BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The New York State Attorney General's Office is suing the company behind Simply Certificates, claiming Red Storm LLC committed fraud by selling gift certificates with an illegally premature expiration date.
Both federal and state law states gift certificates must be honored for up to five years after purchase. But according to the suit, Simply Certificates engaged in deceptive and fraudulent business practice by selling certificates that expired in approximately one year.
The majority of Simply Certificates' business is done during the holiday season at kiosks in the Boulevard Mall, McKinley Mall, Eastern Hills Mall and the Walden Galleria. The certificates are also available on the company's website.
The lawsuit says Simply Certificates did not respond to customers who raised concerns about illegally premature expiration dates and undisclosed fees on the gift certificates. It also says Simply Certificates' website states a customer can send an expired certificate via certified mail to a P.O. box in Pennsylvania with a $5 restocking fee per certificate and a $4.95 postage fee. These instructions were posted on the company's frequently asked questions website page, but are no longer listed.
New York state is asking restitution for customers, penalties and costs be paid to the state, and demands Simply Certificate cease all business in New York until the company has paid.
The suit also says Red Storm LLC is not registered with the New York State Secretary of State, and therefore is not authorized to do business in the state.