It is Illegal for Gift Certificates to Expire
It is Illegal for Gift Certificates to Expire

You may be wondering if the value of your old and dusty gift certificate is still valid. In California, it is.

Under California law, it is unlawful to sell a gift certificate to a purchaser that contains an expiration date. See Cal. Civ. Code § 1749.5. Simply put, a gift certificate sold without an expiration date is valid until redeemed or replaced. Cal. Civ. Code § 1749.5(b). A similar federal law prohibits expiration periods shorter than five years. See Electronic Funds Transfer Act (the "EFTA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1693 et seq., and the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act (the "CARD Act"). These laws apply to in-store sales and also to sales on the Internet. These prohibitions also apply to both goods and services.

In the summer of 2017, the popular fitness company, SoulCycle, agreed to settle a nationwide putative class action alleging the indoor cycling fitness company sells illegally expiring gift certificates. SoulCycle agreed to pay between $6.9 million and $9.2 million to resolve the claims that its sells illegally expiring gift certificates and service packages.

If you purchased a pack of classes to your gym, a “services package”, or you have money on an old gift card, the value is likely still yours.

Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP believes that consumers should receive the value of what they paid for. If you have information concerning illegal practices related to gift cards or service packages, please contact Tyson Redenbarger at or (650) 697-6000.


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