Overstock.com ordered to pay $7.2 million in damages for unclaimed property law violations


Online giant Overstock.com has been ordered to millions of dollars in penalties for violating a Delaware law on gift cards.

A New Castle County Superior Court Jury determined ruled against overstock and in favor of the plaintiffs.

Overstock claimed damages awarded by the jury were excessive. However, Judge Paul R. Wallace ruled that the company must pay more than $7.2 million in treble damages and civil penalties.

The case arose out of whistleblower complaint regarding the practice of Overstock turning over gift card balances to another company, The company was based in Ohio and Overstock claimed its statutes applied. Ohio does not require companies to turn over the unclaimed property.

The jury rejected the argument.

Under Delaware law, companies incorporated in the state must return unclaimed property, such as gift cards to the state.

Unclaimed property from major corporations that can also include stock has become a sizable source of revenue in the state.

The state has been sued over its unclaimed property practices and the state has been aggressive in seeking the unclaimed funds through its own estimates.

The Overstock case is different since it involved allegations that the company was willful in its actions in not returning property.

The court will determine legal fees to be paid in connection with the case.

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