Tweeter Files, Circuit City Struggles: Who’s Next? Use your Gift Cards before it’s too late

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By Consumers Union on Friday, November 7th, 2008

As The Consumerist has reported, Circuit City is reportedly closing 155 stores and withdrawing from 12 markets and Tweeter, a high-end home entertainment store, has filed for Chapter 11. In a phone call to Circuit City’s HQ we were told that gift cards purchased at any of the closing stores will be honored at other locations and online. As long as Circuit City is solvent that is…

In a call to Tweeter, the store representative said that they are no longer accepting Gift Cards. Gift Card holders are welcome to come in to a store to fill out a bankruptcy form. They are then encouraged to then close their eyes and make a wish to ever get their money back from the liquidators.

It is likely that more and more retailers are going to be forced to close their doors, and, when a retailer files for Chapter 11, people with gift cards must fight to get their money back. Navigating the process is a hassle at best. In 2006, shoppers gave $8 billion dollars directly to retailers in unredeemed cards. Yet, the TowerGroup projects that gift card sales will top $100 billion in 2008.

Now that Halloween is over, the Christmas season has officially started for many retailers (it really does get earlier every year). While gift cards seem like a fantastically quick and easy option, check out Money Mom’s post about the difficulties they “present”- pun intended.

So here is a way-too-early holiday tip: make like my Grandma and give the gift of cold hard cash. Afraid to mail cash? Checks work well too–if someone doesn’t cash your check, you still have your money. Savings Bonds are always swell. Or, heck, in these challenging economic times, who wouldn’t love some home-made comfort food to cheer them up.

However, if you still feel the need to buy gift cards check out our tips to avoid the pitfalls.

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