Gift cards – buyers and holders beware

We’ve all seen the “for lease” signs that show a business has gone down. “Going out of business” can indicate a great sale, but it turns out that those left holding gift cards for a business that declares bankruptcy are left holding a worthless piece of plastic.

This week, several media outlets have reported on bankrupt stores whose bankruptcy agreement declares that gift card holders can’t use those cards after the store files for bankruptcy.

If you give gift cards at the holidays, you might be wise to give cash this year. Alternatively, you can buy a Visa, Mastercard or American Express gift card, but those all involve fees to the buyer.

And if you have gift cards in your wallet? You would be smart to spend them ASAP. Maybe even use them to save a few bucks and do some of your Christmas shopping. After all, if they’ve been sitting around for a year, perhaps you’re not that desperate to shop at that store – right?

If you have leftover gift cards, useless gift cards or take your empty gift card back from a retailer that doesn’t reuse it, you can try this idea for turning gift cards into coasters. They also can be reused as ice scrapers, dish scrapers, or made into guitar picks, earrings … or perhaps you have some inspiration to share below!

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6 thoughts on “Gift cards – buyers and holders beware

  1. Condo Blues says:

    Another thing you have to wary of with gift cards is that the store may only allow you to use them in their brick and morter stores. I was surprised to learn that I couldn’t use a Home Depot gift card I had for an online purchase I wanted to make and that the local store didn’t carry. You knew?

  2. cheaplikeme says:

    @Daryl – We had a similar experience with several “great deal” Restaurant.com gift certificates. We gave one to my mom and had a couple to use ourself, and all the restaurants folded — so instead of getting a great deal, we threw away $20 or so.

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