CHICAGO, Ill. – In an effort to protect consumers, state Rep. Theresa Mah, D-Chicago, passed legislation prohibiting businesses from issuing rebate cards with hidden charges that could potentially leave the rebate worthless.
“Consumers should receive the full value they are promised when they receive a rebate from a business,” Mah said. “These predatory business practices are unfair, and the hidden fees—in the fine print—especially hurt communities that do not speak English as their primary language.”
Mah’s proposal, House Bill 4922, prohibits hidden fees on rebate cards and helps ensure that any unused rebate is eventually returned to the consumer via the Illinois Treasurer’s office. The legislation is a joint effort with the office of Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs.
Currently, inactivity fees on gift cards are already prohibited, however there is no similar restriction on cards issued as rebates. Mah’s proposal is an effort to close this loophole and eliminate a practice that allows banks to profit on the backs of unsuspecting consumers.
Additionally, the proposal works to ensure that unclaimed funds from rebates cards are returned to consumers. Under current state law, if a rebate check is not cashed within 3 years, companies are required to turn over the amount of the check to the Treasurer’s office as unclaimed property, to allow the Treasurer’s office to connect the individual with the money that is rightfully theirs.
“This legislation will expand on the Treasurer’s office ability to make sure consumers are receiving the funds that they were promised,” Mah said. “I look forward to continuing to advocate for consumers and getting this bipartisan legislation signed into law.”
The proposal passed the House this week with bipartisan support and awaits further action in the Senate.