Planning on buying gift cards for the holidays? Think twice, says BBB - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Planning on buying gift cards for the holidays? Think twice, says BBB

It seems like every day lately, there's another store going bankrupt. That's got many shoppers hesitant to buy gift cards this holiday season. In fact, as KLTV 7's Courtney Lane explains, many East Texans have already lost money through gift cards.

When a business shuts its doors, your gift card becomes worthless. That was the case when Oxford Street closed without warning.

"Customers showed up, sat in the parking lot waiting on the business to open so they could eat lunch, and they never opened. So we started getting calls and then complaints," said Ann Harris with the Better Business Bureau.

Within the last few months, Bennigan's, Oxford Street, Linens And Things, and Circuit City all filed for bankruptcy.

"Linens And Things, I'm very sad. I thought all by myself I could keep them in business," said Deann Wells.

Many say gift cards are not the best buy, considering the struggling economy.

"It's definitely scarier now, because you just don't know which company is going to be next, which one you're going to open up the paper and see their name with bankruptcy beside it," said a shopper we talked to today.

"I think money's preferable to gift cards," said Steven Holliday.

"We usually buy the Visa credit card, Mastercard credit because you don't know what kind of businesses are going out of business," said Deann.

Linens And Things told us they're no longer selling gift cards, but if you already have one it will be accepted until they close. Circuit City in Tyler is still taking gift cards as well, but the management says they could close too, if holiday sales are slow.

Because there's no way to check, the Better Business Bureau warns against buying gift cards.

"The fact that some of them lose value from the time they're purchased if they're not used within a certain time, and the fact we have so many businesses going out of business, I would be very careful," said Harris.

Still, some think they're the best presents.

"It's getting kind of hard to buy something that someone would really like, so I think they'll love the gift cards," said Cora Tilley.

One more thing to check on if you do decide to buy gift cards - the BBB says you need to ask about possible surcharges or drop in value if they're not used right away.

Courtney Lane, reporting.


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