Entries in Expiration Dates (2)


Millions in Lottery Jackpots Expiring before Being Claimed

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- If you are the ticket holder for the winning Massachusetts Mega Millions consolation prize with the numbers 2, 7, 10, 16 and 29, we have some bad news for you. You have just missed your chance to claim $250,000.  The jackpot expired Wednesday.

In six more days, on Aug. 3, a $900,000 jackpot is in danger of becoming little more than wishful thinking for some unlucky "winner" in Florida.

ABC News has found at least six other jackpots ranging from $10,000 -- two in Arizona expiring Aug. 8 and Aug. 22 -- to $16.5 million -- in Iowa, expiring in December -- that are about to evaporate over the next four months.

Other prizes at risk of vanishing are $55,404 in Florida on Aug. 23, $297,525 in California next month and a California treasure of $226,991 on Sept. 22.  In a sampling of just four states, ABC News found $17.5 million of unclaimed prizes in danger of expiration, leaving would-be winners with not even a penny of their prize money.

Topping the annals of the biggest losers is Clarence Jackson, a Connecticut man who turned in his winning ticket three days too late in 1996, missing out on a $5 million bonanza.  Any unclaimed ticket has since been known in the business as a "Clarence Jackson."

Some poor -- or poorer -- lottery player is blissfully unaware of missing out on a $51.7 million Powerball ticket sold in Indiana in 2002.

Less heartbreaking, but still lucrative tickets expire every month throughout the country.  In fact, approximately 2 percent of lottery prizes in the U.S. go unclaimed each year, according to Alex Traverso, the spokesman for the California lottery.

That percentage may seem miniscule but in California alone that amounted to $17.25 million of unclaimed prize money last year.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


How Often Do You Have to Replace Pricey Products?

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- As consumers well know, products from computers to cars to medications and foods often come with instructions on how long they should be kept before being replaced.

But, more often than not, the people making the replacement recommendations are the same people who profit from the products.  So are these guidelines really true?

ABC's Good Morning America set out to investigate the most common replacement recommendations, from getting the oil changed in your car every 3,000 miles to replacing your running shoes every three months.

With the help of independent experts, here are the top six replacement myths on the market today.

Replacement Myth #1: You Should Purchase New Running Shoes Every Six Months

GMA tested running shoes at a lab and found that after 500 miles one pair had minimal damage and another pair showed no wear at all.  Those results were no surprise to the testing experts at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute in New York City.

"What really matters when you're thinking about your running shoes is how many miles are on them," said Stacy Genovese, director of Consumer Electronics and Engineering at the Institute.  "So if you're an avid runner, running 25 miles a week, you need to replace them more quickly than someone who's just a casual runner who's running five miles a week."

Replacement Myth #2: Expired Foods Will Make You Sick

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says the dates stamped on processed foods packages have to do with quality, not safety.  Other than meat, foods past their expiration date are not dangerous, the FDA says.  They just may not be as nutritious or flavorful.

Replacement Myth #3: You Must Get Your Car's Oil Changed Every 3,000 Miles

GMA called 10 auto-repair shops and asked how often we should change the oil in a 2004 Honda Pilot SUV.

The two Honda dealerships that were contacted, along with one other shop, said the oil should be changed every 4,000 to 5,000 miles.  The remaining seven shops said to change the oil every 3,000 miles.  But they were all wrong.

Honda's own owners' manual for the 2004 Pilot instructs owners to change the oil on the vehicle just every 7,500 miles.

Replacement Myth #4: Expired Drugs Could Endanger Your Health

When it comes to prescription drugs, those written expressly for you by your doctor, the expiration dates should be closely watched, and followed.  The medications you purchase over-the-counter at your local pharmacy, however, are another story.

"If they're pills, things like pain relievers and analgesic medicines, they're going to be good for several years after they expire," ABC's chief medical expert Dr. Richard Besser told GMA.

"One thing to keep your medicines lasting longer is to take them out of the bathroom," said Dr. Besser.  "Hot, steamy air will cause your medicine to break down sooner."

Replacement Myth #5: Your Computer Becomes Obsolete as Soon as You Buy It

GMA quickly learned this myth is a giant whopper.

"As long as the computer's not really running slowly, there's no reason to upgrade," Genovese said.

In fact, as long as your computer has at least one gigabyte of RAM, and if you are just using your PC for things like checking email and shopping online, there is no need to replace it with another.

Replacement Myth #6: You Have to Replace the Ink Cartridge When Your Printer Says So

Not so.  In fact, you can keep printing well past the moment the warning lights on your printer start blinking.

Tests conducted by PC World magazine found that some ink cartridges are, in fact, still 40 percent full when the indicator says they are empty.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio