Gift Cards: Things To Keep In Mind Before You Buy

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

We were listening to NPR this morning and overheard that some gift cards given this season might not be valid by the time they’re used by the recipient. Because of the current economic crisis, companies that go bankrupt probably won’t be honoring your gift card (which is the case currently with The Sharper Image). We’ve included some tips from the NPR story to help you avoid this unfortunate situation.

Because so many AT readers responded to Grace’s post last week with gift cards to give to newlyweds, we thought a few “buyer beware” tips wouldn’t hurt. Apparently Circuit City and Linens N’ Things (although headed for bankruptcy) are still honoring gift cards.

  • If you are the receiver of a gift card, use it as soon as possible. While most stores honor gift cards past an expiration date they will charge a small fee to do so.
  • Check out Leverage, an online seller of gift cards. They guarantee all of the cards they sell, and if a company files for bankruptcy within 90 days of a card purchase, you can trade in that card for a different one.
  • Do a little research before you buy. If you know that a store is cutting back on employees and stores, chances are, they might not be around for much longer.
  • Gift Card Rescue is an online site that buys and sells unused gift cards. You can exchange or swap your gift card for another card or sell your gift card for cash. You can also buy discounted gift cards (with free shipping).

Have you had a store that recently refused to accept a gift card because of bankruptcy or expiration?

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