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Californians Worried About Gift Cards

Audio

Aired 4/19/09

If you're worried about giving gift cards with so many stores going under, you're not alone. The California Department of Consumer Affairs says gift cards are the top source of questions right now for the agency. Jenny O'Mara reports.

Department of Consumer Affairs Director Carrie Lopez says she hears lots of questions about stores going bankrupt. She says people want to know whether their gift cards are still good.

Lopez: "By and large even if the store is going through a bankruptcy filing most of the retailers are honoring their gift cards in some way…

Lopez says that often applies to stores that are reorganizing after filing for bankruptcy. For those stores that are liquidating-she says different rules apply-and it's good to check with the company directly.

Lopez: "It depends on the terms of what they've arranged with the bankruptcy court. They should contact to find out what the procedures are. It can be anywhere from full validation to 25-cents on the dollar.

Lopez says Californians should also keep in mind a new law that allows consumers whose gift cards have a balance of ten dollars or less to get the remainder in cash from the store.
 

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