ALBANY — New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli is urging New Yorkers to make sure they spend all gift cards they’ve received this holiday season. Unused gift card balances can eventually be donated to his Office of Unclaimed Funds (OUF), which raised a record $48 million from them in 2022.
“Unused gift cards have set a new record as they account for a growing number of our office’s unclaimed funds accounts. My office is working to get these funds back into the hands of their rightful owners,” DiNapoli said. “This holiday season, I encourage all New Yorkers to spend their gift cards on time to avoid possible inactivity fees or having the money sent to my office.”
The record number of unused gift cards handed over to OUF in 2022 was attributed in part to a settlement that required H&M to return approximately $18 million in unused gift card balances to OUF. In a similar comparison, nearly $3 million in unused gift card balances were handed over by Apple.
This year, state laws regarding gift card expiration dates and fees were changed. On December 10, 2022, a new law came into effect that made it possible to increase the expiry date for gift cards from five to nine years after the card was issued or the date of the last top-up. It also banned many fees. Despite the law change, NYS Abandoned Property Law remains unchanged – gift certificates and certificates owed to New York residents or unknown owners but issued by a New York incorporated entity are deemed abandoned after five years of inactivity and must be reported to OUF , regardless of the expiry date.
DiNapoli urges recipients to read the fine print for details on fees and expiration dates of all cards received and to register the card with the merchant.
DiNapoli’s office currently holds more than $17.5 billion in unclaimed funds. He urges New Yorkers to visit his unclaimed funds search portal to see if they are owed any money.
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