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Sears, which filed because that bankruptcy protection previously this week, is moving toreassure consumers that it’s open up for business and accepting Sears gift cards at its stores.

Still, anyone through a Sears gift card should use the soon because of the suspicion surrounding any type of financial reorganization.

“Sears, Kmart, and Shop Your way are open up for business and also ready to offer you,” the retailer posted digital in a letter to its customers.

“We space honoring client programs," the letter adds. "Our product warranties, security agreements, guarantees, Shop Your method loyalty program, and also promotions proceed as normal. We proceed to sell and accept gift cards, and also you deserve to keep earning and also using Shop Your way points.”

The company also says the bankruptcy filing will certainly not influence the Sears credit Card and also Sears Mastercard.

Memories of toys "R" Us

Still, consumers might remember what taken place with an additional financially troubled retailer—Toys "R" Us—earlier this year.

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In March, the toy retailer announced it was liquidating the 735 shop after attempting to reorganize under bankruptcy protection. As part of that liquidation, playthings "R" Us gave its gift map holders simply 30 days come redeem their continuing to be balances prior to the cards were rendered worthless.

Toys "R" united state customers flocked to stores and also to the retailer’s website come buy its quickly dwindling merchandise.

And despite the Sears case is, because that now, various from the one for playthings "R" Us, consumers shouldn"t wait to use their Sears gift cards.

No reason to Wait

“For consumers already holding gift cards: use them!” claims Christina Tetreault, an elderly staff attorney at consumer Union, the advocacy division of customer Reports. “It’s unclear what the future holds because that Sears. But for now, the cards are embraced at Sears stores, so there is no reason to wait and also plenty of factors to usage your outstanding Sears gift cards now.”

In the event a liquidation that Sears becomes necessary in the future, girlfriend don"t want to be stuck to gift cards that would certainly be difficult, if not difficult to redeem.

If Sears to be to close its doors for great before you had actually a possibility to redeem her gift card, you would certainly be required to document a case with a bankruptcy court.

“The court would at some point decide even if it is Sears have to honor the gift cards, and if so, for exactly how long,” states Tetreault. “It can take years for cardholders to recuperate funds—if they gain anything in ~ all.”

Consumers should additionally monitor the bankruptcy reorganization. Sears has set up a bankruptcy site right here with crucial information and updates for consumers and investors.

Also, make sure to examine your state customer protection agency, i beg your pardon may have actually information and advice. State attorneys general sometimes intervene on gift map holders’ behalf.

Last, store your eye top top the competition. In some cases, they may offer to expropriate Sears cards or provide a discount because that cardholders, together Brookstone did when Sharper picture filed because that bankruptcy in 2008.

The playthings "R" Us and Sears situations reinforce our standing advice ~ above this subject: Stick through cash and skip the gift cards.

“We’ve constantly advised offering cash over gift cards, and also there’s no reason currently would be any kind of different,” Tetreault says. “Cash is rarely forgotten around in the back of a drawer, and also it’s embraced just around everywhere.”

Another reason to stop gift cards completely is the some sellers won’t change them if they’re shed or stolen, or they’ll change the cards just if you it is registered them. And also in many states, gift cards have the right to expire after 5 years.

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You must avoid all gift cards, not simply ones issued by retailers, Tetreault says. Bank-issued gift cards—those transporting a major credit card agency logo, such as American Express, Mastercard, or Visa—come through a significant drawback. Although they can be provided at any seller that accepts that brand the card, they frequently have fees when you acquisition them. And also after the very first year, they may have additional charges for the cardholder, including monthly service and also dormancy fees.