California consumers could get more back on gift cards

Consumers could get more cash back from unused gift cards under a bill unveiled Tuesday at the state Capitol.

Senate Bill 885 by state Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, would require retailers to give cash back on cards if the remaining balance is less than $20. Corbett's 2007 bill established the current limit of less than $10.

The bill would require the new limit to appear in large type on the card itself. It would also eliminate dormancy fees, which are allowed in certain circumstances.

There's a lot of unused gift card value at stake. Nearly $5 billion goes unspent each year, according to Massachusetts-based research firm TowerGroup.

Retailers vowed Tuesday to oppose SB 885, saying it creates cash-register headaches and goes against the purpose of gift cards.

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