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Email Notifications Sent for Abandoned Property?

Can email notifications be sent for abandoned property? My understanding is that this is subject to what each state may require depending on the address the account holder is located. Some states require a written notice to be mailed. So if we meet E-SIGN requirements would that supersede state requirements? Would CAN-SPAM Act also need to be considered as not being in violation since it talks about "notification of a change in the recipient's standing or status"? I'm thinking this Act is more related for purposes of commercial electronic mail.

by Brian Crow:

Besides being specific to state law, you couldn't possibly meet E-SIGN requirements since the customer (with whom you have had no contact) must agree and provide demonstrable consent before you can provide a required disclosure electronically. If you contact your customer to obtain demonstrable consent, then you won't need to send an abandoned property notice.

For states that require a written notice, I see no way to send this notice electronically.


by Richard Insley:

This is a really interesting question--one I haven't heard in all of ESIGN's 20 years. My first reaction is that abandoned property notifications are required by state law...right? If that's the case and your state has a UETA, then it would be available to you. UETAs do not require a demonstration--just consent. These laws have been on the books long enough that escheatment is now required for an inactive customer who DID provide valid consent under the ESIGN or UETA rules long ago and has not notified the bank of any changes. (Example: I've used the same email address since the late '90s, so I could have consented to e-documents in 2000 and that consent would still be valid and I would receive the notification.)

Clearly, if valid consent wasn't obtained before you lost touch with the customer, there's no way to get it without the appropriate communication now. Nevertheless, that doesn't mean you couldn't give email a shot to winnow the list before printing and mailing the official paper notifications to those customers who don't respond to the (unofficial) email.

First published on 02/23/2020

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