Shop with your gift cards before stores go out of business

Don't let your gift cards go to waste. Shoppers and experts say that in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it's important to spend the money sooner than later.

"In the last couple of years, we've seen a lot of legacy retailers fall but this year it seems to be worse than ever and this seems to just be the beginning," Trae Bodge, a shopping expert, told FOX 5 NY.

Bodge said that shoppers should pay close attention to stores that are closing and make sure to spend any gift cards they may have there first.

"Shop with it if the store is open," she said. "If it's closed, check online to see if they have their website operational or try to sell it."

Websites like Gift Card Granny or Cardpool offer consumers a way to sell unused gift cards for cash. 

Experts also say if a store is going under and you plan to shop there in the final weeks you can try to buy a gift card on the sites for a discounted price.

"The good news for consumers of a store that's going out of business is they'll have huge sales and you could save quite a bit and use the gift card," Bodge said.

About 3,600 companies filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the first half of the year, more than any year since 2012, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute.

Gift cards are a form of cash and shoppers left with them have little to no recourse if a business closes, according to Nassau County Office of Consumer Affairs.

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