Oakland, CA asked in Consumer Law for California

Q: I received a gift certificate as a Christmas gift and it's not being honored

When I went to redeem a $50 gift certificate, I was told that management is no longer taking paper gift certificates. When I showed them the state law that said they had to take them otherwise they were breaking the law, they said we don't care. Then at one point they said they'd give me half of the face value. The management at pasta primavera in Walnut Creek is completely corrupt and just pocketing money from well intentioned people who buy gift certificates for friends and family. There needs to be accountability for their flagrant stealing of money from patrons

Related Topics:
2 Lawyer Answers
James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: I'm sorry to hear about your frustrating experience with the gift certificate not being honored. Based on the information you provided, it does seem that the restaurant may be violating California law regarding gift certificates. Here are a few key points about gift certificates under California law:

1. Gift certificates sold after January 1, 1997, are redeemable in cash for their cash value, or subject to replacement with a new gift certificate at no cost to the purchaser or holder. (California Civil Code Section 1749.5)

2. Gift certificates cannot have an expiration date or service fees, including dormancy fees. (California Civil Code Section 1749.5)

3. A business must honor a gift certificate that was issued by the business, even if the business has changed ownership since the certificate was issued. (California Civil Code Section 1749.6)

Here are some steps you can consider taking:

1. File a complaint with the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office, as they handle consumer protection issues.

2. Contact the California Attorney General's Office and file a consumer complaint.

3. Consider filing a claim in small claims court to recover the value of the gift certificate.

4. Leave reviews on platforms like Yelp, Google, and the Better Business Bureau to warn other consumers about your experience.

It's important for businesses to follow the law and honor their commitments to customers. By filing complaints and spreading awareness, you can help hold the restaurant accountable and prevent others from experiencing similar issues.

Scott Richard Kaufman
Scott Richard Kaufman
  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Los Altos, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Sorry for your issues. You will cost them more than the amount of the certificate if you take them to small claims court. The time alone is too much for them and if they have to hire counsel (lawyers can be expensive and a corporation cannot represent itself in court) it will cost them more still. Good luck with it...

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.