The rising variety of enterprise bankruptcies is prompting a warning for shoppers when it involves gift playing cards — use it or possibly lose it.
Calgarian Katie Wilburn lately went to make use of $250 value of gift playing cards she had acquired for her marriage ceremony at Bed Bath & Beyond.
She knew the retailer’s Canadian areas have been shutting down, however she thought because the shops have been nonetheless open she might use her playing cards.
She was fallacious.
“We went to make use of our gift playing cards and have been advised sadly that we weren’t capable of anymore,” she advised Global News. “We contacted BBB to see what sort of choices we had about getting our a refund for it and we sort of hit a wall.
“It was actually irritating. We have been actually trying ahead to have the ability to use our gift playing cards.”
Bed Bath and Beyond prospects have been in a position to make use of their gift playing cards — however solely up till March 9.
Bed Bath & Beyond to wrap up Canadian operations
The retailer did submit that on its web site, in addition to ship an electronic mail to prospects signed up for gives. Wilburn mentioned she wasn’t one in every of them and had no concept.
She did know Alberta has long-standing and specific rules around gift cards and thought enterprise bankruptcies could be included.
“We thought in Alberta we have been extra protected with our gift playing cards, that we didn’t have to make use of it straight away,” she added.
“It was fairly a shock to study that with chapter you aren’t in a position to make use of the gift playing cards.”
The rise of enterprise bankruptcies or insolvencies over the past variety of years has been vital and 2023 is shaping as much as be one other 12 months of losses.
Licensed insolvency trustee David Lewis with BDO Canada advised Global News there may be not a lot a client can do if a enterprise shuts down and so they have unused gift playing cards.
“In most circumstances when a enterprise closes, their gift card is mainly nugatory,” Lewis mentioned.
Lewis mentioned shoppers could resolve to hitch the insolvency, however it’s a powerful go.
Consumers left with nugatory passes and gift playing cards following COVID-19 enterprise closures
“The client might file a declare within the chapter in the event that they know the quantity that’s left on the cardboard,” he identified. “However, pennies on the greenback is usually all they’re going to obtain again.”
Lewis mentioned shoppers will probably be added to the record of collectors, which is usually a lengthy record.
“You’re on the backside of the record. Really.”
He really useful different, easier choices, comparable to utilizing the gift card or buying and selling it. But once more, it needs to be finished before the enterprise goes into liquidation.
“If you don’t just like the gift card as a result of it’s not someplace you go, there are many completely different websites the place you can commerce them for one thing else,” he mentioned. ”
Trade it and use it for one thing as an alternative of dropping it completely.”
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Wilburn contacted Bed Bath & Beyond a number of occasions to seek out out what she will do along with her gift playing cards. She mentioned she had been advised she will use them within the U.S., the place the retailer remains to be working.
Still, like Lewis, she really useful shoppers use warning when it involves any gift card.
“If you have any gift playing cards kicking round in your pockets, use it straight away. Use it before one thing like this occurs.”
Lewis went even a bit additional along with his recommendation — particularly for any gift givers.
“If you’re contemplating a gift card to provide to individuals, possibly take into account money as an alternative.”
Bed Bath & Beyond is anticipated to completely wrap up operations in Canada by the tip of April.
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