ConsumerWatch: Can I Get Cash Back On Gift Cards?

WALNUT CREEK (CBS 5) — California law requires merchants to give cash bank for small amounts left on gift cards. But it appears some retailers are not getting the word.

Maureen O’Rourke received a $200 Apple gift card as a present last Christmas and had only recently come around to using it. When she finally purchased Apple products at the Walnut Creek store, she did not quite spend the full amount.

O’Rourke asked for her balance of $7 to be given to her in cash, but the Apple Store manager said that was against store policy.

O’Rourke was positive that state law required retailers to give the balance in cash, and California Civil Code proves her right. The code clearly states that a gift card with a balance of $10 or less is redeemable in cash for its value.

“I certainly hope they at least admit they violated state law and they change their policy,” said O’Rourke, “If they can give me my $7 back, no big deal.”

Related Link:
Gift Card Tips – California Dept. Of Consumer Affairs

Once she brought in a copy of the civil code, Apple immediately gave O’Rourke the cash. The manager also apologized and told her that it is, in fact, store policy to provide cash back from the unused gift cards.

Apple Media Relations were contacted and would not comment on the situation, but provided a copy of their gift card policy which states, “Apple Gift Cards are not redeemable for cash (except as required by law).”

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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