In addition to fighting big oil, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is warning holiday shoppers to read the fine print when purchasing gift cards, Gannett’s Haley Viccaro reports.
DiNapoli is urging New Yorkers to use gift cards within a year of purchase to avoid potential inactivity charges. He also said to be aware of upfront fees and restrictions with cards. Earlier today, Chevron accused DiNapoli of violating the state’s public officers law; he disputes it.
“If you plan on giving gift cards this holiday season, my advice is pay attention,” DiNapoli said in a statement. “Some gift cards have upfront fees or rules and restrictions that may diminish their value over time.”
Gift cards sold after August 22, 2010, are not allowed to have inactivity charges unless it has been inactive for a year or more, which is stated under the Federal Credit Card Act of 2009.
Corporations must return the money from unused gift cards to the Comptroller’s Office after five years of inactivity. DiNapoli is holding over $12 billion in unclaimed funds, according to a news release from the Comptroller’s office.
“If you find an old gift card, it may still have value, so try to spend it or see if the funds were turned over to my office as unclaimed funds,” DiNapoli said in a statement. “Be smart this holiday season and maximize your money.”
Gift cards could have a service fee upon purchase, a dormancy fee if not used within a certain period of time, a fee to call to check the balance remaining and a replacement fee for lost or stolen cards.
To check if you are owed money from a gift card visit https://www.osc.state.ny.us/