When a Retailer Goes Bankrupt – What Do You Do?

Retailers are filing for bankruptcy at record-high rates as Americans’ changing shopping habits, along with years of overly aggressive store growth, continue to shake up the industry. According to Business Insider, 11 US retailers have already filed for bankruptcy or announced liquidations in 2018. This has resulted in confused shoppers wondering what will happen to goods they haven’t received, gift cards and outstanding warranties. Your Better Business Bureau if offering general advice for consumers on what to do if a retailer closes shop without fulfilling its promises.

If you have yet to receive goods or services, take the following tips into consideration:

  • Collect receipts, proofs of purchase and any other documents such as warranties and manuals. These materials will help you prepare for your request for a resolution.
  • Check with the bank or credit card you used to make the purchase(s) at the now-closed company. You may be able to dispute the transaction(s) due to failure to receive goods or services.
  • Try to contact the company to complete the transaction or resolve the issue. Some closed companies will offer an email, website or phone number to contact for more information. If the business has a physical address, check to see if there is a notice posted with information on where to turn for help. Also look on the company’s website and social media presence for information.
  • If the company has not filed for bankruptcy, the business is still obligated to fulfill your order for goods, services or a refund. Closing a business doesn’t relieve the owner of that responsibility. While it can be a time-consuming and expensive option, a consumer may choose to take the company to court.
  • If you have a warranty for an item you bought at the store, investigate whether the warranty was issued by the manufacturer or by the store. If the manufacturer issued the warranty, it will most likely honor it. When a company goes out of business, its warranties and services often die with it, unless other agreements have been made.
  • If you have unused gift cards for a closed business, bankruptcy filings will likely determine if and how they can be used or claimed. For more on gift cards and bankruptcy, click here.

Source: Better Business Bureau of North Alabama, Business Insider and BBB.org

My Bridal Shop Just Went Bankrupt: Now What? For specific tips on what to do when a bridal company goes out of business, visit What Consumers Can Do About Vow to Be Chic Closing

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