Q. I received some wonderful gift certificates during the holiday season from my family. I noticed that none of them expire anytime soon so I am planning a day of pampering and shopping for myself on my birthday in July. Is there any reason that I should not wait and use them sooner?
A. The staff at the Bucks County Consumer Protection office would encourage all of our consumers who received gift certificates, especially over the holiday season, to go out and enjoy them as soon as they are able.
Although they may not be nearing their expiration date, there could be an even bigger concern with those gift certificates.
We have received calls from many consumers who held onto their certificates and, when they decided to use them, found that the business had closed.
What consumers need to know is that if a business does indeed end up going out of business and closing their doors or if they decide to claim bankruptcy, the gift certificate you received or may have purchased for someone will no longer be of use.
Most times, there is no recourse for these consumers. Once a business is gone, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to obtain a refund for a gift certificate purchase.
So seize the day! Pamper yourself. Go shopping. Use those gift certificates while you know they are still of value.