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Dunkin’ Sued Over Refused Gift Card Refunds

Dunkin' Gift CardAbout 10 states require sellers of gift cards to refund small balances of money left on previously used cards. So if a $50 card only has $4.82 left on it, you can ask for that money back. The trouble is, some gift card sellers, like Dunkin’, are allegedly refusing to make those refunds.

So earlier this month, a New Jersey consumer sued Dunkin’ in its home state of Massachusetts on behalf of all customers who have been refused refunds (see complaint).

The complaint alleges that Dunkin’ has no mechanism for making these refunds when a customer requests it despite language on its cards that says:

*MOUSE PRINT:

“Card Value may not be redeemed for cash, check or credit unless required by law [emphasis added].

Under the laws of both Massachusetts and New Jersey, when a gift card’s balance is below $5 (MA is $5 or less), upon request, the merchant must refund the balance.

*MOUSE PRINT:

A purchaser or holder of a gift certificate … which has been redeemed in part, such that the value remaining is $5.00 or less, shall make an election to receive the balance in cash or continue using the gift certificate. — M.G.L.A. 200A § 5D

[I]f a stored value card is redeemed and a balance of less than $5 remains on the card after redemption, at the owner’s request the merchant or other entity redeeming the card shall refund the balance in cash to the owner. — N.J.S.A. 46:30B-42.1(h)

The court case alleges that Dunkin’ has been unjustly enriched by pocketing all the remaining balances on cards, and is in breach of various consumer protection laws in addition to the gift card statutes. Dunkin’ did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

It will be interesting to hear what imaginative defense Dunkin’ comes up with, or perhaps it will just quickly settle the case.

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5 thoughts on “Dunkin’ Sued Over Refused Gift Card Refunds”

  1. Dunkin will probably agree to refund the cash balance at a kiosk in any conveniently-located Fenway Park stadium. :-/

  2. I imagine Dunkin will come up with some lame excuse on how this was an oversight on their part and they’ll immediately get to fixing it. They’ll encourage everyone who has a balance to contact they’re, already overworked, customer service department, and then you’ll spend an hour on hold and on the phone to get a $4 refund.

    Saying all that doesn’t mean I don’t full support going after them for this.

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