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 (ZWY-ful) 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
Created for State Senate Candidate Don Calloway
In Minnesota, It’s About Grass Roots Not Astroturf
Several Lutheran Services in America (LSA)members are working to educate voters this election season. One such group is Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota (LSS-MN). Through LSS-MN’s efforts,voters have received nonpartisan information about the candidates for state and national government. LSS-MN also educated candidates by inviting them onsite visits to learn about the needs of the disabled and the work done by LSS-MN.
“It’s about continuing education and building relationships”, said Kirsten Anderson-Stembridge of LSS-MN. LSS reaches out to candidates and continues the conversation once they are elected. Site visits are a small part of relationship building efforts. Another strategy helps build the disability advocacy community, while also forcing politicians to take notice. LSS-MN makes sure that their members are up to date on talking points and information. They also offer forums for members to ask questions of prospective legislators.Members are their own best advocates, and LSS-MN keeps their members engaged by having events monthly, in addition to events focused on elections or the legislative calendar. (break for longer article on webpage not newsletter)
LSS-MN also partners with a leader in disability awareness. The Consortiums for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), an ARM-trade group, is helping in elections efforts by offering rides to the polls for all persons. Through their combined efforts, many people in Minnesota’s disability advocacy community have registered to vote, called for rides, or learned more about candidates. Members also feel comfortable asking questions in LSS/CCD sponsored forums and events.
Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota has taken the step to build lasting relationships not only with their members, but also with elected officials in an attempt to enact changes to benefit the community.