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Contra Costa Times: The gift certificates that give forever

Michael Liedtke reports on the California state law the prohibits expiration dates on most gift certificates in California.

Since 1997, state law has prohibited expiration dates on most gift certificates in California. Still, many merchants keep adding warnings that threaten to wipe out the value if they’re not used by a certain date. “Retailers are still out there trying to skin the public,” said Myron “Mike” Klarfeld, a San Diego lawyer who helped write California’s law against gift card expirations.

The alleged violations have spurred a flurry of class-action lawsuits filed by Klarfeld and other lawyers who want the courts to ensure Californians can use gift certificates at their leisure.

A lot of money is at stake, with the rise of prepaid debit cards turning gift certificates into increasingly popular items. Shoppers nationwide are expected to spend somewhere between $20 billion and $30 billion on gift certificates this year.

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