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A recent bill passed in the legislature that was designed to help consumers, actually could have scared away many retailers from offering coupons and RUINED CHRISTMAS. The original bill was intended to forbid expiration dates on gift certificates and gift cards so that consumers would actually receive what they paid for. However, Disney hired 14 lobbyists (at a cost of $40,000-$90,000) to get an exception put in that would allow certificates for amusement parks that are sold as part of a package to have expiration dates. This would be most common in an employer giving free tickets to its employees. Retailers, however, became scared that issuing coupons with expiration dates of less than a year would be illegal. Their solution? To not offer coupons at all. However, lawmakers saved the Christmas shopping season this week when they clarified language in the bill. Hmmm…I thought it was the Grinch who almost stole Christmas, not Mickey Mouse.

We have discussed in past blogs how Disney World and the other big theme parks in Florida, including Universal Studions, and Sea World have lobbied for legislation to get special exemptions from state ride regulations and special exemptions from reporting injuries on rides. Just remember, the State of Florida has more information about the number of ride injuries sustained at a County Fair than they do at the big theme parks.

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