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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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  • happybookworm By happybookworm
    12.06.08  

    I have gotten burned in the past w/gift cards and gift certificates from stores that close. I do give grocery gift cards to the service people in our lives, bus drive, preschool assistants, etc. because who can't use groceries?

  • Sweethrt7873 By Sweethrt7873
    12.07.08  

    I will still get some and give some. But i will do research first. I think univeral gift cards are a good idea.

  • kirstensapphire By kirstensapphire
    12.07.08  

    I like to get my gift cards online.

  • kirangore By kirangore
    12.07.08  

    i'm hesitant with any shopping /spending/ investing these days, it hasnt hit me yet, but the news keeps me on edge!

  • maddygirl By maddygirl
    12.07.08  

    I love getting and giving gift cards and will use the grocery idea this year for presents. That is a really good idea!

  • mustangmomma By mustangmomma
    12.08.08  

    I will give some gift cards again this year. But I will suggest that they be used rather quickly. Honestly, I knew the sales of gift cards were down this year, but didn't realize there was a big issue with them. Thanks for the update!

  • ace2ace By ace2ace
    12.08.08  

    I usually give cards to a store like Target or Walmart because they carry such a wide variety of things. I know the card recipient can always find something to get there. While I like the idea of a universal card(Visa, etc.), I do NOT like the fact that I have to pay a fee just to purchase it.

  • ajie128 By ajie128
    12.09.08  

    Gift cards are hard sometimes as they hold a balance after you use them for emaple I have one for $50 when I buy something that cost $49.82 I have this balance on a card of $0.18... Where am I going to spend that??? Cash is better to a certain extent but then it seems like you forgot the person and just dug in your pocket to give them a gift. so it is a catch 22

  • shortoncents By shortoncents
    12.09.08  

    u can NEVER go wrong with giving or receiving a gift card on joyous occasions. I prefer to give a mastercard or visa giftcared because u can't go wrong and likely never going to lose your money. If you buy from a department store than you'll never know if the next day they will file for bankruptcy (GOD FORBID), some of us just like to take that chance though.

  • szyhmkr By szyhmkr
    12.09.08  

    I am going to purchase gift cards for my niece and nephew this year. They are hard to buy for because I don't see them very often and really can't relate with their styles. I gave them a Visa card last year thinking they could use it at any store or just to get a drink at McDonalds. My sister said it was a pain in the butt to use because you had to know the amount you had on it to use it. So, I am going to go for a general mall gift card for my niece. That way she can buy from any of the stores in the mall. My nephew will be happy with Wal-Mart.

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