Just when you thought it was safe to escheat gift cards in New Jersey . . . .
As you may know, New Jersey recently revised its unclaimed property laws relating to gift cards. In particular, the new legislation provides that retailers generally only have to escheat 60% of the face value of unclaimed gift cards, applies a dormancy period of five years for those items (up from two), and delays enactment of a requirement that card sellers obtain purchaser address information for five years. That new law settled the long running legislative, judicial, and public relations battles concerning the Garden State's attempts to bring unused gift cards into the scope of the state unclaimed property act.
Or did it? On July 30, New Jersey Assemblyman Paul D. Moriarty, chairman of the Assembly Consumer Affairs committee, introduced Assembly Bill 3189, which would completely remove stored value cards from the scope of the NJ Unclaimed Property Act. As reported previously by NJ Biz, Assemblyman Moriarty was the original sponsor of the legislation that became the recently passed, Senate Bill 1928, but he voted against the legislation after changes significantly altered the form of the bill (the original version of the bill was more akin to the newly introduced AB 3189). Inasmuch as Assemblyman Moriarty was the only legislator to vote against Senate Bill 1928, this legislation might be a long shot. Either way, the story is not quite over yet.