2005-01-14 / Community

Pheffer: Roosevelt Field Does Not Play By Rules

Assemblywoman Audrey I. Pheffer, Chairperson of the Consumer Affairs and Protection Committee, has requested that Attorney General Eliot Spitzer investigate a blatant disregard for our consumer protection laws regarding service fees assessed against the balance of gift cards by Simon Property Group.

The Simon Property Group operates Roosevelt Field Mall, Jefferson Valley Mall, Woodbury Common Premium Outlets, and other retail establishments throughout New York State and the nation.

“It appears that the Simon Property Group is not complying with a section of new New York laws addressing expiration dates and service fees for gift cards,” Pheffer says.

Simon Property Group continues to sell gift cards with a $2.50 service fee. Although this fee is waived for the first six months, it is imposed on the remaining balance of the card beginning in the seventh month of activation.

The 2004 legislative session passed laws requiring disclosure at the point of purchase, in advertising and on the card that terms and conditions apply. Also, retroactive fees are prohibited and monthly service fees are prohibited from being imposed prior to the thirteenth month of dormancy.

The Simon Property Group has come under scrutiny from Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Connecticut’s attorney generals’ offices for disobeying state gift card laws. The Group’s stance is that its gift card is subject exclusively to federal regulation because it is issued by the Bank of America, a nationally charted bank.

“After extensive research on the sale and usage of gift cards, my colleagues and myself agreed that the laws passed in 2004 were enacted with consumers as well as businesses in mind, addressing concerns from both sides. It is important that Simon’s disregard for these laws is addressed so that the public recognizes the importance that New York State places on consumer protections,” said Pheffer.

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