2005 - 2006 LEGISLATURE
July 27, 2005 - Introduced by Representatives Krusick, Jeskewitz, Ainsworth,
Ballweg, Benedict, Berceau, Bies, Black, Boyle, Fields, Freese, Gielow,
Grigsby, Gronemus, Hahn, Hines, Hubler, Kerkman, Kleefisch, Kreibich,
Kreuser, F. Lasee, Lehman, Loeffelholz, Lothian, Molepske, Montgomery,
Mursau, Nelson, Parisi, Petrowski, Pettis, Pocan, Pope-Roberts, Pridemore,
Richards, Schneider, Sheridan, Sherman, Shilling, Sinicki, Staskunas,
Steinbrink, Stone, Suder, Toles, Townsend, Travis, Turner, Underheim, Van
Akkeren, Van Roy, Vos, Vruwink, Wasserman, A. Williams, Wood, Young and
Zepnick, cosponsored by Senators Harsdorf, Breske, Brown, Carpenter,
Coggs, Darling, Decker, Ellis, Erpenbach, Hansen, Jauch, Kanavas,
Kapanke, A. Lasee, Lassa, Olsen, Plale, Risser, Robson, Roessler, Taylor and
Wirch. Referred to Committee on Small Business.
1An Act to amend
165.25 (4) (ar); and to create
100.55 of the statutes; relating
2to: terms and conditions of gift certificates, gift cards, and other gift obligations
3and providing a penalty.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This bill regulates the sale and redemption of gift certificates, gift cards, and
similar items (gift obligations). The bill prohibits the following: 1) failing to honor
a valid gift obligation; 2) selling a gift obligation that is subject to an expiration date;
and 3) reducing the value of a gift obligation except for the sale price of goods or
services provided to the bearer. Furthermore, when a person redeems a gift
obligation and the resulting balance of the the gift obligation is less than $5, the bill
requires the person redeeming the gift obligation to refund the balance in cash, upon
the request of the person redeeming the gift obligation. The bill also requires a
merchant, upon presentation of a gift obligation, to disclose the date when the gift
obligation was issued and the remaining balance.
Under the bill, the prohibitions numbered 2 and 3, above, do not apply to a gift
obligation given or sold for less than face value to a nonprofit organization or to a
person who transfers the gift obligation to another primarily for the benefit of a
The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection or the district
attorney, under the bill, may enforce the provisions of the bill by bringing an action
for a forfeiture up to $10,000. Also, the bill creates a private right of action in which
a person may recover the greater of twice the person's pecuniary loss or $200 for each
violation. Violations may also constitute unfair competition or unfair trade
For further information see the state fiscal estimate, which will be printed as
an appendix to this bill.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
AB583, s. 1
100.55 of the statutes is created to read:
2100.55 Gift obligations. (1) Definition.
In this section, "gift obligation" 3
means an obligation, evidenced by a gift certificate, gift card, or other object or 4
document, to accept the gift certificate, gift card, or other object or document from the 5
holder as payment, up to a specified amount, for a merchant's goods or services.
(a) No person may refuse to honor a valid gift obligation.
(b) No person may reduce the value of a gift obligation, except that when a 8
holder of a gift obligation partially redeems the gift obligation as payment for goods 9
or services, the merchant that provides the goods or services may subtract the sale 10
price of the goods or services.
(c) No person may sell a gift obligation that is subject to an expiration date. An 12
expiration date that purports to apply to a gift obligation is void and unenforceable.
(a) If the holder of a gift obligation partially redeems the 14
gift obligation, and the resulting balance of the gift obligation is less than $5, the 15
seller shall, at the holder's request, refund to the holder the balance of the gift 16
obligation in cash.
(b) Upon the presentation of a gift certificate, gift card, or other object or 18
document that evidences a gift obligation, a merchant shall disclose to the bearer all 19
of the following:
1. The date on which the gift obligation was issued.
2. The remaining balance of the gift obligation.
2(4) Penalties and remedies.
(a) The department may exercise its authority 3
under ss. 93.14 and 93.15 to investigate violations of this section.
(b) Any person who suffers pecuniary loss because of a violation of this section 5
may commence an action for the pecuniary loss. If the person prevails, the person 6
shall recover twice the amount of the pecuniary loss, or $200 for each violation, 7
whichever is greater, together with costs, including reasonable attorney fees, 8
notwithstanding s. 814.04 (1).
(c) The department may commence an action in the name of the state to restrain 10
by temporary or permanent injunction a violation of this section. Before entry of final 11
judgment, the court may make any necessary orders to restore to any person any 12
pecuniary loss suffered by the person because of the violation.
(d) The department or any district attorney may commence an action in the 14
name of the state to recover a forfeiture to the state of not less than $100 nor more 15
than $10,000 for a violation of this section.
(e) A person who violates this section may be fined not less than $25 nor more 17
than $5,000 or imprisoned for not more than one year in the county jail, or both, for 18
(f) This section does not preempt the administration or enforcement of s. 100.18 20
or 100.20. Practices in violation of this section may also constitute unfair methods 21
of competition or unfair trade practices under s. 100.20 or fraudulent 22
representations under s. 100.18.
Subsection (2) (b) and (c) do not apply to a gift obligation given 24
or sold to a person for an amount that is less than the value of the gift obligation, if 25
the person is an organization that is exempt from federal income tax under section
(a) of the Internal Revenue Code or if the person transfers the gift obligation to 2
another primarily for the benefit of an organization that is exempt from federal 3
income tax under section 501
(a) of the Internal Revenue Code.
AB583, s. 2
165.25 (4) (ar) of the statutes is amended to read:
(ar) The department of justice shall furnish all legal services 6
required by the department of agriculture, trade and consumer protection relating 7
to the enforcement of ss. 100.171, 100.173, 100.174, 100.175, 100.177, 100.18, 8
100.182, 100.20, 100.205, 100.207, 100.209, 100.21, 100.28, 100.37, 100.42, 100.50, 9and
100.51, and 100.55
and chs. 126, 136, 344, 704, 707, and 779, together with any 10
other services as are necessarily connected to the legal services.
(1) This act first applies to gift obligations, as defined in section 100.55 (1) of 13
the statutes, as created by this act, that are sold on the effective date of this 14
(1) This act takes effect on first day of the 6th month beginning after 17