|Passed by the House March 17, 2004|
Speaker of the House of Representatives
Passed by the Senate March 5, 2004
President of the Senate
I, Richard Nafziger, Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives of the State of Washington, do hereby certify that the attached is ENGROSSED HOUSE BILL 3036 as passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate on the dates hereon set forth.
Governor of the State of Washington
Secretary of State
State of Washington
|State of Washington||58th Legislature||2004 Regular Session|
Read first time 01/27/2004. Referred to Committee on Finance.
AN ACT Relating to gift certificates; amending RCW 63.29.010, 63.29.020, 63.29.140, and 63.29.170; adding a new chapter to Title 19 RCW; creating a new section; and providing effective dates.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
NEW SECTION. Sec. 1 It is the intent of the legislature to
relieve businesses from the obligation of reporting gift certificates
as unclaimed property. In order to protect consumers, the legislature
intends to prohibit acts and practices of retailers that deprive
consumers of the full value of gift certificates, such as expiration
dates, service fees, and dormancy and inactivity charges, on gift
certificates. The legislature does not intend that this act be
construed to apply to cards or other payment instruments issued for
payment of wages or other intangible property. To that end, the
legislature intends that this act should be liberally construed to
benefit consumers and that any ambiguities should be resolved by
applying the uniform unclaimed property act to the intangible property
NEW SECTION. Sec. 2 The definitions in this section apply
throughout this chapter unless the context clearly requires otherwise.
(1) "Artistic and cultural organization" has the same meaning as in RCW 82.04.4328.
(2) "Charitable organization" means an organization exempt from tax under section 501(c)(3) of the internal revenue code of 1986 (26 U.S.C. Sec. 501(c)(3)).
(3) "Fund-raising activity" has the same meaning as in RCW 82.04.3651.
(4) "Gift card" means a record as described in subsection (5) of this section in the form of a card, or a stored value card or other physical medium, containing stored value primarily intended to be exchanged for consumer goods and services.
(5) "Gift certificate" means an instrument evidencing a promise by the seller or issuer of the record that consumer goods or services will be provided to the bearer of the record to the value or credit shown in the record and includes gift cards.
(6) "Bearer" means a person with a right to receive consumer goods and services under the terms of a gift certificate, without regard to any fee, expiration date, or dormancy or inactivity charge.
(7) "Issue" means to sell or otherwise provide a gift certificate to any person, and includes reloading or adding value to an existing gift certificate.
(8) "Stored value" has the same meaning as in RCW 19.230.010.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 3 (1) Except as provided in sections 4 through
8 of this act, it is unlawful for any person or entity to issue, or to
enforce against a bearer, a gift certificate that contains:
(a) An expiration date;
(b) Any fee, including a service fee; or
(c) A dormancy or inactivity charge.
(2) If a gift certificate is issued with the sale of tangible personal property or services, the gift certificate is subject to subsection (1) of this section.
(3) If a purchase is made with a gift certificate for an amount that is less than the value of the gift certificate, the issuer must make the remaining value available to the bearer in cash or as a gift certificate at the option of the issuer. If after the purchase the remaining value of the gift certificate is less than five dollars, the gift certificate must be redeemable in cash for its remaining value on demand of the bearer. A gift certificate is valid until redeemed or replaced.
(4) This section does not require, unless otherwise required by law, the issuer of a gift certificate to replace a lost or stolen gift certificate.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 4 (1) It is lawful to issue, and to enforce
against the bearer, a gift certificate containing an expiration date
(a) The gift certificate is issued pursuant to an awards or loyalty program or in other instances where no money or other thing of value is given in exchange for the gift certificate.
(b) The gift certificate is donated to a charitable organization without any money or other thing of value being given in exchange for the gift certificate if the gift certificate is used by a charitable organization solely to provide charitable services.
(2) The expiration date must be disclosed clearly and legibly on any gift certificate described in subsection (1) of this section.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 5 It is lawful to issue, and to enforce
against the bearer, a gift card containing a dormancy or inactivity
(1) A statement is printed on the gift card in at least six-point font stating the amount of the charge, how often the charge will occur, and that the charge is triggered by inactivity of the gift card. The statement may appear on the front or back of the gift card, but shall appear in a location where it is visible to any purchaser before the purchase of the gift card;
(2) The remaining value of the gift card is five dollars or less each time the charge is assessed;
(3) The charge does not exceed one dollar per month;
(4) The charge can only be assessed when there has been no activity on the gift card for twenty-four consecutive months, including but not limited to, purchases, the adding of value, or balance inquiries;
(5) The bearer may reload or add value to the gift card; and
(6) After a dormancy or inactivity charge is assessed, the remaining value of the gift certificate is redeemable in cash on demand.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 6 It is lawful to issue, and to enforce
against the bearer, a gift certificate containing an expiration date
(1) The gift certificate is donated to a charitable organization and is used for fund-raising activities of a charitable organization, without any money or other thing of value being given in exchange for the gift certificate by the charitable organization;
(2) The expiration date is clearly and legibly printed on the front or face of the gift certificate, or printed on the back of the certificate in at least ten-point font; and
(3) The expiration date is at least one year from the date the gift certificate is issued by the charitable organization.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 7 It is lawful to issue, and to enforce
against the bearer, a gift certificate containing an expiration date
(1) The gift certificate is redeemable solely for goods or services provided in the state of Washington by artistic and cultural organizations;
(2) The expiration date is clearly and legibly printed on the front or face of the gift certificate, or printed on the back of the certificate in at least ten-point font;
(3) The expiration date is at least three years from the date the gift certificate is issued by the artistic and cultural organizations; and
(4) The unused value of the gift certificate at the time of expiration accrues solely to the benefit of artistic and cultural organizations.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 8 A requirement under sections 4 through 7 of
this act that a statement or expiration date be printed on a gift
certificate is satisfied if the statement appears as otherwise required
on a sticker permanently affixed to the gift certificate.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 9 An issuer is not required to honor a gift
certificate presumed abandoned under RCW 63.29.110, reported, and
delivered to the department of revenue in the dissolution of a business
NEW SECTION. Sec. 10 (1) A gift certificate constitutes value
held in trust by the issuer of the gift certificate on behalf of the
beneficiary of the gift certificate. The value represented by the gift
certificate belongs to the beneficiary, or to the legal representative
of the beneficiary to the extent provided by law, and not to the
(2) An issuer of a gift certificate who is in bankruptcy shall continue to honor a gift certificate issued before the date of the bankruptcy filing on the grounds that the value of the gift certificate constitutes trust property of the beneficiary.
(3) The terms of a gift certificate may not make its redemption or other use invalid in the event of a bankruptcy.
(4) This section does not require, unless otherwise required by law, the issuer of a gift certificate to:
(a) Redeem a gift certificate for cash;
(b) Replace a lost or stolen gift certificate; or
(c) Maintain a separate account for the funds used to purchase the gift certificate.
(5) This section does not create an interest in favor of the beneficiary of the gift certificate in any specific property of the issuer.
(6) This section does not create a fiduciary or quasi-fiduciary relationship between the beneficiary of the gift certificates and the issuer unless otherwise provided by law.
(7) The issuer of a gift certificate has no obligation to pay interest on the value of a gift certificate held in trust under this section, unless otherwise provided by law.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 11 This chapter does not apply to gift
certificates issued by financial institutions as defined in RCW
30.22.041 or their operating subsidiaries that are usable with multiple
unaffiliated sellers of goods or services.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 12 An agreement made in violation of the
provisions of this chapter is contrary to public policy and is void and
unenforceable against the bearer.
Sec. 13 RCW 63.29.010 and 1983 c 179 s 1 are each amended to read
As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:
(1) "Department" means the department of revenue established under RCW 82.01.050.
(2) "Apparent owner" means the person whose name appears on the records of the holder as the person entitled to property held, issued, or owing by the holder.
(3) "Attorney general" means the chief legal officer of this state referred to in chapter 43.10 RCW.
(4) "Banking organization" means a bank, trust company, savings bank, land bank, safe deposit company, private banker, or any organization defined by other law as a bank or banking organization.
(5) "Business association" means a nonpublic corporation, joint stock company, investment company, business trust, partnership, or association for business purposes of two or more individuals, whether or not for profit, including a banking organization, financial organization, insurance company, or utility.
(6) "Domicile" means the state of incorporation of a corporation and the state of the principal place of business of an unincorporated person.
(7) "Financial organization" means a savings and loan association, cooperative bank, building and loan association, or credit union.
(8) "Gift certificate" has the same meaning as in section 2 of this act.
(9) "Holder" means a person, wherever organized or domiciled, who is:
(a) In possession of property belonging to another,
(b) A trustee, or
(c) Indebted to another on an obligation.
(9))) (10) "Insurance company" means an association, corporation,
fraternal or mutual benefit organization, whether or not for profit,
which is engaged in providing insurance coverage, including accident,
burial, casualty, credit life, contract performance, dental, fidelity,
fire, health, hospitalization, illness, life (including endowments and
annuities), malpractice, marine, mortgage, surety, and wage protection
(10))) (11) "Intangible property" does not include contract
claims which are unliquidated but does include:
(a) Moneys, checks, drafts, deposits, interest, dividends, and income;
(b) Credit balances, customer overpayments, gift certificates, security deposits, refunds, credit memos, unpaid wages, unused airline tickets, and unidentified remittances, but does not include discounts which represent credit balances for which no consideration was given;
(c) Stocks, and other intangible ownership interests in business associations;
(d) Moneys deposited to redeem stocks, bonds, coupons, and other securities, or to make distributions;
(e) Liquidated amounts due and payable under the terms of insurance policies; and
(f) Amounts distributable from a trust or custodial fund established under a plan to provide health, welfare, pension, vacation, severance, retirement, death, stock purchase, profit sharing, employee savings, supplemental unemployment insurance, or similar benefits.
(11))) (12) "Last known address" means a description of the
location of the apparent owner sufficient for the purpose of the
delivery of mail.
(12))) (13) "Owner" means a depositor in the case of a deposit,
a beneficiary in case of a trust other than a deposit in trust, a
creditor, claimant, or payee in the case of other intangible property,
or a person having a legal or equitable interest in property subject to
this chapter or his legal representative.
(13))) (14) "Person" means an individual, business association,
state or other government, governmental subdivision or agency, public
corporation, public authority, estate, trust, two or more persons
having a joint or common interest, or any other legal or commercial
(14))) (15) "State" means any state, district, commonwealth,
territory, insular possession, or any other area subject to the
legislative authority of the United States.
(15))) (16) "Third party bank check" means any instrument drawn
against a customer's account with a banking organization or financial
organization on which the banking organization or financial
organization is only secondarily liable.
(16))) (17) "Utility" means a person who owns or operates for
public use any plant, equipment, property, franchise, or license for
the transmission of communications or the production, storage,
transmission, sale, delivery, or furnishing of electricity, water,
steam, or gas.
Sec. 14 RCW 63.29.020 and 2003 1st sp.s. c 13 s 1 are each
amended to read as follows:
(1) Except as otherwise provided by this chapter, all intangible property, including any income or increment derived therefrom, less any lawful charges, that is held, issued, or owing in the ordinary course of the holder's business and has remained unclaimed by the owner for more than three years after it became payable or distributable is presumed abandoned.
(2) Property, with the exception of unredeemed Washington state lottery tickets and unpresented winning parimutuel tickets, is payable and distributable for the purpose of this chapter notwithstanding the owner's failure to make demand or to present any instrument or document required to receive payment.
(3) This chapter does not apply to claims drafts issued by insurance companies representing offers to settle claims unliquidated in amount or settled by subsequent drafts or other means.
(4) This chapter does not apply to property covered by chapter 63.26 RCW.
(5) This chapter does not apply to used clothing, umbrellas, bags, luggage, or other used personal effects if such property is disposed of by the holder as follows:
(a) In the case of personal effects of negligible value, the property is destroyed; or
(b) The property is donated to a bona fide charity.
(6) This chapter does not apply to a gift certificate subject to the prohibition against expiration dates under section 3 of this act or to a gift certificate subject to sections 4 through 7 of this act. However, this chapter applies to gift certificates presumed abandoned under RCW 63.29.110.
Sec. 15 RCW 63.29.140 and 2003 1st sp.s. c 13 s 7 are each
amended to read as follows:
(1) A gift certificate or a credit memo issued in the ordinary course of an issuer's business which remains unclaimed by the owner for more than three years after becoming payable or distributable is presumed abandoned.
(2) In the case of a gift certificate, the amount presumed abandoned is the price paid by the purchaser for the gift certificate. In the case of a credit memo, the amount presumed abandoned is the amount credited to the recipient of the memo.
(3) A gift certificate that is presumed abandoned under this section may, but need not be, included in the report as provided under RCW 63.29.170(4). If a gift certificate that is presumed abandoned under this section is not timely reported as provided under RCW 63.29.170(4), sections 1 through 12 of this act apply to the gift certificate.
Sec. 16 RCW 63.29.170 and 2003 c 237 s 1 are each amended to read
(1) A person holding property presumed abandoned and subject to custody as unclaimed property under this chapter shall report to the department concerning the property as provided in this section.
(2) The report must be verified and must include:
(a) Except with respect to travelers checks and money orders, the name, if known, and last known address, if any, of each person appearing from the records of the holder to be the owner of property with a value of more than fifty dollars presumed abandoned under this chapter;
(b) In the case of unclaimed funds of more than fifty dollars held or owing under any life or endowment insurance policy or annuity contract, the full name and last known address of the insured or annuitant and of the beneficiary according to the records of the insurance company holding or owing the funds;
(c) In the case of the contents of a safe deposit box or other safekeeping repository or in the case of other tangible property, a description of the property and the place where it is held and where it may be inspected by the department, and any amounts owing to the holder;
(d) The nature and identifying number, if any, or description of the property and the amount appearing from the records to be due, but items with a value of fifty dollars or less each may be reported in the aggregate;
(e) The date the property became payable, demandable, or returnable, and the date of the last transaction with the apparent owner with respect to the property; and
(f) Other information the department prescribes by rule as necessary for the administration of this chapter.
(3) If the person holding property presumed abandoned and subject to custody as unclaimed property is a successor to other persons who previously held the property for the apparent owner or the holder has changed his or her name while holding the property, the holder shall file with the report all known names and addresses of each previous holder of the property.
(4) The report must be filed before November 1st of each year and shall include, except as provided in RCW 63.29.140(3), all property presumed abandoned and subject to custody as unclaimed property under this chapter that is in the holder's possession as of the preceding June 30th. On written request by any person required to file a report, the department may postpone the reporting date.
(5) After May 1st, but before August 1st, of each year in which a report is required by this section, the holder in possession of property presumed abandoned and subject to custody as unclaimed property under this chapter shall send written notice to the apparent owner at the last known address informing him or her that the holder is in possession of property subject to this chapter if:
(a) The holder has in its records an address for the apparent owner which the holder's records do not disclose to be inaccurate;
(b) The claim of the apparent owner is not barred by the statute of limitations; and
(c) The property has a value of more than seventy-five dollars.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 17 Sections 1 through 12 of this act
constitute a new chapter in Title
NEW SECTION. Sec. 18 Sections 1 through 12 of this act apply to:
(1) Gift certificates issued on or after July 1, 2004; and
(2) Those gift certificates presumed abandoned on or after July 1, 2004, and not reported as provided in RCW 63.29.170(4).
NEW SECTION. Sec. 19 Sections 13 and 14 of this act take effect
July 1, 2004.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 20 Sections 15 and 16 of this act take effect
January 1, 2005.