06/29/2015

By Andrew Johnson
GreenPath Communications

Farmington Hills, MI

We all have a few of them either rubber banded together or lost in the back of our kitchen junk drawer: gift cards in all colors and denominations. But, what are your rights if a store closes, is sold, or declares bankruptcy?

Recently, The Wall Street Journal ran an article on consumers rights, when it comes to gift cards and bankrupt retailers. They specifically discussed the bankruptcy of the Borders book store chain and how more than 17.7 million giftcards worth $210.5 million were never redemeed.

Some consumer highlights from the article include:

  • Retailers in bankruptcy can stop accepting gift cards at any time and don't always have to pay out undredeemed cards.
  • Most stores continue to take gift cards for the first month or two of liquidation sales. After that, customers must file a claim through the bankruptcy process to get in line for a payout.
  • In the Borders case, gift-card holders were given until June 1, 2011, to file a claim in the bankruptcy -- not a single cardholder filed such a claim.

The article stated that there are websites out there that list deadlines for using gift cards at closing store chains and how to file a bankruptcy claim. One such site listed is www.giftcards.com.

So, it certainly pays to keep up-to-date on gift card expirations, limitations and chain store closings. Do your homework and keep your money!