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Tuesday, May 23, 2017
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Informer: Law sets standards for gift certificates, cards

Last Modified: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 10:57 PM

By Andrew Perzo / American Press

My husband and I received a gift certificate to a restaurant in Sulphur that we’ve eaten in before. We ate there recently, and the cost of our meal was less than the amount on the gift certificate.

But when we used the certificate, the man didn’t give us any change and said he didn’t have to and that he had applied the difference to the tip. Is this legal?

Neither state nor federal law explicitly addresses the situation, and the Louisiana Attorney’s General’s Office declined to answer the question.

Amanda Larkins, a spokeswoman for the attorney general, said only that consumers who have questions or complaints may call the agency’s Consumer Protection Hotline, 800-351-4889.

Under state law, R.S. 51:1423, gift cards and gift certificates can’t have expiration dates that are less than five years in the future, and the dates must appear on the cards or certificates “in capital letters in at least ten-point font” — which is slightly larger than the print you’re reading now.

Card and certificate issuers can’t charge dormancy fees, but they can charge a one-time handling fee of up to $1. Gift cards or certificates that bear no expiration dates “shall be valid until redeemed or replaced,” reads the law.

Some tips for gift certificate and gift card recipients, according to the LSU AgCenter:

• Read the terms and conditions for the card or certificate; check for expiration dates or fees.

• Ask the giver for the original purchase receipt.

• Treat the card or certificate like cash.

• Use the card or certificate as soon as possible.


‘Prien’ in names short for Cyprien

Could you tell me the origin of the word “Prien,” as in “Prien Lake Road”? We also have a road here in Basile that’s named “Prien Noir.” I tried to look it up in a French dictionary, and there’s no such word.

Prien Lake Road, of course, gets its name from Prien Lake, which used to be called Little Lake.

It gained a new name after land near it was settled by Cyprien Duhon, who, along with his wife, moved to the area from St. Martinville in an ox cart in 1820.

The locals eventually nicknamed him Old Man Prien and took to calling the lake Old Man Prien’s Lake.

The case is much the same for the Basile-area road, which The Informer assumes is L’Anse Prien Noir Road.

The road takes its name from l’Anse de ’Prien Noir, or Black Prien’s Cove, an area between Basile and Mamou that was settled by a man named Cyprien Cezaire, whose name — like Duhon’s — was shortened by others.

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The Informer answers questions from readers each Sunday, Monday and Wednesday. It is researched and written by Andrew Perzo, an American Press staff writer. To ask a question, call 494-4098, press 5 and leave voice mail, or email

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