Avoid cards with expiration dates, penalty fees that could wind up in Treasury’s unclaimed property database at patreasury.gov
Harrisburg – December 10, 2013 – (RealEstateRama) — Consumers are expected to spend nearly $30 billion on gift cards this holiday season, and in order to get the most of these gifts, State Treasurer Rob McCord today reminded shoppers and recipients to read the fine print so their cards do not lose value or expire, ultimately ending up with the Pennsylvania Treasury as unclaimed property.
“Gift cards help simplify the gift-giving process and put the power of choice in the recipient’s hands – just some of the reasons why the National Retail Federation reports that over 80 percent of consumers will buy at least one gift card this holiday season,” Treasurer McCord said. “It’s important for consumers to be aware of the terms and conditions when purchasing gift cards – and it’s equally important for recipients to use gift cards in a timely manner before they expire or fees decrease the value.”
In recent years, state and federal legislation has increased consumer protections surrounding gift cards by largely forbidding fees on cards sold by retailers and prohibiting expiration dates less than 5 years after the card is purchased. However, Treasurer McCord noted that some gift cards have conditions that cause them to be reported eventually to Treasury as unclaimed property.
“Expired gift cards or unused gift cards with fees are considered reportable to Treasury under the state’s unclaimed property law,” Treasurer McCord said. “We currently hold more than $9.6 million in unclaimed gift cards – visit patreasury.gov to find out if any belongs to you.”
Under the state’s unclaimed property law, businesses must report unredeemed gift cards to Treasury two years after their expiration date. In the case of gift cards that don’t expire but do charge post-sale fees, businesses must turn those over to Treasury five years after the date of issuance. Consumers holding gift cards with expiration dates or fees can visit patreasury.gov to search the department’s free unclaimed property database or call toll-free (800) 222-2046.
The National Retail Federation projects gift card spending to reach nearly $30 billion this holiday season. Treasurer McCord reminded holiday shoppers there’s a one in 10 chance they have some unclaimed property waiting for them at patreasury.gov – extra funds that can come in very handy.
To learn more about unclaimed property or search the database, visit patreasury.gov.