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People urged to use holiday gift cards quickly as some businesses struggle during pandemic

Posted at 5:14 AM, Jan 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-05 06:55:43-05

(WXYZ) — Use them or lose them: That could be the motto for most gift cards you received over the holidays, especially with the number of stores that have closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eileen Pike loves to support local shops and small businesses, so she bought her aunt $75 in gift cards to a movie theatre that shut down for good during the pandemic.

"So there was no way to get my money back for my aunt to get the gift we had bought her last Christmas," she said.

That's a concern with more and more stores and restaurants on the verge of shutting down.

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The savings site RetailMeNot.com is warning shoppers to be careful buying gift cards to struggling retailers.

Just look around you: Stein Mart is now closing almost all of its stores, New York and Company is running its final closing sale, and Pier One is now gone for good.

The main reasons almost 1/3 of holiday gift cards are never redeemed.

Yahoo Finance said the reasons include:

  • The store is too far away
  • Inactivity fees have ruined their value
  • The recipient loses the card
  • They forget they even have a gift card

So, with many shops and restaurants on the bubble, use them or lose them is more important now than ever with holiday gift cards.

If a business you have a gift card to goes under, try calling similar businesses nearby: They may honor them to get you as a customer.