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Category: Bankruptcy & Gift Cards (Page 1 of 5)

Warning! Beware of Fake Gift Card Balance Sites

An article was just released on Thursday from the Consumerist about fake gift card balance sites that are looking to steal the value of your gift card. The sites were professionally designed and executed, but immediately taken down after the submission to google that these sites were fake.

If you wish to check the balance of your gift card online it his highly advised to make sure that you are at the correct URL for the company that supports the card. For example the sites url’s used were “myapplegiftcard.com” and “mybestbuygiftcard.com” While these sites were designed to fool even seasoned web users it is recommended to navigate the original home page and then find the link to checking your balance.

Avoid anything involving “my____giftcard”

Sean writes,

I was recently trying to sell an Apple gift card on CraigsList and received a bite from a “buyer” who claimed they wanted the card but wanted me to take a screen shot of the balance from myapplegiftcard.com.

Having been scammed before on gift card BS, I was very wary esp since I didn’t want to scratch off the pin for someone who may or may not buy the card. Especially since the woman didn’t want to give out any info and pulled the old “you seem sketchy since you won’t do this” card to try to put me on the defensive.

Continue reading here at The Consumerist

Eddie Bauer Going Out of Business – Will Honor Gift Cards

eddie-bauer-logoEddie Bauer is going out of business. The outdoor apparel retailer filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection on June 18, 2009. This marks a second bankruptcy for the company within a decade as the company successfully emerged from bankruptcy in 2003. Eddie Bauer plans to continue to honor outstanding gift cards during the bankruptcy process. If you currently hold an Eddie Bauer gift card, you should use it now or risk losing it.

Eddie Bauer now joins a small but growing list of major retailers that have filed for bankruptcy within the last year or so, including KB Toys, Circuit City, Fortunoff, Linens ‘N Things, Steve and Barry’s, Tweeter, and Value City Department Store.

For more on companies that have filed for bankruptcy and their gift card status, visit our Bankruptcy & Gift Cards page here.

Get $50 HHGregg Credit for Circuit City Gift Card

circuitcity-hh-gregg-gift-cardIf you are still holding on to a Circuit City gift card, you have one last opportunity to redeem it for cash. HH Gregg, the electronics retailer is offering Circuit City gift card holders the opportunity to exchange their gift cards for a $50 credit towards any purchase of $299 and up. All you need to do is simply present your old Circuit City card to an hhgregg sales associate and get the $50 credit towards your purchase. Offer good till May 31, 2009. Click here for more details.

CertifiChecks files for bankruptcy – will not honor gift certificates

certifichecksCertifiChecks Inc, is going out of business and will not honor gift certificates. The Ohio-based online gift certificate company has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation. The company blamed its predicament on the challenging economic environment. The company sold a lot of gift certificates to various local Chambers of Commerce around the country.

Holders of gift cards issued by CertifiChecks now have two options: Option one is to mail your gift certificate to the company for possible reimbursement at:

CertifiChecks, Inc.
Attn: Redemption Dept.
PO Box 13603
Dayton, Ohio 45413

Option two is to keep your gift certificate and later file a claim with the bankruptcy court against the company’s assets. Gift Certificates that are mailed to the company will also go through the bankruptcy claim process. My recommendation is that if you decide to mail them your gift certificate, make a copy of it and send it via certified mail with return receipt. That way, you know it got there and who signed for it.

Is it worth submitting a claim to the bankruptcy court? It may be your only option. Besides, gift card holders of the Bombay Company received 25 cents on the dollar when the company went bankruptcy so it is worth the try. One possible way to get more money back immediately is to see whether other companies are accepting CertifiChecks gift certificates. Just do a search on Google news about “CertifiChecks gift certificates” and you will get all the latest information about CertifiChecks. Also, contact whoever issued your CertifiChecks gift certificates to see if they will issue a reimbursement.

If you have been impacted by this and have been able to get all or some of your money back, please tell us about your experience in the comments section so that other readers will benefit.

Fortunoff going out of business – Will not honor gift cards

Fortunoff, a New York-based luxury goods store, filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this month, citing the worsening economy for its woes. Fortunoff now joins a growing list of retailers that have filed for bankruptcy in the last year.

The company has also suspended the redemption of all gift cards and store credits. According to a spokeperson for the company, gift card holders will have to get in line like any other creditor and file a claim against the company’s assets with the bankruptcy court.

However, according to this story by Bloomberg, the company is still in negotiations with would-be liquidators to honor gift cards until March 8th.

Stay tuned for more on this.

Update – 2/27/2009:

According to this story,  consumers have until March 8 to redeem Fortunoff gift cards. So, if you currently have a Fortunoff gift card, NOW is the time to use it or lose it. 

Gift Card Swap – Trade KB Toys gift cards for Toys "R" Us Coupon

Are you stuck with worthless KB Toys gift cards? Here is some good news. Toys “R” Us is offering KB Toys gift card holders the opportunity to trade in their gift cards for a 15% Toys “R” Us discount coupon. According to this story, the program is valid through January 31st.

As you may be aware, KB Toys filed for bankruptcy last month and is closing all remaining stores. The company had been redeeming gift cards during the liquidation sale but that ended on January 12. If you currently hold a KB Toys gift card, your only chance of getting some of your money back may be through the exchange program with Toy “R” Us or similar programs that may be rolled out by KB Toys’ competitors.

Circuit City may go out of business by 1/16/09

Circuit City, the electronics retailer may go out of business if a buyer is not found by January 16, 2009. The company, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November 2008, had planned to reorganize and stay in business.

What was unusual was that Circuit City was still issuing new gift cards after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, further worsening its debt obligation. If the company goes out of business, it will definitely have to continue the redemption of gift cards during any liquidation sale to allow gift card holders to redeem their cards. This is because the company made a conscious decision to sell gift cards during the holiday season despite their shaky financial position.

If you have a Circuit City gift card, use it NOW or risk losing it.

 

Gift Cards not to buy

Avoid buying gift cards from retailers that are in trouble. The following is an updated list of major retailers that have recently filed for bankruptcy or have closed all stores. There may still be people out there trying to sell gift cards from these retailers. In some cases, the retailer’s own website does not tell you about their current troubles and may continue to sell gift cards. A few of them plan to stay in business but avoid their gift cards until their financial situation improves. Here is the list:

KB Toys – Closing all stores
Circuit City – Filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November, 2008 (Plans to reorganize and stay in business).
Linens ‘N Things – Closing all stores
Steve and Barry’s – Closing all stores
Tweeter – Closed all stores
Value City Department Store – Closing all stores
Boscov’s – Filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in August 2008 and closed some stores. (Remaining stores sold to a group led by a Boscov family member and they plan to stay in business)
Levitz Furniture – Closed all stores
Sharper Image – Closed all stores
Bombay Company – Closed all stores
CompUSA – Closed most stores. Now has 23 stores operating in Florida, Texas, North Carolina and Illinois. CompUSA and TigerDirect are now sister companies. Still issuing gift cards. Clarify their gift card policy before buying. Not sure if they are still redeeming old gift cards or only gift cards issued after the bankruptcy by the “New” CompUSA.
Mervyns – Closing all stores
Bennigan’s, Ponderosa, Steak and Ale restaurants – Company-owned restaurants all closed. Some independently owned restaurants still operating. Gift Cards still sold in some grocery stores. Check with a Bennigan’s, Ponderosa, or Steak and Ale restaurant near you to make sure they are still redeeming gift cards (those issued before the bankruptcy and after).

Note: There is an email circulating (click here to see email) that is warning consumers not to buy gift cards from certain retailers (including some on this list). That email is misleading and incorrect in some ways. Click here for more on that email.

KB Toys to redeem Gift Cards during Bankruptcy

As announced in this post, KB Toys has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and will be closing all stores. The main question, as far as this site is concerned, is whether they are going to redeem gift cards during the liquidation. While there have been reports from various KB Toys stores that they are still redeeming gift cards, we wanted to see an official announcement to support this claim.

Well, we did not have to wait long. According to this report from the Associated Press (AP), the bankruptcy judge overseeing the case has granted all of KB Toys’ first-day motions, which include approval to continue the redemption of gift cards. Yay!!!! The AP reports that the company currently has about $12 million in outstanding gift cards.

In my previous post, I had stated that companies that are in liquidation have no incentive to honor outstanding gift cards. I was wrong. According to an attorney for KB Toys, Joel Waite, there is actually an incentive for companies going out of business to redeem gift cards since customers redeeming the cards often spend more than the amount on the cards, thereby helping to move more merchandise during the going-out-of-business sale. That makes a lot of sense.:)

So, if you have a KB Toys gift card, you now have a final opportunity to use it or lose it.

 

Federal Gift Card law should address bankruptcy issue

Here is a link to an article I published recently on EzineArticles that talks about Sen. Charles Schumer of New York’s plan to introduce in 2009 a federal legislation that will set standards on gift cards. While this is a good first step, I argue in my article for the bill to address the issue of Bankruptcy and gift cards.

My proposal is for Congress to set some guidelines requiring retailers to honor gift cards during bankruptcy. To read the article, click here.

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