ASSEMBLY, No. 2751

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

213th LEGISLATURE

INTRODUCED MAY 19, 2008

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman DOUGLAS H. FISHER

District 3 (Salem, Cumberland and Gloucester)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

†††† Requires abandoned gift card balances to escheat to State.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

†††† As introduced.

††


An Act concerning gift card balances, amending R.S.46:30B-6 and P.L.2002, c.14, and supplementing Title 46 of the Revised Statutes.

 

†††† Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

†††† 1.† R.S.46:30B-6 is amended to read as follows:

†††† R.S.46:30B-6.† As used in this chapter:

†††† a.† "Administrator" means the Treasurer of the State of New Jersey, any individual serving as the Acting Treasurer in the absence of the appointed Treasurer, and any State employee to whom the Treasurer has delegated authority to administer the provisions of this chapter and to execute any pertinent documents;

†††† b.† "Apparent owner" means the person whose name appears on the records of the holder as the person entitled to property held, issued, or owing by the holder;

†††† c.† (Deleted by amendment, P.L.2002, c.35).

†††† d.† "Business association" means a corporation, joint stock company, investment company, business trust, partnership, unincorporated association, joint venture, limited liability company, safe deposit company, safekeeping depository, financial organization, insurance company, mutual fund, utility or other business entity consisting of one or more persons, whether or not for profit;

†††† e.† "Domicile" means the state of incorporation of a corporation and the state of the principal place of business of an unincorporated person;

†††† f.† "Financial organization" means a savings and loan association, building and loan association, credit union, savings bank, industrial bank, bank, banking organization, trust company, safe deposit company, private banker, or any organization defined by other law as a bank or banking organization;

†††† g.† "Holder" means a person, wherever organized or domiciled, who is the original obligor indebted to another on an obligation;

†††† h.† "Insurance company" means an association, corporation, fraternal or mutual benefit organization, whether or not for profit, which is engaged in providing insurance coverage, including accident, burial, casualty, credit life, contract performance, dental, fidelity, fire, health, hospitalization, illness, life (including endowments and annuities), malpractice, marine, mortgage, surety, and wage protection insurance;

†††† i.† (Deleted by amendment, P.L.2002, c.35).

†††† j.† (Deleted by amendment, P.L.2002, c.35).

†††† k.† "Owner" means a person having a legal or equitable interest in property subject to this chapter or the person's legal representative and includes, but is not limited to, a depositor in the case of a deposit, a beneficiary in the case of a trust other than a deposit in trust, and a creditor, claimant, or payee in the case of other property;

†††† l.† "Person" means an individual, business association, state or other government, governmental subdivision or agency, public corporation, public authority, estate, trust, two or more persons having a joint or common interest, or any other legal or commercial entity;

†††† m.† "State" means any state in the United States, district, commonwealth, territory, insular possession, or any other area subject to the jurisdiction of the United States;

†††† n.† "Utility" means a person who owns or operates for public use any plant, equipment, property, franchise, or license for the transmission of communications or the production, storage, transmission, sale, delivery, or furnishing of electricity, water, steam, or gas;

†††† o.† "Mineral" means gas, oil, coal, other gaseous, liquid and solid hydrocarbons, oil shale, cement material, sand and gravel, road material, building stone, chemical raw material, gemstone, fissionable and nonfissionable ores, colloidal and other clay, steam and other geothermal resources, or any other substance defined as a mineral by the law of this State;

†††† p.† "Mineral proceeds" means amounts payable for the extraction, production, or sale of minerals, or, upon the abandonment of those payments, all payments that become payable thereafter, and includes, but is not limited to, amounts payable:

†††† for the acquisition and retention of a mineral lease, including bonuses, royalties, compensatory royalties, shut-in royalties, minimum royalties, and delay rentals;

†††† for the extraction, production, or sale of minerals, including net revenue interests, royalties, overriding royalties, extraction payments, and production payments; and

†††† under an agreement of option, including a joint operating agreement, pooling agreement, and farm-out agreement;

†††† q.† "Money order" means an express money order and a personal money order, on which the remitter is the purchaser;

†††† r.† "Property" means tangible property described in R.S.46:30B-45 or a fixed and certain interest in intangible property that is held, issued, or owed in the course of a holder's business, or by a government, government subdivision, agency, or instrumentality, and all income or increments therefrom, and includes property that is referred to as or evidenced by:

†††† money, a check, draft, deposit, interest, or dividend;

†††† credit balance, customer's overpayment, security deposit, refund, credit memorandum, unpaid wage, unused ticket, mineral proceeds or unidentified remittance;

†††† stock or other evidence of ownership of an interest in a business association or financial organization;

†††† a bond, debenture, note, or other evidence of indebtedness;

†††† money deposited to redeem stock, bonds, coupons, or other securities or distributions;

†††† an amount due and payable under the terms of an annuity or insurance policy, including policies providing life insurance, property and casualty insurance, workers compensation insurance, or health and disability insurance; [and]

†††† an amount distributable from a trust or custodial fund established under a plan to provide health, welfare, pension, vacation, severance, retirement, death stock purchase, profit sharing, employee savings, supplemental unemployment, insurance, or similar benefits; and

†††† the unclaimed or unused value of a gift card, as defined in section 1 of P.L.2002, c.14 (C.56:8-110); and

†††† s.† "Record" means information that is inscribed on a tangible medium or that is stored in an electronic or other medium and is retrievable in perceivable form.

(cf:† P.L.2002, c.35, s.3)

 

†††† 2. †Section 1 of P.L.2002, c.14 (C.56:8-110) is amended to read as follows:

†††† 1.† a.† A gift certificate or gift card sold after the effective date of this amendatory act shall retain full unused value until presented in exchange for merchandise, or shall have any and all conditions and limitations, as permitted in paragraphs (1) through (3) of this subsection, disclosed to the purchaser of the gift certificate or gift card at the time of purchase as provided in subsection b. of this section.

†††† (1) In no case shall a gift certificate or gift card expire within the 24 months immediately following the date of sale.

†††† (2) No dormancy fee shall be charged against a gift certificate or a gift card within the 24 months immediately following the date of sale, nor shall one be charged within the 24 months immediately following the most recent activity or transaction in which the certificate or card was used.

†††† (3) A dormancy fee charged against a gift certificate or gift card as permitted by this subsection shall not exceed $2.00 per month.

†††† b.† The terms of any expiration date or dormancy fee applicable to a gift certificate or gift card, as permitted by subsection a. of this section, shall be disclosed to a consumer by:

†††† (1) written notice of the expiration date or dormancy fee or both printed in at least 10 point font, on the gift certificate or gift card, or the sales receipt for the certificate or card, or the package for the certificate or card; and

†††† (2) written notice, in at least 10 point font, on the gift certificate or gift card, or the sales receipt for the certificate or card, or the package for the certificate or card, of a telephone number which the consumer may call, for information concerning any expiration date or dormancy fee.

†††† c.† As used in this section:

†††† "Dormancy fee" means a charge imposed against the unused value of a gift card or gift certificate due to inactivity;

†††† "Gift card" means a tangible device, whereon is embedded or encoded in an electronic or other format a value issued in exchange for payment, which promises to provide to the bearer merchandise of equal value to the remaining balance of the device.† "Gift card" does not include a prepaid telecommunications or technology card, prepaid bank card or rewards card;

†††† "Gift certificate" means a written promise given in exchange for payment to provide merchandise in a specified amount or of equal value to the bearer of the certificate.† "Gift certificate" does not include a prepaid telecommunications or technology card, prepaid bank card or rewards card;

†††† "Merchandise" means and includes any objects, wares, goods, commodities, services or anything offered, directly or indirectly, to the public for sale;†

†††† "Prepaid bank card" means a general use, prepaid card or other electronic payment device that is issued by a bank or other financial institution, or a licensed money transmitter, in a pre-denominated amount usable at multiple, unaffiliated merchants or at automated teller machines, or both, but shall not include a card issued by a retail merchant;

†††† "Prepaid telecommunications or technology card" includes, but is not limited to: a prepaid telephone calling card; prepaid technical support card; or prepaid Internet disk distributed to or purchased by a consumer; and

†††† "Rewards card" means a card or certificate distributed by the issuer to a consumer pursuant to an awards, loyalty, rewards or promotional program, without any money or other consideration or thing of value by the consumer in exchange for the card or certificate.

†††† d.† Notwithstanding any other provision of this section to the contrary, a gift card which retains an unused value of $5 or less, after being presented in exchange for merchandise, shall be exchanged by the retail mercantile establishment, at the point of sale, for cash equaling the remaining unused value of the gift card.

(cf:† P.L.2005, c.254, s.1)

 

†††† 3.† (New section) †Presumption of abandonment.† The unclaimed or unused value of a gift card, as defined in section 1 of P.L.2002, c.14 (C.56:8-110), is presumed abandoned if any portion of the value of the gift card is unclaimed or unused for more than seven years after:

†††† a.† The date of the gift cardís most recent activity or transaction; or

†††† b.† The date on which it was purchased.

†††† Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, all moneys received as unclaimed property deposits from abandoned gift cards balances shall be deposited into the Property Tax Relief Fund established pursuant to N.J.S.54A:9-25.

 

†††† 4. †This act shall take effect on the first day of the thirteenth month following enactment.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

†††† This bill would require that the unclaimed or unused value of a gift card would, in time, escheat to the State and be deposited into the Property Tax Relief Fund.† In doing so, it would dedicate these unclaimed funds to property tax relief for New Jersey residents, rather than allowing retail merchants to retain possession of them.

†††† The bill specifies that the unclaimed balance of a gift card would be presumed abandoned, and thereby escheat to the State, after the card is not used for more than seven years from the date of its purchase or the last transaction for which it was used.

†††† In addition, the bill would require merchants to exchange the unused value of a gift card for cash when it is used for a purchase and $5 or less remains on the card.