My question involves business law in the state of: Delaware
I recently had money from a Google Payments account escheated to the state of Delaware, despite me having regularly (at least once per year since its creation and at least once per month during the 12 months preceeding the day of escheatment) logged in to that account.
This account was created in 2013 and had less than a dozen transactions (income from Google Play sales) until April 2018. From then on, continuously multiple transactions (Google Play) per month occured up until now. Money has never been withdrawn from this account.
During the email exchange with Google Support I received this email confirming that I logged in regularly:
"We appreciate the response.
The information you have gathered was correct. Though, you're signed in to your account regularly; however, there were no movement of the funds from the time you have created your Merchant account (2013-XX-XX) up until the present. With this being said, your account turned dormant and it may be the reason as to why the funds were escheated last XXXX XX, 2019."
I then inquired about the legal basis for the escheatment:
According to Section 1136 of Title 12, Delaware Code:
"§ 1136 Indication of owner interest in property.
(a) Property is not presumed abandoned if the owner indicates an interest in the property during the applicable periods in this chapter.
(b) An indication of an owner's interest in property includes any of the following:
(4) Activity directed by an owner in the account in which the property is held, including accessing the account or information concerning the account, or [...]."
The law doesn't require "movement of the funds", but merely accessing "information concerning the account" to prevent property from being considered dormant.
As I have logged in to this Google Account regurlarly, and thereby accessed "information concerning the account" regularly, can you please tell me what the legal basis for this escheatment was?
This was Google's response:
"We appreciate the response, XXXXX.
I do understand that accessing an account on a regular basis is considered as an activity; however, it doesn't end there, there are other factor that can trigger account dormant. Please refer to this scenario where funds might be left in account:
- Bank account changed in the past and information was never updated
- Bank account was never linked to a merchant account
- Merchant eventually stopped processing and/or moved and did not update bank info
- Merchant may not have submitted tax information, and we are holding disbursement
- Tax information could be incorrect
- There were no movements of the fund for 2+ years
I hope I was able to address you concern. My apologies for the inconvenience it may have caused you. Should you have further questions, please reply to this email and I'll be happy to help. Have a good day!"
In my view of the law, logging in regularly sufficiently constitutes "accessing information concerning the account" and thus should prevent an account from being "presumed abandoned".
The wording of the law "any of the following" implies that only a single condition needs to be met (whether any other one is met or not is irrevelant) to prevent an account from getting "presumed abandoned".
Am I right? Or is Google's interpretation of the law correct (that more conditions need to be met to prevent escheatment)?