Consumers have been warned for the longest time about gift cards with expiration dates. With all the publicity, most of your big retailers and chains do not impose any expiration dates anymore. This is all great except apparently some states are now claiming those unused funds if you do not us it in a certain period of time. How can they do this? There seems to be a law called “escheatment,” that says the States have the authority to overtake abandoned property. You may not guess unused gift cards would be considered property, but obviously some states are seeing it that way such as New York and California. NY is 5 years and CA is 3. So you better use those cards or lose it. There are many sites out there that you can sell your gift cards to if you have no interest in the store. Simply do a search online for them.
I personally thing this is not right on the State’s part. Thebusiness has been preaching for years that one of the best benefits of having gift cards is that the unclaimed money is simply yours to keep. It will vary with every merchant, but unclaimed gift card value can be anywhere from 10 to 20%, which is simply extra free cash for the merchant. Apparently, this is no longer the case if you are located in some states.