State laws require Wal-Mart stores in California, Colorado, Maine and New Jersey to refund balances on gift cards when the value remaining on a card drops below a certain limit. Most of the states set the maximum refund at $5 to $10. In other states, Wal-mart's policy prohibits the return of card balances.
California Civil Code ?1749.5(b)(2) requires retailers to provide a cash refund if the balance of the card drops below $10. California also prohibits expiration dated on gift cards. The state allows card issuers to charge a dormancy fee but prohibits any other fees for gift cards.
In Colorado, revised statutes require stores to return the balance on a card in cash, upon the request of the bearer, as long as the balance is below $5. Colorado protects the balance on the card by prohibiting any dormancy fees, service fees or other types of fees.
Maine also requires Wal-Mart and other retailers to refund gift-card balances that drop below $5; however, if the initial value of the card was $5 or less, the law does not apply. In Maine, the cardholder must appear in person and request the balance refund.
New Jersey requires gift-card issuers to return the balance on the card when it drops below a $5 threshold. Retailers that refuse to refund card balances are subject to fines of $500 for each violation. However, the state allows retailers to consider cards over five years old as abandoned.