NEW JERSEY (OCN) — Gift cards — you’ve given them, you’ve received them. Those little cards available in every denomination and in thousands of locations have become one of the most convenient ways to say “Happy Birthday,” “Congratulations” or simply that you care. How would you feel if the convenience of buying those gift cards disappeared and you had to drive to another state to buy those gift cards because they were no longer available at your local retailer?
Well, guess what? That is what will happen in the state of New Jersey unless something changes. In fact, the law that will cause this problem has already been passed; it just isn’t being enforced yet.
How is that possible, you ask? NJ recently passed an “unclaimed property law” that allows the state to collect any unused funds or “unclaimed property” left on a gift card after two years from the last use of the card. To do that, the state now requires you to give your local retailer your personal information when you buy a gift card, which may include your name, address and/or zip code. Every card issuer selling gift cards in NJ is required to collect this information in order to associate that information with the card and report unspent funds to the state.
What does this mean for you?
Gift cards will most likely disappear throughout New Jersey since there’s no way for card issuers to collect the personal information of every purchaser of every gift card they sell.
If a gift card issuer DOES decide to continue to sell cards in NJ, and is able to collect your personal information (if you’re willing to provide it), you will likely lose any unspent funds left on your card two years after your last use.
Your unspent money will go to the state, the card issuer may not accept the card if you try to use it and getting your money back will be very difficult.
So, do you want to do something about it? Take action now.