BBB Bureau Briefs: Gift Cards & Bankruptcy

WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - Monica Horton with the Better Business Bureau joined Anchor Jake Garcia on Monday during our noon newscast to speak about gift cards and their drawbacks when the store goes out of business.

Horton said they may seem like the perfect gift for a friend or family member that is hard to shop for. But for many, like Toys R Us customers, they can have their drawbacks.

Horton said under normal circumstances, gift cards are valid for years or indefinitely. For Toys R Us gift card holders, they now have 30 days to use their cards.

When a store files for bankruptcy, gift card holders are out of luck or with limited options, says Horton, but she offered the following tips when it comes to buying gift cards.

BBB Tips: Gift Cards and Bankruptcy

· Before buying a gift card, look into the retailer's financial condition: If news articles report that a company is on shaky ground, it might be best to purchase a gift card from another retailer.

· Check the terms and conditions. A gift card's terms may allow the card to be used at another business location.

· Purchase gift cards with a credit card, if possible: Your credit card company may be able to help recover money lost if a business goes under. Some retailers, however, require gift cards to be purchased with cash.

· Use gift cards as quickly as possible: While you may have years – or forever – to use the gift card, that doesn't mean you should wait that long to spend it.

For additional BBB tips on avoiding gift card scams visit www.bbb.org.

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