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Michigan Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm yesterday signed four bills into law that establish new policy limits for store gift cards. Under the new laws, which take effect on Nov. 1, retailers may not refuse gift cards during a closeout, liquidation or other sale, and gift cards cannot expire within five years of being issued. The legislation also requires retailers to explain clearly to customers the terms and conditions of the gift cards they sell, and to print the terms and conditions on the card packaging. If a consumer buys the card online or by phone, the merchant first must disclose the terms and conditions before completing the sale. Retailers also may not charge cardholders inactivity or service fees. "This legislation protects citizens' pocketbooks and makes sure that consumers are getting the most from their dollars," Granholm said in a statement. "Gift cards are a hassle-free solution to gift-giving, and recipients should be free to spend them without pressure or penalty."

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