Merchant Authorized Consumer Cash Substitutes

11 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2018 Last revised: 13 May 2018

Norman I. Silber

Hofstra University School of Law; Yale University - Law School

Steven Stites

Stites Law, LLP

Date Written: March 14, 2018

Abstract

Merchant Authorized Consumer Cash Substitutes (MACCS) have existed in one form or another for hundreds of years although without a generic name. At nineteenth century American railroad construction sites far from established towns, companies paid employees with “scrip.” Coca Cola, beginning in 1887 issued “coupons” which entitled bearers to a glass of soda. About the same time the Standard Oil Company — a customer — demanded “rebates” from railroads who shipped its oil. Descendants of these merchant-created substitutes are the MACCS of today-- phenomena including today’s “Penny-Saver Coupons,” “Groupons,” “Gift Cards,” “Disney Dollars,” “E-bates,” “Air Miles,” “Rewards Points,” and “cash-back offers.” There are countless tangible and virtual MACCS. The authors offer a functional definition in this initial approach to the subject. They explore the desirability for consumers and merchants of a unified and comprehensive treatment of this subject and recommend a new federal statute, or an Article of the Uniform Commercial Code which would address such matters as warranties, insolvency risks, deceptive and misleading practices, fungibility, frozen value, essential disclosures and privacy protection.

Keywords: Consumer Law, gift cards, coupons, ebates, rebates, scrip, merchant, payment systems

JEL Classification: K12, K2, K29, K35, K36, K40, M3, M31, M37, E42, D18, G23

Suggested Citation

Silber, Norman I. and Stites, Steven, Merchant Authorized Consumer Cash Substitutes (March 14, 2018). Hofstra Univ. Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2018-03. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3161453 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3161453

Norman I. Silber (Contact Author)

Hofstra University School of Law ( email )

121 Hofstra University
Hempstead, NY 11549
United States
516 463 5866 (Phone)
516 463 4962 (Fax)

Yale University - Law School

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States

Steven Stites

Stites Law, LLP ( email )

150 Broadway, St. 512
New York, NY 10038
United States

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