August 11, 2010
The Federal Register tweets. While that is exciting for a variety of reasons, I found a recent tweet most helpful. A few calls have come in about Public Law 111-209. What is Public Law 111-209? According to @Federal Register, PL 111-209 (HR 5502) amends “gift card provisions effective date.”
Pulling up PL 111-209 (also cited as 2010 HR 5502 or 124 Stat 2254) indicates that it amends the “gift card provisions effective date” of the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 (CCARD for short).
While I love short public laws (and this is a short public law), I couldn’t figure out the significance of this change in effective date. (After all, this tiny little public law garnered its own tweet.)
A little more research indicates that PL 111-209 is also popularly known as the ECO-Gift Card Act. Prior to the passage of PL 111-209, the implementation of the gift card rules of CCARD was scheduled for August 22, 2010. In a function of the law of unintended consequences, this August 22nd deadline would have led to the destruction of millions of plastic gift cards that would have no longer complied with the disclosure requirements CCARD. According to one of its sponsors, the ECO-Gift Card Act will prevent 100 million of those plastic gift cards from ending up in the landfill (or ocean) prematurely. That is the equivalent of eight football fields filled 12 feet deep with plastic cards.
PL 111-209 gives retailers until Jan. 31, 2011 (well after the Christmas shopping season) to get those *old* gift cards off of their shelves and get the new, compliant gift cards and gift certificates into place.
It’s worth noting that the ECO-Gift Card Act passed both the House and Senate unanimously. Our legislators may not agree on a lot, but they apparently don’t care for wasted plastic.