Quote of the day

Loading Quotes...

A not so Sharper Image

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.


  • Rachel @ Master Your Card April 16, 2008, 9:53 am

    I tend to give money rather than gift cards because I feel that the recipient has more choice as to where to spend the money. Perhaps when asking for gifts we should do the same thing.

  • Austin Chu June 25, 2008, 4:41 pm

    I work for a company that manages and tracks gift cards and I’ve been following the sharper image bk on savvywallet.com. Below are the ways to file a claim to get your gift card back. Bear with me, it’s long:

    1. File a claim with the federal bankruptcy court. Follow these steps:
    A. Because The Sharper Image’s bankruptcy was filed in Delaware, you have to visit the Delaware Bankruptcy Court Page.(http://www.deb.uscourts.gov/claims/sort_names.htm) Scroll down to Sharper Image.
    B. Fill out Form 10 from the Federal Bankruptcy Court. (http://www.uscourts.gov/bankruptcycourts.html)
    C. Download, print and sign it, and mail it to:
    Kurtzman Carson Consultants, LLC (http://www.kccllc.com/)
    Jonathan Carson
    2335 Alaska Avenue
    El Segundo, CA 90245
    D. If you have trouble call the Bankruptcy Judges Division at 202.502.1900. Explain your situation, and they will walk you through the process. You will get a person on the phone as well.
    E. Take these steps to file a claim with the Federal Bankruptcy Court

    2. Take advantage of the offer from competitor The Sharper Image’s competitor, Brookstone, to give a 25 percent discount to anyone who surrenders their Sharper Image gift card or certificate. http://www.brookstone.com/info/content.asp?cust_serv_id=416

    3. Try filing a claim with your credit card issuer, if you used a credit card to buy a Sharper Image gift card
    A. Request a refund from the card issuer.
    B. American Express is ‘working on behalf’ of its card holders who submit such claims, even if the submission is beyond the 60 day statutory limit. This will be on a case by case basis.
    C. Also, AMEX cardholders who opted for the Sharper Image gift card as membership rewards programs can return it and have their rewards points re-credited to your account. MUST DO IT WITHIN 60 DAYS

    4. Also if a card that you gave or received was purchased from LeverageCard.com, Leverage has a bankruptcy policy that allows cards that are purchased via LeverageCard.com to be replaced with any retailer of choice. You can read more here. (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_pwwi/is_200802/ai_n24330330)

Leave a Comment