stat counnnter

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Confusion is Illegal?

The Detroit News of 7/15/08 has a front page article titled "New Law: gift cards to be good for 5 years." Aside from the fact that this is just another violation of businessmens' rights, this is also clear evidence of how government regulations create an ignorant, helpless and irresponsible citizenry utterly dependent on the government to do their thinking for them.

Governor Granholm signed the bill into law saying it will "...protect citizens pocketbooks and makes sure consumers are getting the most from their dollars." This is precisely the responsibility that should lie on the shoulder of every citizen, not the government. In a laissez-faire economy, papers, like the Detroit News for example, and magazines would report on whose gift cards offered the best or worst value. People who cared about their money and their gift giving would make the effort to learn this information. Those who don't care deserve to get burned.

The new law says:
"Among provisions of the new laws:

• Michigan retailers can't alter the terms or conditions of a gift card or certificate after it's issued.

• Inactivity fees and other charges can't be applied.

• Stores can't refuse to accept cards or certificates during sales, close-outs or liquidations.

• Retailers can't refuse gift cards or certificates as partial payment for items that cost more than the remaining balances on them."
Proof that this law is not about justice or fairness of any kind is found in the last paragraph:
"The legislation responded to complaints that some retailers issue gift certificates or gift cards with expiration dates, and some charge fees or discount the value if a card isn't redeemed by a certain time. The bills' sponsors said that's confusing and inconvenient."
The Governor and the Michigan legislature are catering to and encouraging one of the worst elements of human nature, laziness.

I don't know if they'll print it but I sent the following LTE to the News yesterday:
Dear Editor:
"The Detroit News Article of 7/15, "New Law: gift cards to be good for 5 years" is a violation of every businessman's rights. It denies him the right to decide how to run his business as he sees fit. This law is not about justice or fairness of any kind. It's about the State government's desire to exercise political power (force) on behalf of the confused and inconvenienced. Perhaps there should only be one kind of tomato or car on the market because having to choose between many can be confusing and inconvenient. When the government is eager to initiate force against businessmen for something as frivolous as 'inconvenience', it is no wonder Michigan's economy is in the tank. It is of such seemingly trivial laws that the destruction of America will be made."


Burgess Laughlin said...

On the face of it, this one element seems to be proper legislation: "Michigan retailers can't alter the terms or conditions of a gift card or certificate after it's issued."

No business or "consumer" should be allowed to change the terms of a contract retroactively without the consent of the other party, should they?

I wonder, was the legislation a package deal, one that contains objective and nonobjective laws?

Mike N said...

You're right about the practice of changing terms arter issuance being wrong. That should be a clear case of fraud but we already have laws against fraud. We don't need any new ones like those just passed.

I also think you're right about the package deal containing objective and nonobjective laws. The gov. takes a legitimate wrong like changing terms arbitrarily, and packages it with things that are just confusing and inconvenient and viola, more power over the citizens for the government.

Mike N said...

Oops. That's supposed to be after issuance.