January 31, 2007

RI's State Legislature: the Guarantor of Customer Service!

Justin Katz

They've obviously got nothing worthwhile to do with their time:

Saying that Rhode Island consumers are being taken advantage of when they’re forced to pay surcharges for gift certificates, Rep. Stephen R. Ucci has introduced legislation that would prohibit businesses from charging any additional fees to gift cards or gift certificates.

“After certain regulations were put into place regarding the sale of gift cards, businesses started coming up with creative ways to make more money from consumers, including adding surcharges to gift cards,” said Representative Ucci, a Democrat who represents District 42 in Cranston and Johnston. “I really don’t see the rationale in having to pay a surcharge for a gift card that’s already been paid for in full, and this practice needs to stop.”

Why consumers can't simply refuse to buy gift cards with surcharges, if the practice is so unfair, Ucci doesn't explain. He is, however, fully within the spirit of the state legislature in trying to go the extra totalitarian mile on behalf of its constituents:

The legislation (2007-H 5105) builds upon current laws that prohibit all gift cards and certificates sold in Rhode Island, including prepaid long-distance calling cards, from coming with any strings attached, such as maintenance fees or expiration dates.

This is a small thing, I guess, but is it any wonder that businesses are leaving this state? The only thing that particular stores' take-it-or-leave-it gift certificate policies are "taking advantage" of is our mindless, greedy laziness.

Sometimes I can't shake the feeling that Rhode Island is run by all the nosy Uncle Steves up the street intent on proving that they really are important... self-appointed benevolent dictators of the neighborhood. "Gee, Bob, you shouldn't have to park in front of the neighbor's house. I'm going to get that out-of-state car towed away!" "What? There's an expiration on this gift certificate? Martha, get my gavel!"

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

from the cat snip bill last year to the anti-smoking nonsense, this is all way too much for me...

US virgin islands here i come...

Posted by: johnb at January 31, 2007 8:49 PM

>>Saying that Rhode Island consumers are being taken advantage of when they’re forced to pay surcharges ...

Yeah, but he and his fellow Democrats at the general ASSembly don't have any problem with having an excise tax on alcoholic beverages, and then charging consumers sales tax on top of that!

Posted by: Ragin' Rhode Islander at January 31, 2007 9:22 PM

You got it, Ragin. The biggest surcharger of them all resents the competition.

Posted by: SusanD at January 31, 2007 9:47 PM

I see all three, yes, three sides.

On the one hand, the consumer has a choice to go somewhere else or not purchase a gift certificate if they deem the surcharge to be execessive.

On the other hand, the legislation that was passed sought to prevent stores from taking advantage of unknowing consumers. The introduction of surcharges was obviously meant to circumvent the law which was passed by elected representatives of the people of RI.

On the other hand (we're now up to 3, so I guess we're talking about a deformed person), the state is facing a tremendous deficit, jobs are being lost and we're talking about gift card surcharges? Good grief, Charlie Brown.

Posted by: Anthony at February 1, 2007 4:17 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Important note: The text "http:" cannot appear anywhere in your comment.