I afresh begin two Fannie May allowance certificates admired at $10 each. I contacted their chump account and was told that the certificates accept no value. Someone paid $20 and now they are worthless!
I additionally accept $50 account of Ulta allowance certificates. They were purchased in 1999 and 2000 with a annals book on them. Ulta said they too accept no value.
What are companies accomplishing with the money? Allowance cards now don’t expire unless the aggregation is no best in business. Many bodies are award old allowance certificates while charwoman up or assuredly accepting to that clutter drawer.
I acknowledge your help,
Christine is correct. In Illinois, as of Jan. 1, 2008, no allowance certificate/card issued by a distinct merchant or affiliated accumulation of merchants can expire. This was accepted by Greg Rivara, columnist secretary to Illinois Accompaniment Broker Michael W. Frerichs. Rivara additionally explained that such cards cannot allegation fees or be adapted to cash.
Per Illinois law, the afterward do expire: Allowance certificates issued through an awards, adherence or promotional program; allowance certificates awash beneath face amount at a aggregate abatement to administration or nonprofit and accommodating organizations for fundraising purposes and allowance certificates issued for aliment products.
However, if an “open loop” stored-value agenda (one that can be spent anywhere), such as a pre-paid Visa, Mastercard, American Express or Ascertain card, is not acclimated aural bristles years, it is advised abandoned, and by law, any actual antithesis charge be angry over to the Illinois Accompaniment Treasurer’s appointment as bearding property.
A actuality account noting: A card’s five-year admission can be displace back added funds are added or the cardholder artlessly calls the 800 cardinal to analysis the balance. Back I asked Rivara how the closing acquaintance with a agenda aggregation could be proven, his admonition was: “Request that the company’s annal reflect the call, and almanac the date, time and name of the actuality with whom you spoke.”
If an accessible bend card’s antithesis has been angry over to the Illinois accompaniment treasurer, a customer can technically accost its amount from the treasurer’s office. However, Kendall Houghton, a accomplice at the Washington law close Alston & Bird, and a civic ascendancy on bearding property, told me via email: “Although the Illinois treasurer’s appointment has a apparatus in abode for advantageous claims to owners of escheated acreage (property angry over to the state), it seems absurd that a allowance agenda buyer will anytime be able to auspiciously antithesis these funds, as best cards are appear afterwards the all-important cardholder information. Thus, as a applied matter, the law will acceptable serve primarily to accomplish added acquirement for the state.”
Rivara accepted this: “Unfortunately, if there is no name associated with the agenda back it is appear to the Illinois treasurer, it is around absurd to affirmation the funds.”
He acclaimed there is a accouterment in the law acute that allowance cards still be accustomed afterwards their amount has been appear to the treasurer’s office, as the agenda issuer will be reimbursed by the broker for its value. But in absoluteness if a agenda is beneath by a banker for bare funds, there is little a customer can do to adverse this.
When I asked Illinois advocate accepted agent Eileen Boyce whether Christine ability accept any adventitious at actuality reimbursed for her allowance certificates’ value, she told me: “For cards issued afore 2005 … the banker arising the affidavit would accept bare to acknowledge the cessation date and fees or provided a way [i.e., a buzz number] that consumers could analysis the balance, cessation date, and fees.”
Though there were no cessation dates or fees printed on Christine’s allowance certificates, there were buzz numbers. So it’s acceptable there were cessation dates, but cardholders had to alarm to ascertain them. And above-mentioned to 2005, retailers kept any allowance affidavit money that wasn’t adored for appurtenances or casework above-mentioned to a certificate’s expiration.
“If Christine would like to book a complaint with our office, we would be animated to accelerate the complaint to the companies that issued the allowance certificates and ask them to respond,” Boyce offered. Complaints can be filed at www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov.
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Cathy Cunningham is a freelance columnist.
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