The parade of store closures and bankruptcies continues, with more on the way.
If you’ve got gift cards stashed in a drawer somewhere, you’ll want to use them fast for four retailers in particular.
In fact, experts recommend using all your gift cards ASAP. Even if the retailer is not at risk of closing, experts recommend using the cards quickly because inflation means that card is worth less as the years go by.
“Don’t hang onto them for five years from now. If you get a gift card, try to use it,” says Kayleena Speakman of the Better Business Bureau Central California.
If the stores close suddenly, obviously you can’t use the gift card. If the store chain files for bankruptcy before closing stores – as often happens – things get more complicated.
Whether or not you can use your gift card then depends upon what happens in bankruptcy court, Speakman says. In some cases you may have to file a claim against the retailer in bankruptcy court. You’ll be at the bottom of the list the retailer owes money too and you’ll likely only get pennies, not the full amount, if you stick with the long process.
Here’s what’s happening at some retailers that will make you want to use that card.
The stores are honoring gift cards, according to the company’s statement. Still, if you have one, use it fast.
Even though Payless has filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which means it’s planning to reorganize and emerge from bankruptcy, there’s always a chance it could fail and switch to a Chapter 7 liquidation. If that happens, it’s a lot harder to get your money from a gift card. Shoppers would have to file a claim in bankruptcy court and would only get money back if the company has enough money left to refund the gift cards, along with the other creditors it owes money too.
Payless is facing competition from other shoe stores such as T.J. Maxx and DSW, and online rivals like Amazon and Zappos.
So far, none of the closures appear to be in the Fresno area, but GameStop is facing other pressures. More gamers are downloading their games online and the company is competing with Amazon, Walmart and Best Buy.