By The Lone Ranger - 05/10/2010 07:43 - United States
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Check with your state law and see if it's illegal for gift cards to expire; most states have changed it so it is illegal for them to expire, I believe.
A gift certificate can expire if it was not purchased from the store, but rather was donated by the store. If that's the case, the store isn't obligated to honor the certificate forever, but is wise to set an expiration date so the liability can be written off the store books after a certain date.
In some places, a gift card won't technically expire, but a certain amount is deducted from your balance each month, past a set time frame. For example, if I buy a Visa gift card at Walmart, I get one year of free usage. If I haven't used it after a year, I can either liquidate the card for a fee, or "pay" 90 cents a month to keep it valid, through a balance deduction. It's pretty sneaky. OP specified a gift certificate, though, not a card. If it's a small business, they may honor it anyway. If not, I'd be knocking on my supervisor's door.