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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Prepaid targeted by N.J. unclaimed property bill

A battle is brewing over unclaimed property in New Jersey. According to a webinar hosted by The Keane Organization Inc., a firm specializing in unclaimed property issues, New Jersey is targeting unclaimed property, such as unused funds on stored-value cards, to make up for budget shortfalls.

A state assembly bill introduced in June 2010, and backed by Gov. Chris Christie, is designed to amend New Jersey's unclaimed property laws. Among other things, NJ A3002 would mandate retailers to collect names and addresses of gift card purchasers.

Keane said the reasoning behind the mandate is that if the card purchaser gives a New Jersey zip code, then it is assumed that any unused funds on that card would escheat to New Jersey and not some other state. Keane put the amount of money from stored-value cards that would annually escheat to New Jersey under the proposed new regulations at between $33 to $55 million.

But the Keane webinar called this proposed revision to New Jersey's unclaimed property laws an "egregious" act because it places on retailers the "hardship" of collecting names and addresses of card purchasers at the POS. To contest NJ A3002, a competing, retailer-backed bill was proposed in September 2010. NJ A3250 would eliminate the obligation contained in A3002 for retailers to obtain card purchaser names and addresses. The bill would also eliminate the state's claim on unused stored-value card funds. end of article

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