It's my money, and I want it now!
September 2, 2008 2:19 PM   Subscribe

As of January 1, 2008, California law requires merchants to redeem gift cards for cash if the balance is less than $10. However, the statute lists an exclusion for gift cards issued for "perishable food products." Before I send my nasty letter off to Quizno's, help me out here.

I attempted to redeem a gift card for Quizno's. The manager didn't know about the law and was extremely rude, although after I repeated the phrase "state law" about 80 times, she did finally give me cash.

So here I am, busily writing a shame-on-you letter to Quizno's corporate, when I come across California Civil Code, Section 1749.5(d)(3), with the above exclusion for "perishable" food items.

Perishible food isn't defined in the title. To me, the Quizno's card isn't hampered by this exclusion because they wouldn't even make a sandwich until I ordered it, so it's not like it's going to spoil if I don't order it.

I wanted to get some input, though, before firing off this letter. I'd hate to get toasted, pepper-bar-flavored egg all over my face. Does the perishable food exclusion apply to restaurant chains?

The statute I cited, by the way, refers to gift "certificates." However, section 1749.45 specifically states that gift cards are included in that term.
posted by mudpuppie to Law & Government (7 answers total)
While the "sandwich," as a constructed whole, may not exist until made, its component parts certainly are perishable, and a sandwich, tasty as it may be, is no more than the sum of its parts. Imagine saying that ice cream doesn't exist until it's scooped out of the bin and plopped onto a cone.

I am a lawyer's nephew, and I used to go out with a girl who I think is now applying to Yale Law maybe? But that's as close as you get to me and formal legal knowledge. Plus I'm in the wrong state to boot.
posted by Tomorrowful at 2:25 PM on September 2, 2008

Best answer: IANAL and I don't live in CA, but this pdf appears to answer the question in your favor.
posted by jon1270 at 2:39 PM on September 2, 2008

Differing viewpoint: This website from Sacramento County Law Library says "food or grocery items."

On preview: check jon1270's answer, it seems to define "food product" better and states that restaurants do have to follow the cash back law.
posted by ALongDecember at 2:42 PM on September 2, 2008

Best answer: Your Quizno's sandwich is not food in the sense that it's a grocery item. Quizno's is a restaurant and restaurants are considered services, not purveyors of food like a grocery store. That's why there is sales tax added to Quizo's items, too.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:45 PM on September 2, 2008

You were correct (about 80 times).
posted by lee at 3:03 PM on September 2, 2008

Response by poster: Nice googling. Thanks, y'all.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:04 PM on September 2, 2008

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