Every day it seems another retailer files for bankruptcy. Payless Shoe Source is the latest store to fall, right behind RadioShack and hhGregg. Buying shoes from Payless may not have any effect on most consumers... You just won't be able to buy any more if the store near you closed. But what about electronics and large appliances from RadioShack or hhGregg? What if your purchase included paying for installation that has not been completed yet? Do you have gift cards to any of these retailers, and will you be able to use them? Are the gift card values deleted or no longer valid? These are all questions that many consumers are asking, and also many are wondering what stores might be next in line. Rumors about Sears filing bankruptcy have been swirling for some time, and also smaller retailers like Gymboree and True Religion are rumored to be in trouble. What can you do to protect yourself and ensure you get what you paid for?
A few tips include using your gift cards as soon as possible, and making sure you can use them online. If a retailer goes bankrupt and closes their stores, they will often remain open online, at least for a period of time. If you are concerned about a warranty or down payment that you made on services or items that you do not have in your possession yet, contact the store immediately and speak to a manager. If the store is already closed and you cannot get in contact with anyone, you have several legal options that are available. The Better Business Bureau or Attorney General's Office are good places to start.
Although no one knows for sure if a retailer will file for bankruptcy before it actually happens, you can find many tips online about stores that may be considering closing their doors. It is a good idea to have a heads-up and be cautious about making big purchases from those retailers.