States Seek Return of Uncashed Rebates
analyst, Hal Stinchfield, CEO of Promotional Marketing Insights,
reacted today to a recent development in the ongoing proceeding
regarding the treatment of uncashed rebate checks.
Minneapolis, MN (PRWEB) May 8, 2008 -- Rebate analyst, Hal Stinchfield, CEO of Promotional Marketing Insights (www.promotioninsights.com), reacted today to a recent development in the ongoing proceeding regarding the treatment of uncashed rebate checks.
In a rather dramatic and unprecedented showing of solidarity, 44
states, the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
have added three rebate sponsors to the Fitzgerald v. Young America
Corporation litigation (in the Iowa District Court for Polk County, IA,
Civil Action No. 6030), a case which seeks to address the failure of
issuers of rebate checks to report uncashed rebates as unclaimed
property to the various states.
"When consumers don’t get their manufacturer or retailer rebates, they
are outraged," said Stinchfield. "The reason the states are interested
in this issue is so they can locate the rightful owners and return the
According to the "Third Amended and Substituted Petition" filed with
the court by the Iowa Department of Justice on April 18, 2008, Sprint
Nextel Corporation, T-Mobile USA, Inc., and Walgreen Company were added
as additional defendants in this case.
Previous to the filing of the amended petition, the group of plaintiff
states had been pursuing Young America for the failure to report
uncashed rebate checks where required under their unclaimed property
statutes. The amended filing reinforces a commitment by the plaintiffs
to vigorously pursue the matter of compliance and apparently
demonstrate they are no longer willing to accept an "it’s not our
"This is a consumer advocacy issue until a manufacturer, retailer, or
fulfillment company fails to report and return uncashed rebates to the
states; then it also becomes a legal issue," said Stinchfield.
The states’ action signifies that while the matter of liability has not
yet been determined (through the legal proceedings), it is clear that
by adding client companies to the litigation, the states firmly believe
that regardless of which entity owes the money, somebody does.
With this action, the states also seem to be asserting that the failure
to report uncashed checks as unclaimed property will result in
Rebate sponsors and fulfillment companies, once thought immune from
this liability, are clearly at risk whether they knew of the unclaimed
property statutes or not.
"Consumers should be able to find their uncashed checks on the states’
unclaimed property web sites, but they won’t be there because they
haven’t been reported," said Stinchfield.
The best way for manufacturers and fulfillment companies to protect
themselves is to clearly and contractually agree in advance which party
will report uncashed checks, have a well-documented, consumer-friendly
replacement and resubmit strategy, and be certain the check clearing
bank has maintained meticulous records of cleared and un-cleared rebate
checks by dollar amount, by state, by month, and by offer.
To request a copy of the recently filed petition or discuss rebate
liability and risk mitigation strategies, interested corporate
executives may contact Hal Stinchfield, CEO of Promotional Marketing
Insights (www.promotioninsights.com): hal @ promotioninsights.com.
Promotional Marketing Insights (www.promotioninsights.com) is an executive rebate and promotion management consultancy.
hal @ promotioninsights.com