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

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!”

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johnb
johnb
14 years ago

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…

Ragin' Rhode Islander
Ragin' Rhode Islander
14 years ago

>>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!

SusanD
SusanD
14 years ago

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

Anthony
Anthony
14 years ago

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.

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