The Gift Card: Get It Or Forget It?

   By drodriguez  Nov 28, 2008

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?

Make a Comment

nyflirt225 by nyflirt225 | fulton, NY
Dec 04, 2008

I hate buying or getting gift cards, unless they're personalized in some way. Like for me, I love spa treatments so a card for that would be nice. For my brother- in- law we got him a gift card to a local sports shop. But going to the grocery store at the last minute to get one shows a lack of connection... and with the economy so bad, I think that it is cheaper to buy a few small gifts than give a gift card, if you bargain shop like me!

hpersellin by hpersellin | PRESCOTT VLY, AZ
Dec 03, 2008

I do like gift cards, both giving and getting. I am going to be a little more choosy this year. The companies that I think are going strong I won't mind holding on to or buying giftcards from, but the companies that are shaky I am not going to buy from and if I get cards from them I am going to spend ASAP!

tigpooh1516 by tigpooh1516 | GREENWOOD, IN
Dec 03, 2008

Yes, we will definately be buying GCs this Christmas. I think just in case, we will be buying them from some of the bigger stores, just to be sure of not having that problem. You really do have to be careful what you read/ believe though!

littleme by littleme | MARBURY, AL
Dec 03, 2008

I enjoy getting and giving gift cards it makes it a lot easier on the person that is hard to get for or that lives far away.

dunseath8781 by dunseath8781 | Moore, OK
Dec 03, 2008

I absolutely love gift cards... I feel like it gives me choices

Sanjabay by Sanjabay | Albuquerque, NM
Dec 03, 2008

I actually tell my family and friends not to get me gift cards because I just don't like them. They feel impersonal, I would rather a gift that requires some thought. However, I know that I am in the minority, my cousin, like many, prefers gift cards. About the warnings about gift cards, I think that a little common sense is required, obviously don't buy circuit city gcs.

sazm42 by sazm42 | the woodlands, TX
Dec 03, 2008

don't like gift cards unless i know for sure that it's a place frequented by the receiver. I dislike receiving giftcards to places i do not frequent.

earthlinganimal by earthlinganimal | Red Lion, PA
Dec 03, 2008

I always prefer to give and receive cash than gift cards. Even with Visa / AmEx cards, there are fees if they're not used promptly. Cash = use anywhere, no restrictions.

ladylisette by ladylisette | Kansas City, MO
Dec 03, 2008

You can always give gift cards to a mall or shopping center. Those can be redeemed at any store or restaurant in the group. American Express gift cards are flexible as well.

Salemsw by Salemsw | Millbury, MA
Dec 03, 2008

I always buy gift cards and never have a problem --there was a list that was floating around about the stores that are going under--ON good morning america they said it was false... I for one love gift cards

slm2722 by slm2722 | AFFTON, MO
Dec 02, 2008

I'm going to buy my teenage nieces giftcards since they're a little harder to shop for. I've never had any trouble w/ them, personally . I love receiving them since then I'm definitely able to ge exactly what I want or need.

cheapsk8mom by cheapsk8mom | camby, IN
Dec 02, 2008

I love gift cards!

trista17pluto by trista17pluto | Staten Island, NY
Dec 02, 2008

You can also buy gift cards from your local mall. They can be used in any store in that particular mall.

Partygirl11 by Partygirl11 | STERLING HTS, MI
Dec 02, 2008

I've always bought gift cards and never had a problem.

tknerrer by tknerrer | GREENVILLE, IL
Dec 02, 2008

I think gift cards are a wonderful gift for those hard to buy for people. I will continue to purchase them but only from companies with a large selection and that I trust to stay in business e.g. Target, We are in a recession and anything could happen. I think we just need to be careful of who we are doing business with. I recently had to drive 60 miles to cash in Linens and Things gift cards because they wouldn't allow me to use them for online purchases.