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Primary plaintiff Diana Calleros alleges in a class action lawsuit that Chico’s FAS Inc. illegally refused to redeem company gift cards for customers who had balances less than $10. Calleros asserts the refusal to refund customer money on balances less than $10 violates a California state consumer protection law covering the proper use of gift cards and certificates.
On January 1, 2008, California enacted a gift card rule requiring merchants to redeem gift cards for cash or a check on cards carrying lees than $10 in balances. With a few exceptions, California gift card law also prevents companies from adding expiration dates on gift cards and certificates. Expiration dates on gift cards and certificates used to be a popular practice implemented by merchants who wanted to increase post Christmas sales during the typically weak sales period from mid January to the end of February. Merchants issued the gift cards around the holidays that included short-term expiration dates of up to six weeks after the date of purchase.
The terms of the California Chico’s gift card class action settlement require Chico’s to issue new gift cards worth $9.99 to each of the first 420 eligible class members. According to class counsel, the new gift cards do not include expiration dates and consumers can redeem the $9.99 card balances for cash or a check. Although agreeing to the class action settlement, Chico’s continues to deny all of the class action lawsuit allegations. However, the company agreed to settle the case to avoid the high costs associated with protracted civil trials.
What You Need To Know About The Chico’s Gift Card Refund Class Action Lawsuit and Settlement
Court documents reveal eligible class members “include all California consumers who have a Chico’s gift card with a balance of less than $10, or those who had such a gift card from July 28, 2012 through March 27, 2017 and disposed of it after being told by a Chico’s employee that it could not be redeemed for cash.” The potential award is one $9.99 gift card per household. Consumers also have the option to accept a personalized merchandise voucher. Claimants must submit contact information and make a declaration under the penalty of perjury to meet the legal standards for qualifying as class members.
Eligible class members have until November 22, 2017 to submit a valid claim form. The judge presiding over the case Calleros v. Chico’s FAS Inc., Case No. 16CV03271, in the Superior Court for the State of California, County of Santa Barbara has already issued final approval for the Chico’s class action settlement. To learn about what transpired at the final hearing, visit the class action settlement website www.CGCsettlement.com. Phillip R. Poliner represents the class counsel and Jeffrey B. Margulies is handling the legal responsibilities for the defense.