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Gift Cards, Bankruptcies and Store Closings

There’s a lot of nervousness this year surrounding gift cards. What if the location near me closes? Will the store go out of business? If they declared bankruptcy, can I use my gift card?

Before Christmas, I recommended giving cash instead of gift cards to cut out some of the worry and increase possibilities for you redipient. But in some cases, gift cards feel like the right choice or in others they’re just what you got. So should you be worried?

If you’re concerned about not being able to use a gift card, I would recommend checking out this excellent Snopes article that one of my readers sent. Snopes generally does a great job fact-checking and they’ve explained which well-known stores are doing what and what you can expect.

For instance, filing for Chapter 11 (bankruptcy) doesn’t necessarily mean that a store will close or won’t accept gift cards. Closing in one location isn’t the same as going out of business either. It may make it inconvenient for you to redeem the gift card or you may be able to use it online.

And they have official numbers (actual? who knows…but the official numbers released by the company) for store closings for a number of stores. Doesn’t tell you if your local branch will be among them (though you can ask) but gives you an idea of the nationwide situation.

If your local branch closes but most are still open nationwide, then you may be able to exchange or sell the gift card.

Merry post-Christmas everyone. I hope you get the most out of your gifts, including your gift cards!


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Craig December 29, 2008 at 5:04 pm

I like receiving gift cards, because it’s from a store I am going to buy something from anyways, like Borders. Just be careful and do research before hand. If you know the company has had trouble, don’t buy the card. Read the terms as well before hand.

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