Or “Gift Card Madness Redux“. When I posted about gift cards in November, I warned how 27% (according to CNNMoney) of gift cards were never used, they were lost, forgotten, or put aside. Well, please allow me to add another warning; when a store for which you have a gift card files for bankruptcy, you may not be able to use the gift card, or at least not the way you supposed. It seems that bankruptcy law considers the money spent on those cards an asset of the company, not an obligation to the consumer. Consumer Reports published an on line article a month back, Sharper Image demonstrates perils of gift cards. As of this posting, Sharper Image will allow the use of a gift card if it’s used for half of a purchase AND it’s used in full. For me, I had received multiple certificates at corporate promotions. When the SI checkout person saw the certificates along with gift cards, he offered to combine them into one convenient card. $800 worth. So to spend this, I’d need to first find a $1600 or more item, and I’d need to pony up another $800. I think I’ll pass for now. Although that life sized Yoda would look great in my den.
If it wasn’t bad enough that you can easily misplace a gift card, or that there would be fees after months of inactivity, now you need to consider which companies may file for bankruptcy. Sounds like Linens and Things is already there and Circuit City may be next. When you see that rack of gift cards, you may just want to walk on by.