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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:Alison Mitchell
November 7, 2005
(617) 367-6900

CAHILL FILES SUIT AGAINST REBATE COMPANY
Millions in Uncashed Checks Kept from Massachusetts Residents

Massachusetts State Treasurer Tim Cahill today filed suit against Young America Corporation in an effort to return millions of dollars to Massachusetts residents. The suit petitions the Massachusetts Superior Court to direct Young America to open its records of uncashed rebate checks for examination by auditors.

“Records confirm that Young America owes millions to Massachusetts residents, and $129 million to consumers nationwide,” said Treasurer Cahill.

Young America, a Minnesota based company, is the country's largest rebate fulfillment house. Many large companies, including Hewlett-Packard and Best Buy, have used Young America to process rebate forms and send rebate checks to their customers. In an apparent attempt to avoid state unclaimed property laws, Young America has entered into agreements with these and other companies allowing it to keep the proceeds of uncashed checks in exchange for charging the customer a discounted processing fee. From 1995 to 2002, according to SEC filings, Young America pocketed $42,962,339 in uncashed rebate checks as its own income. Court records confirm that Young America returned approximately $86 million in uncashed rebate checks to its corporate clients, rather than to consumers. Numerous consumer complaints have also been made about “phantom rebates,” which include extensive paperwork and impossible deadlines.

"This is one of the worst consumer abuses I’ve seen,” said Treasurer Cahill. “Not only is the consumer virtually unable to obtain promised rebates, but Young America, which should be processing those rebates, is keeping uncashed checks as its own property.”

Massachusetts law requires that after three years, the proceeds of uncashed rebate checks must be turned over to the state’s abandoned property division and returned to their rightful owners. In 2003, Treasurer Cahill formally notified Young America that

Massachusetts joined 40 other states asking to audit Young America’s unclaimed rebate check records. Young America refused to comply with state laws and, instead, filed an action in the United States District Court to block the audits. The action was dismissed, and the United States Court of Appeals has affirmed that decision. Young America has now filed suit against Massachusetts and the 40 other states in a further attempt to withhold more than $40 million dollars from consumers nationwide. Since Young America has continued to refuse to cooperate in an examination of its records to ensure compliance with the Massachusetts law, Treasurer Cahill has filed suit in Massachusetts Superior Court to halt to this abuse.

“Young America has been keeping uncashed checks as their own property instead of turning this money over to consumers,” stated Cahill. “This suit will help put an end to these abuses and return money to its rightful owners in Massachusetts.”

Cahill oversees the state’s Abandoned Property Division, which in fiscal year 2005 returned more than $70 million in cash and stock to residents, municipalities and organizations in Massachusetts. For more information, or to see if you have money with the Abandoned Property Division, visit www.findmassmoney.com.

Prior to being elected Treasurer in 2002, Cahill served as Norfolk County Treasurer and a City Councilor in Quincy, and was a successful small business owner. He lives in Quincy with his wife and four daughters.

 

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  Contact Information
 

Office of the State Treasurer
State House, Room 227
Boston MA, 02133

Phone Number:
617-367-6900
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