Using Your Gift Card for Bankrupt Companies

November 12, 2008
In 2006 TowerGroup estimated consumers spent $80 Billion on gift cards and it is expected that in 2008 that amount will hit $100 Billion. In 2006, $8 Billion of those gift cards purchased remained unredeemed.

Many people purchase gift cards as an easy gift to give. The problem is that with the economy going through the current struggles, many retailers are filing Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. What happens to the gift cards that have been purchased from those retailers? Some companies will continue to accept the cards as long as they are still solvent. Others say that consumers will have to come in and fill out a bankruptcy form, send it in to headquarters, and wait to see if they will receive any kind of reimbursement. Others refuse them outright. At this time there is very little consumer protection for consumers with regard to gift cards.

The important thing if you receive a gift card is to use it while it is still good. Make sure that you know about any fees associated with it, expiration date on the card, as well as if the company has filed bankruptcy. If you are purchasing a gift card and have any doubt about a company's situation or their gift card rules, it may be safer to give a gift or cash.