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Now may be the time to shop with unused gift cards, before it’s too late

Better Call Behnken

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Chances are, you have a few unused gift cards in your wallet. Now is the time to sort them, check balances and figure out if you can still use them.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit businesses and restaurants hard. From giants, such as JC Penney, Pier 1, and Sweet Tomatoes, to small neighborhood cafes, many are restructuring or closing their doors.

That’s why retail experts say you should try to act fast to cash in on gift cards. If the business is still open, try to use your gift card as soon as possible.

Bryan Oglesby, of the Better Business Bureau, suggests calling the business to ask if the expiration date on your cards has changed. In some cases, businesses are offering extensions.

You may even be able to use gift cards after the business has closed. Oglesby suggests you contact the company owner and ask if they own other businesses that you may be able to use gift cards at sister businesses.

In some cases, after a business has filed for bankruptcy, consumers after wait for an option through bankruptcy court. A consumer could file with the court as a creditor.

Consumer experts warn to learn to be of scheme attempts. Some crooks have already launched fake websites, design to look like a businesses real website, to trick you into giving over your private information.

Some are even sending emails about gift cards, just to get you to click on a bad link so that they can steal your information. This is why it is important to do your homework before buying anything.

When all else fails, you may be able to get money back from your credit card company.

“So if you purchase a gift card with your credit card, there are no guarantees, but your credit card company may be able to reverse the charge, when purchasing that gift card,” he said. “So it is important to reach out to these companies, reach out to the credit card companies and see what options you have as a consumer.”

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Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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