HOUSE BILL NO. 731
AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 11, TITLE 12 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO ABANDONED PROPERTY.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:
Section 1. Amend §1198(10), Chapter 11, Title 12 of the Delaware Code by striking the phrase "proceeds held for unredeemed gift certificates" as it appears In paragraph "(iv)" of said subsection and substitute in lieu thereof the phrase "amounts received in consideration for gift certificates which are unredeemed, or, in lieu of which the State Escheator's may in his discretion and upon the specific request of the issuer, accept: (1) Oft certificates re-issued at face value on the date on which they are tendered to the Escheator; or (2) where the gift certificates provide that they are redeemable for merchandise only, an amount in money representing the maximum cost to the issuer of merchandise represented by the certificate. The burden of proof as to the cost of merchandise shall be on the issuer of the certificate".
Section 2. Amend §11913(10), Chapter 11, Title 12 of the Delaware Code by striking the last sentence of said subsection in its entirety and substitute in lieu thereof the following sentence: "The word 'property' does not include credits or deposits evidenced by cash balances on unclaimed or refused personal property, except the items mentioned in paragraphs (i) through (xii) of this subsection including specifically and without limitation consideration received for unredeemed gift certificates, the right to recover which in a proceeding brought by the owner would be barred by any statute of limitations, State or Federal."
Section 3. Amend §1198(8), Chapter 11, Title 12 of the Delaware Code by adding at the end thereof the following:
"Notwithstanding the foregoing, the 'period of dormancy' with regard to gift certificates shall be the shorter of: (a) 5 years, or (b) the expiration period, if any, of the gift certificate less one day. In the event the period of dormancy is determined by reference to the expiration period of the gift certificate, the rights of the Escheator shall attach at the time provided in paragraph (b) above, but the issuer may continue to hold the property and may report and pay over such property as if the period of dormancy were 5 years."
Section 4. Amend Chapter 11, Title 12, of the Delaware Code by adding thereto a new §1212 to read as follows:
"§1212. No Private Escheat of Gift Certificates.
Any provision on or relating to any gift certificate the amount paid in consideration of which is defined as 'property' for purposes of this Chapter, which provides that, upon the owner's failure to act or make a claim pursuant to such gift certificate within a certain period of time, the owner of the gift certificate shall lose rights with respect to the gift certificate against the issuer, which provision, if applied as against the State Escheator, would have the effect of defeating the escheat of any amount with regard to such gift certificate, shall be unenforceable as against the State Escheator."
Section 5. Amend §1199, Chapter 11, Title 12 of the Delaware Code by adding thereto a new subsection (g) to read as follows:
"(g) No reporting shall be required solely by virtue of holding property constituting consideration paid for unredeemed gift certificates which, in the aggregate, for the reporting period have a face value of less than $5,000."
Section 6. If any provision, clause or phrase of this act, or the application there to any person or circumstance Is adjudged Invalid by any court of competent jurisdiction, such judgment shall not invalidate the remainder of this act or affect the application of the act or any portion thereof to other persons or circumstances.
Section 7. The State Escheator may issue any regulations he finds appropriate to aid in the administration of this Act, and such regulations shall, when issued, have the force and effect of law.
Section 8. Sections 3 and 4 of this Act shall be effective for gift certificates issued on or after September 1, 1990. The remainder of this Act shall be effective for property held by the holder on or after July 13, 1971, including, without limitation, gift certificates issued on or after said date. For purposes of §1199 of Title 12, reporting of unredeemed gift certificates covered by Sections 1 and 2 of this Act issued prior to a date five years prior to the date of enactment of this Act shall be on or before March 1, 1991, unless such certificates have been reported for an earlier reporting period.
Approved July 2, 1990.