Wal-Mart, the world's biggest retail chain, said Thursday it had resolved problems that delayed the redemption of gift cards.
In a statement, Wal-Mart said once it discovered the problem, it investigated and found that a "third-party verifier's systems had an inadvertent processing error." The discount chain said the error caused delays in gift card verifications for several retailers.
"The issue was resolved yesterday afternoon. We apologize for this inconvenience to our customers," the store said in the statement.
When reached for comment, Wal-Mart said it could not provide any additional details on the matter.
A state law that takes effect Tuesday will allow Illinois consumers to avoid hidden fees or expiration dates on gift cards.
The law voids any expiration dates for five years after cards have been issued and prohibits retailers from charging fees that diminish the gift card value.
"In Illinois, gift cards never stop giving," State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias said. "Even when gift cards expire, consumers can recover their money from the state."
The treasurer's office has more than $5 million in unused gift card balances for Illinois residents.
If the retailer did not record contact information, consumers can file a claim with the treasurer's office using the serial number on the expired gift card.
That's one reason why the new gift card law is a win for Illinois consumers, said state Rep. Jack Franks, D-Woodstock, who sponsored the legislation. "Our goal was to put an end to the gift that keeps on taking," Franks said. "That money needs to stay in the pockets of consumers."
LANSING - The state House has passed bills giving consumers more time to redeem gift certificates at stores. The legislation approved today would prohibit selling gift certificates or gift cards that have "expiration dates less than five years" from the date of purchase. Lawmakers also voted to stop retailers from " tacking inactivity or other service fees " onto gift certificates.
Retailers who violate conditions in the bills could be fined up to $25,000.
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