Statement By Minnesota Retail Association President Bruce Nustad On Shakopee Gift Card Regulation Taking Effect Saturday, May 18, 2019
Shakopee retailers remove third-party gift cards from shelves amid graduation gift-giving over concerns the City ordinance conflicts with business partner agreements and raises the potential for a clerk to be cited with a misdemeanor crime
While the Shakopee Police Department has said it is not the intention of the City to issue citations this weekend, we take complying with the new law seriously. The reality is retailers were only given 11 days to implement changes and that simply isn’t enough time to train each and every employee, change point of sale systems, and re-write operating procedures to ensure the proper checks and balances exist. While retailers do check identification in some instances, there is no routine situation today where the name on a card is verified as the same on a valid government-issued identification.
Out of concern that front-line retail workers could be cited for breaking the law, a number of Shakopee retailers have removed third-party gift cards from their shelves. The last thing a retailer wants is any employee mistakenly selling a regulated card, which would be a violation of the law and be punishable as a misdemeanor.
In addition, as expressed to the Council at its May 7 meeting, the Shakopee ordinance may conflict with agreements between retailers and their business partners. Some retailers have removed cards from their shelves out of concern that the City’s action may lead to a breach of their agreements.
These cards are an important convenience to customers, especially as Minnesotans celebrate graduations and other special occasions this time of year. We hope retailers can get these cards back on their shelves soon, but the City has put some retailers in the position where that won’t happen until there is no risk to employees or liability with their business partners.
Retailers in Shakopee have taken steps to reduce fraud, including moving cards and increasing employee training. It’s unfortunate the City chose to pass this regulation as opposed to continuing to work in partnership with retailers. Our concerns remain that shoppers will take their business to a neighboring community and career criminals will use fraudulent credit cards to obtain other high-value items.
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For interviews, contact:
President, Minnesota Retailers Association