Press Release For immediate release:
March 4, 2010
Treasurer Zweifel’s Contact:
Treasurer Zweifel and Attorney General Koster announce $303,000settlement with Sprint
Award impacts 3,640 people
JEFFERSON CITY- State Treasurer Clint Zweifel
and Attorney General Chris Koster
announced today they had reached a $303,000 settlement
in a lawsuit against Sprint
over uncashed and unclaimed rebate checks. Treasurer Zweifel said his office had already added more than 3,600 Missourians affected by the lawsuit to ShowMeMoney.com
. Thirty-six states signed on to the $22 million settlement. As a result, thousands of people will be able to claim their rebate checks and put money back in their pockets.
The suit centered on whether uncashed rebate checks are reportable under Missouri’s Unclaimed Property laws and, if so, who is the proper party to report them to Treasurer Zweifel’s office.
“The law requires companies to report abandoned property to my office each year,” Treasurer Zweifel said. “We argued that rebate checks become Unclaimed Property under Missouri law if they go uncashed for five years, the same way that stocks and bonds become Unclaimed Property. Ultimately, Missourians should know we hold their property forever until we can reunite them with what is theirs. ”
One in 10 Missourians has Unclaimed Property. The average return is $360. Rebate checks may be claimed at ShowMeMoney.com.
“This settlement will ensure that Missourians will be able to get the full value of any rebate checks issued by Sprint and processed by Young America from 1999 through 2002,” Attorney General Koster said. “In addition, Sprint has agreed to report all future unclaimed rebates annually.”
About the Lawsuit
The lawsuit began in 2006 against Young America Corporation, a rebate processor company from Minnesota. The suit expanded to include T-Mobile,Walgreens and Sprint as individual companies that used Young America to process their rebates.
The lawsuit contended that either Young America or the retailer was responsible to report uncashed rebate checks to Treasurer Zweifel’s office, making it possible for rebate holders to make a claim for their rebate check. The retailers contended that Young America was responsible, while Young America contended the retailers were responsible. Walgreens and T-Mobile settled in 2009.
Treasurer Zweifel, Attorney General Koster and Sprint agreed to leave the disputed issues unresolved in order to avoid additional litigation and accomplish the settlement. Sprint denies any liability for the money claimed by Missouri and other states.
Sprint has paid the funds to Treasurer Zweifel’s office to resolve the matter. Young America has provided the names and addresses for all rebates over$50.
About Treasurer Zweifel’s Unclaimed Property
State law requires financial institutions, insurance companies, public agencies and other business entities to turn over assets to Treasurer Zweifel’s office that belong to a customer,client, employee or other owner if there have been no documented transactions or contact with the owner for five or more years. Most Unclaimed Property consists of cash from bank accounts,stocks, bonds and contents of safe deposit boxes that have been abandoned. It also can include uncollected insurance policy proceeds, government refunds, utility deposits and wages from past jobs. Treasurer Zweifel’s office does not handle real property such as land, houses, cars and boats. There is $600 million in Unclaimed Property maintained by Treasurer Zweifel. Treasurer Zweifel’s office never charges for the return of Unclaimed Property.
A media kit with head shot and biography is available at: www.treasurer.mo.gov/MediaToolKit.asp
This release prompted an article on MSNMoney: http://news.moneycentral.msn.com/provider/providerarticle.aspx?feed=ACBJ&date=20100304&id=11199201