Spend Your Gift Card before Delaware Takes It

The state of Delaware could confiscate your gift cards’ unused balances if you wait too long to use them

Delaware state laws allow for expired or dormant gift card balances to be turned over to the state. Gift cards that haven’t been used for five years or those that have expired are considered “abandoned property.”

Consumer lawyer Cary Flitter, with the Philadelphia law firm Flitter Milz, said, “Customers can protect themselves from having their cards confiscated by learning the expiration dates. Consumers should read the disclosure on the card or jacket it comes with. The burden should be on the seller, but there is a little bit of buyer beware that helps the consumer from losing the gift card’s funds.”

Under Delaware’s escheatment or unclaimed property laws, the holder of that abandoned property – the retailers who issued the cards – is required to report to Delaware when the funds have become abandoned and turn them over to the state.

Typically, most states have laws to collect abandoned property or funds when someone passes away without any heirs.  But only about half the states include gift cards.