State legislators have tried to protect consumers by passing laws that would prohibit or limit the use of gift-card expiration dates and service fees, but the National Bank Act has undercut such laws. The federal law allows national banks to charge fees and impose expiration dates on the cards they issue. Because the National Bank Act is a federal law that preempts any conflicting state laws, state gift-card laws have no effect on gift cards issued by national banks. As a result, federal preemption allows gift-card issuers to circumvent state consumer protection laws by issuing their gift cards in conjunction with a national bank. Two recent cases heard in the circuit courts have, this Note argues, incorrectly allowed this consumer protection loophole created through the National Bank Act and the actions of some enterprising gift-card issuers because neither court considered congressional intent or that state gift-card laws are laws of general applicability to be applied to national banks. This Note proposes that Congress remove the loophole by passing a version of the Fair Gift Card Act that ensures consumers receive the full value of the gift cards they own.

:: View PDF

News & Events

  • Fall Submissions Open – Headnotes

    The Minnesota Law Review: Headnotes fall submissions period is open. For more information, please visit our submissions page. Share this: on Twitter on Facebook on Google+

  • Vol. 97 Piece Quoted in Mother Jones Article

    A recent Mother Jones article predicting how the Roberts Court would resolve King v. Burwell draws on How Business Fares in the Supreme Court from Volume 97. You can read the article here. Share this: on Twitter on Facebook on Google+

  • Welcome to De Novo

    For nearly one hundred years, the Minnesota Law Review has been a leader amongst academic legal publications. When Professor Henry J. Fletcher launched the journal in 1917, his goal was simple. It was to “contribute a little something to the systematic growth of the whole law.” Since then, the Law [...]

  • Minnesota Law Review Alum Remembered 45 Years After Death

    Minnesota Law Review alumnus Tom Cranna was honored at the Annual Banquet this Spring, 45 years after his death. Mr. Cranna was remembered for his contributions to the journal, the school, and the positive impact he had on his family and friends. The Devil’s Lake Journal published a memorial which [...]

  • Follow MLR on Twitter!

    The Minnesota Law Review is proud to announce that we are now on Twitter. Follow us @MinnesotaLawRev for information and updates concerning the petition period and deadlines, the opening and closing of article submissions, our 2014 Symposium: Offenders in the Community, and all other news concerning our authors and publications. [...]

Newsletter

cforms contact form by delicious:days