Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Not All Gifts Are Protected by Laws; There Are Exemptions for Locations That Have Limited-Duration Shows

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Not All Gifts Are Protected by Laws; There Are Exemptions for Locations That Have Limited-Duration Shows

Article excerpt

Byline: David Bauerlein

For Christmas 2009, Howard Shumate and his wife each received Triple Play certificates from their daughter, entitling them to attend three shows during 2010 at the Alhambra theater in Jacksonville.

The year went by and they saw two shows. When 2011 rolled around, Shumate asked the Alhambra Theatre if he could still use the remaining portion of the Triple Play.

The theater said he couldn't because Triple Play eligibility ended with the 2010 season. Shumate researched Florida law and saw gift certificates and gift cards sold by a particular retailer or venue cannot have expiration dates. He said he cited the law to the Alhambra and got the same response - the Triple Play expired at the end of 2010.

Who's right?

Based on my reading of the law and the terms of the Triple Play, the Alhambra Theatre is correct in saying its Triple Play package can have an expiration date.

But Shumate's questions raise some legitimate issues people should think about when giving a gift that entitles the recipient to attend shows.

First, I don't think the Triple Play is a gift certificate. The theater says the Triple Play is one of several season ticket packages it offers, ranging in price and the number of shows covered by the purchase.

"It's kind of an abbreviated season ticket," said Craig Smith, managing partner for the theater. "It's specific to the season."

He said it's comparable to a Jaguars fan buying a season ticket or a package for a certain number of games during that season. If the fan doesn't make it to all the games, he's not entitled to get a credit for any games he missed and use it the following season.

Even if the Triple Play or other season package could be considered a gift certificate, Florida law grants exemptions to certificates provided "in conjunction with a convention, conference, vacation or sporting or fine arts event having a limited duration. …

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