While retailers tell customers to treat gift cards as cash, the cards aren't exactly cash. Retailer gift cards, known as closed-loop cards, issued by the store, are not federally regulated, but some 36 states have enacted some type of gift card legislation that regulates the various fees and expiration dates under the cards' terms and conditions. The Tower Group, Needham, Mass., a research company for the global financial services industry, estimates that retail gift card sales in 2006 ...

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