Use These Stores' Gift Cards ASAP

Retailers absolutely love selling gift cards to shoppers. This was never more evident than when Sports Authority began liquidating all of their stores with $92.5 million in outstanding gift cards still out there. Retailers are keenly aware that many shoppers will forget about them or simply lose them in the desk drawer. The time has come to take a thorough inventory of what gift cards you currently have. Be sure to spend them sooner, rather than later, at these 11 retailers who seem destined to go away forever in the near future.

1. Aeropostale

On May 4, 2016, the trendy clothing retailer Aeropostale filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in an attempt to reorganize and come back a stronger company. While they currently still sell and accept gift cards, they are a company worth keeping on your radar screen if you have a gift card from them in your desk or wallet. It might be a good time to get it out and use it as the jury is still out on how long Aero might be around. In the future, if you need to file a claim form for Aeropostale to recover your gift card money, you can do so by clicking here.

2. American Apparel

American Apparel emerged from Chapter 11 in February of 2016 and is currently operating normally. Their gift cards are being accepted both online and in-store. Time will tell how well they do financially in the future. In the meantime, it may be a good time to use your American Apparel gift card.

3. Hancock Fabrics

On March 31, 2016, Hancock announced they will be closing all of their brick-and-mortar stores along with their ecommerce website. While they are no longer selling gift cards, they are still accepting them in-store only, as their website has closed down. While they have yet to post an official date as to when they won't accept gift cards, it's safe to assume that once their inventory is liquidated, your gift card will be worthless. You'd be wise to pull it out now and use it.

4. Hastings

On June 13, 2016, Hastings announced they were entering Chapter 11 in the hopes of selling the business. They currently have 126 stores open throughout the country and also operate sister brands Movie Stop and SPImages. While they have stopped selling gift cards, shoppers have until July 13th to use any gift cards before they will be turned away. If you missed the July 13th deadline, you still have hope, as you can file a proof of claim form with Hastings in an attempt to get your money returned to you.

5. PacSun

On April 7th, 2016, PacSun filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The California-inspired clothing retailer hopes to emerge a stronger, leaner company. They are still selling and accepting their own gift cards both online and in-store. Because their future is still murky at this point, it's a good idea to get out your PacSun gift card and use it before it becomes a windshield ice-scraper. If for some reason they are unable to bounce back from Chapter 11, and are forced to close their doors, you can file a gift card claim with PacSun by clicking here.

6. RadioShack

Unfortunately, RadioShack stopped accepting their own gift cards back in 2015. But if you still have an unused gift card, surprisingly you stand a great chance of getting your money back. Simply file a claim by December 2nd, 2016. It's also worth noting that gift cards which were bought from a RadioShack store, and not obtained in an exchange for returned merchandise, will be given priority. According to the website, if you file by December 2nd, "You will be paid one hundred percent of the balance shown on your card."

7. Sears and Kmart

Sears and Kmart seem to always be in the news announcing more store closures, and they appear destined to eventually go away forever. Because of this, it's definitely worth your while to pull out any unused gift cards for either store and use them up. If you don't necessarily need anything right now, think about birthdays, Christmas, and any special occasions where you might need a gift. Stock up now, while you can, and hold on to the gift until you need it.

8. Sports Authority

Sports Authority announced in May that they were going out of business and liquidating all of their inventory. Shoppers had until June 28, 2016, to use their gift card balances both online and in-store. If you are one of the thousands of consumers stuck with an outstanding gift card balance, your only option at this point is to file a gift card claim as an unsecured creditor. It might be a long shot to get any money back, or maybe only a percentage, but it's better than doing nothing and throwing your gift card in the trash.

9. Sports Chalet

Sports Chalet gave shoppers until May 31, 2016, to use any remaining gift cards before they closed their doors permanently. If you missed the cutoff date, never fear, as you still have one great option left. From now until July 29th, 2016, you can transfer your Sports Chalet gift card balance to one of their sister stores, Eastern Mountain Sports or Bob's Stores. Once transferred, you can use the balance to shop at either store.

What strategies do you use so you never forget to use a gift card?

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