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The Gift Card: Get It Or Forget It?

The Gift Card: Get It Or Forget It?

Many of you may have received an email recently warning about the dangers of purchasing gift cards this holiday season.  The email includes a long list of popular stores that are said to be filing for bankruptcy soon.  According to reputable news sources, the email making its way from inbox to inbox contains a lot of false information.

While some stores included on the list have already closed like Bombay and Linens ?N Things, a lot of the other stores on the list are still in good shape and are not showing signs of financial struggle.

The email claims The Home Depot is closing stores due to hardships.  After ABC’s Boston affiliate contacted the store’s officials directly, they report that The Home Depot has “no plans to close additional stores” and will actually be opening a new location before Christmas.

Ann Taylor was also a store on the list of possible bankruptcies, citing that they would be closing down 117 stores.  Officials from Ann Taylor issued a statement calling the email “false and misleading”.  Though the company closed 117 stores a year ago due to underperformance, it continues to thrive almost 1,000 other locations.

The validity of the email has been disproved, but the message may still hold some importance. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune if you receive a gift card this year you should try to redeem it as soon as possible.  David Brennan of the Institute for Retail Excellence reported to the Star Tribune about mall leases.  He said that since most of the store leases begin February 1st or August 1st you probably have all of January to redeem those cards without taking a risk.  Though he warns of the possibility that December 31st could be the last day some restaurants and small businesses will be open.

Having said that, it is always a safer bet to give cash rather than gift cards.  There is always a chance the cardholder could lose it or even forget about it.  And with more stores feeling the pain from the economic downturn, there is the possibility that the store could go under and you would be left with nothing more than a worthless plastic card.

What do you think of the recent news coming out about the safety of purchasing gift cards?

Will you still be purchasing gift cards this holiday season?
 

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  • am_i_lost By am_i_lost
    11.28.08  

    It's hard to believe anything you hear these days without reseaching it first. Who makes these things up? And where do they find the time? Anyway, yes I will and have already purchased some GC's this holiday season, I am just being careful about where I am doing so.

  • Sewunicorn By Sewunicorn
    11.29.08  

    I prefer giving and getting universal gift cards (like MasterCard) because there are fewer restrictions as to where it can be spent. If I know someone specifically wants something at Best Buy, for example, I might get them a Best Buy card instead, but I also know that plans can change and would rather offer the recipient some flexibility.

  • lhobbit By lhobbit
    11.29.08  

    A universal gift card sounds like a great alternative. It gives the reciever so much more flexibility in where to spend it.

  • MaurChclt By MaurChclt
    11.29.08  

    I do send gift cards to family but usually to Amazon and I know my son will use it right away. It does make you wonder where these e-mails originate from.

  • trigg93 By trigg93
    11.29.08  

    I have never been big on gift cards, there are just too many restrictions, fees, etc. Gifts or cash tends to be the safest!

  • MBourey By MBourey
    11.30.08  

    I am still getting my husband a gift card for Dicks Sporting Goods because I know as soon as he gets it on Christmas, he will be out that week using it!! That will probably be the only gift card that I purchase this holiday.

  • MotherGrizzly By MotherGrizzly
    11.30.08  

    I will still get some gift cards!

  • patrossi2004 By patrossi2004
    11.30.08  

    I always give out GC's Tweens and older really like them. That being said it has always been a priority to find the ones they would like for a store I know I can depend on !! That's why I go with the larger chains mostly.....I know that they can always find something at Target or Walmart !!

  • jemappel By jemappel
    11.30.08  

    I like gift cards to general places like Target - who can't find something they want at Target? I hate the MasterCard, Visa and AmEx gift cards because you have to pay $4.95 or so for the card itself - what a waste, I want to give money to the person I give the gift to, not the credit card company! Also, with those cards, they lose $2 in value every month you don't use them. There are more restrictions and penalties on the "universal" gift cards.

  • beeherd By beeherd
    11.30.08  

    I will absolutely be purchasing and using gift cards.

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