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Democratic Lawmakers Want To Seize Unused Gift Card Funds For State Uses

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posted on Dec, 28 2006 @ 01:55 PM
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At least two Democratic state lawmakers, in Wisconsin and Nevada say they will propose new legislation to amend current "escheat laws" that will allow their states to declare lost, expired or unused gift cards/certificates as abandoned property so they can seize the money for state use. Gift cards/certificates are now estimated to be around a $60 billion-a-year business, and approximately 15 percent of that total never is redeemed and winds up in the sellers pocket as clear profit. Best Buy estimated they received roughly 40 Million Dollars from their unused cards just last year alone.
 



www.twincities.com
A lawmaker says the value of gift cards that go unused should wind up in the state treasury, not back with the retailers who sold the cards in the first place.

State Rep. Fred Kessler, D-Milwaukee, said Tuesday he would include a provision to that effect in a bill he plans to introduce in the Legislature.

He cited Consumer Reports figures indicating that 19 percent of gift cards go unused because they expire or are lost. Once the cards are expired, the values go back on the merchants' books.

Kessler said his proposed change could help the state government support health care, schools or roads.



Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


See First supporting link for the Editorial on the Nevada Lawmakers proposal.

I know we all enjoy giving during the holidays, but this takes the cake, now 'Big Brother" wants his piece of the action if someone should loose their card or just forget to use it. :shk:

Why not just give the option to the individual who gave the gift an option of checking to see if the card had been used when it nears expiration so the giver could get the money back or would that be too simple?

How many people have electronic gadgets, shoes, shirts, etc. that were gifts, but were never used. Are the states now going to claim the profit the stores made on those, as well?

Escheat laws are nothing new they have been on the books for years, but this is just taking them too far IMHO. You can check the second supporting link to check the laws in your state (regarding gift certificates/cards only not bank accounts) since they vary in many ways. Escheat laws are also used by states to obtain funds from dormant bank accounts and safety deposit boxes, so it would appear big brother has his hand in every ones pocket or a means to get there if and when he wants just by attaching a new ammendment :shk:





Related News Links:
www.reviewjournal.com
www.restaurant.org



[edit on 12/28/2006 by shots]




posted on Dec, 28 2006 @ 05:54 PM
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I think I lost a $100 gift certificate to Saks Fifth Avenue a couple years ago, so this hits home!


Anyway, if the money is truly abandoned, I guess letting the state take it isn't so bad, although the Feds will probably pass a law to take it for themselves after they find out about this new way to get money!


But I agree if the company has the information on the gifter or giftee they should try to contact them before appropriating the money to anything else.



posted on Dec, 28 2006 @ 06:10 PM
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Most stores have a policy regarding unused gift card credit, where some stores deduct a fixed amount or percentage from the balance each month, if not used. I can see those stores getting pretty angry at this, since they can no longer cheat the consumer anymore.



posted on Dec, 29 2006 @ 09:53 AM
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Just found a little more info on this. It appears that the Wisconsin lawmaker wants to make sure the gift cards etc. expire in one year which is just the opposite of other states such as Kansas.




The most egregious part of Kessler's proposal is that he would require all gift cards to expire after a year. He would then take 80 percent of the unused value for the state and allow merchants to keep the remaining 20 percent to pay for all the processing and red tape.

Other states are doing just the opposite. Kansas, for example, will start requiring gift cards to remain valid for at least five years before expiring. At least that law, which kicks in Jan. 1, is aimed at helping consumers.

Kessler's bill, in contrast, would force gift cards to expire - even if consumers and shopkeepers don't want them to.

Wisconsin State Journal


Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


Now is he greedy or not?



posted on Dec, 29 2006 @ 12:59 PM
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The very thought of this sticks in my craw! It's nothing more than robbery by the state. What gives them the right to profit from this? Are they as willing to reimburse the stores for losses due to theft and breakage as they are to extort these funds? Any unused/abandoned portions should be returned to the buyer.

Am I the only person that feels this way? Or am I missing something here?



posted on Dec, 29 2006 @ 01:10 PM
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Originally posted by jsobecky
Am I the only person that feels this way? Or am I missing something here?


No you are not alone. I have felt this was wrong as do DJ and now you. I would tend to think there are others but think perhaps the holiday season may be the reason for a lack of more comments



What I wqould like to know is what gives the state the right to say it is the peoples money? Or what gives the state the right to say how long a gift card can last


This all reaks of big brother controling the world.

[edit on 12/29/2006 by shots]



posted on Dec, 29 2006 @ 01:54 PM
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I don't see the problem here, I mean if someone loses one, and
they want it, they could just talk to the company.

But when it comes to those that are lost, and people just don't
care and those that people let expire, I don't see why the govern-
ment should'nt be able to ue part of it to help with state matters,
I mean it's not like it'll be used by anyone except the corporations
that sell them anyways.



posted on Dec, 29 2006 @ 03:15 PM
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Originally posted by iori_komei
But when it comes to those that are lost, and people just don't
care and those that people let expire, I don't see why the govern-
ment should'nt be able to ue part of it to help with state matters,


The problem I have is that now most companies no longer carry an expiration date on them so they last a life time and now we have a few bozos come along and say they should expire in one year??? Just why you can not see a problem with that alone amazes me.


You can correct me f I was wrong in what you stated, but that is how I took it and truly I think you missed the main point here by accident if I am correct.



posted on Dec, 29 2006 @ 03:26 PM
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Originally posted by shots
The problem I have is that now most companies no longer carry an expiration date on them so they last a life time and now we have a few bozos come along and say they should expire in one year??? Just why you can not see a problem with that alone amazes me.


You can correct me f I was wrong in what you stated, but that is how I took it and truly I think you missed the main point here by accident if I am correct.


Well, perhaps I did miss that point, I had thought that cards had
expiration dates as it is.

I agree that there should be an expiration date after a certain
amount of time, perhaps 3 years, and that's if they're not used
at all.



posted on Dec, 29 2006 @ 05:19 PM
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it should go back to whoever bought the card to begin with, it was never quite right the the store should profit by the fact that people who recieve the cards are too uninterested in the store's merchandise to use them. or whatever the reason is that they weren't used. maybe if the state begins to confiscate that money, maybe the recipient of the card will be more inclined to use it, and maybe the store will be more inclined to fix a system that is really wrong in a way that is so beneficial to them now?



posted on Dec, 29 2006 @ 05:27 PM
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No it should not go back to the consumer. If you forgot about it, then you were irresponsible and do not deserve it. Its like "oh a hundred dollars for (retailer), thats cool, I am so rich I will just toss it to the side and forget about it". It should be split 20-80 with the retailer getting 20 and the state getting 80% to fund education, and NOTHING else. Florida is one of the most under-funded schools and our governor was the Presidents damn brother. I would not mind if someone who did not give a damn enough about a set amount of money to use had it siezed for EDUCATION ONLY, and it should written as such.



posted on Dec, 29 2006 @ 05:57 PM
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Originally posted by DYepes
No it should not go back to the consumer. If you forgot about it, then you were irresponsible and do not deserve it. Its like "oh a hundred dollars for (retailer), thats cool, I am so rich I will just toss it to the side and forget about it". It should be split 20-80 with the retailer getting 20 and the state getting 80% to fund education, and NOTHING else. Florida is one of the most under-funded schools and our governor was the Presidents damn brother. I would not mind if someone who did not give a damn enough about a set amount of money to use had it siezed for EDUCATION ONLY, and it should written as such.

You're going to have to make a better argument than that for the gov't to morally claim one dime of those funds. I mean, it's a nice gesture to fund education, but not at the expense of a private transaction that went awry.

The funds should revert to the buyer. If I give a a gc to an irresponsible niece or nephew, and they don't cash it, then I get the funds back. And next year, they'll get that ugly sweater for a gift instead.

This of course presupposes that I agree with establing an expiration date for the gc's, which I don't.



posted on Dec, 29 2006 @ 06:29 PM
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let's see...the money from the NY State Lottery was susposed to go towards the school system....it didn't seem to help much....if the money ever really got to where it was susposed to go.

the NY State thruway revenue was susposed to go towards upkeep of the state roads.....same story.

the money that was won from the tobacco settlement was susposed to go toward health programs for the smokers...same story...

in plain simple words, such ideas, although noble at the beginning, soon just become another scam by the politicians.

and well, the person who bought the gift card should be getting the money back if it isn't cashed in. this, along with a tracking number for him to refer to would enable him to know who he gave the card to, and well, he will know enough not give that person something else next time.

the problem is that these gift cards lead to alot of unclaimed cash. letting the store keep it only encourages them to find a way to ensure that more will be unclaimed...and letting the gov't have it will probably encourage them to work with the stores so that they can find a way to make the initial problem much much bigger and a way for them both to profit...

only the one who bought the card to begin with has the power to ensure there isn't a repeat.



posted on Dec, 29 2006 @ 08:53 PM
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Shouldn't it be like a bank account where the banks are liable to post a notice saying you have unclaimed funds after a certain time. I think that would be fair. The intent is that the person buys something from the store and I would rather see that money go to something useful rather then end up in the corporations pocket for doing nothing. Many retailers know giftcards, and rebates will go unclaimed and more then likely look forward to this "free money"


Pie



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