December 27, 2007
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Giannoulias: Redeem expired gift cards
New gift card law protects Illinois consumers
Illinois residents who received gift cards this holiday season may be able to redeem them for cash
even if the gift cards expire, Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias said today.
The Treasurer’s Office is holding more than $5 million in unused gift card balances for Illinois
Giannoulias’ announcement comes after a record year in gift card sales and in advance of a new law
which aims to make gift cards more consumer-friendly. As of Jan. 1, gift cards must not expire for five
years after issuance and cannot charge fees which diminish their value.
“In Illinois, gift cards never stop giving,” Giannoulias said. “Even when gift cards expire, consumers
can recover their money from the state.”
Owners of expired gift cards can search for their refunds on the state’s unclaimed property database
at www.cashdash.net or call (866) 458-7327. Even if a name isn’t listed, the state may still have a
person’s unused balance.
Most gift card retailers do not record the name or contact information for the purchaser or recipient.
The unredeemed balances come to the state marked as “owner unknown.” In such cases, the
purchaser or recipient must file a claim with the Treasurer’s Office using the serial number on the
expired gift card.
Unfortunately not all retailers who do business in Illinois send unclaimed gift card balances to the
Treasurer. Unused gift card balances are sometimes remitted to the state where the retailer is
incorporated. That’s one reason why the new gift card law is a win for Illinois consumers, said state
Rep. Jack Franks of Woodstock who sponsored the legislation.