In the last three years, New York has collected $19 million in unused gift card balances under the state’s unclaimed-property laws. Best Buy added $135 million in unspent gift cash to its total operating income over the past two years. “For individual retailers, unspent balances can range anywhere from 2% to more than 10% of all gift-card sales,” notes BusinessWeek.
The Tennessee State Board of Education is expected to pass a bill on January 25th that will make Tennesee the eighth state (after Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, South Dakota, and Utah) to require that its high school students take a personal finance class before graduation.
The “Shine the Light” law passed in California in 2005 requires all businesses to tell customers who they sell their private data to, and to provide a no-cost way to remove your name, address, and phone number from their lists. Unfortunately, it’s not being followed by more than half of the companies tested in a new report: “The California Public Interest Research Group found only one third of the survey participants received responses from companies consistent with the law.”
An insurance trade group today announced a “series of steps” to expand the number of Americans who have health insurance. “The proposals, approved by a board of the industry’s main trade group, would make it harder for insurers to cancel policies or deny coverage to people with pre-existing medical conditions. The steps would also limit the premiums that could be charged for such people.” The trade off? “The trade group also called on states to provide individual coverage for people who were likely to incur very high medical bills.”
Kids who spin yo-yo waterballs around their heads can get them wrapped around their necks, leading to tales of temporary blindness, blackouts, and neck scars. Today New Jersey voted 71-to-7 to ban sales of the toy. [Newsday]
Where are the affordable real estate markets in your state? Oh, we don’t know. It’s a good thing BusinessWeek does. They’ve made a list of the most and least affordable markets in each of these United States.
States are beginning to enact protections for subprime borrowers, reacting to the absence of a national solution from Washington. North Carolina last week became one of one of several states to clamp down on the adjustable-rate mortgages that have fueled the subprime meltdown.