As retailers close up shop, many would-be customers find they’re left with worthless gift cards they wanted to use.
Hhgregg recently announced plans to close 88 stores, including all of its locations in the D.C. area.
When Clyde Heintzelman learned that, he tried to use a $100 gift card his wife bought, but he was too late.
“I went to the store and wanted to see if there was anything to buy, and by this time there wasn't anything to purchase,” he said.
Annesley Schmidt had the same problem trying to use her $100 Hhgregg gift card.
“Well, they said I could get something if I wanted, but I couldn't find anything I could use,” she said.
Both left the store still holding onto their gift cards.
Hhgregg told NBC4 Responds Heintzelman could still use his gift card online because it was within 14 days of the store going out of business.
“I bought a Bose headset, which I'm going to use as a gift for my grandchildren,” he said.
Unfortunately, Schmidt was past the 14 days.
“I've learned my lesson,” she said. “Expensively, but I've learned it.”
Here are four things to know when a retailer announces it is going out of business:
- Bankruptcy law is specific regarding who will benefit first in the case of a retailer’s liquidation. Unfortunately, customers are at the end of the line.
- In terms of gift cards, courts will decide if the business must honor them. In the case of Hhgregg, customers can file a claim.
- When it comes to warranties, if you’re lucky enough, the one you have is administered by a third party company that's still in business.
- Otherwise, the validity of any outstanding warranties varies for each bankruptcy.