Written by Consumer Protection BC’s enforcement department


You just found out you’re having a baby and your best friend buys you a $50 gift card at a well-known baby clothing store. She kept the gift card until you had your baby. By the time you go to the store to use the gift card, you discover that while the store is still open, they have recently declared bankruptcy and the salesperson won’t let you use the card.

What would you do?

(a) Shred the gift card
(b) Ask the sales clerk for more information
(c) Demand the salesperson accept the gift card since the store is open and selling clothes


(b) A business may continue to operate during a bankruptcy process however, there are rules the business must follow. In most cases, if the store is open for business, they are likely in receivership. That means they can continue to sell off inventory. Most businesses will provide the bankruptcy trustee’s website where you can file a claim against the business. You should know though that it can be difficult to get money back in these situations as there are typically a variety of creditors. You can find out more about this process through the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy website.

In many cases, if it’s a small business and not declaring bankruptcy, the business still may not accept the gift card. In most cases, their bank account has zero balance so they will be doing their best to sell off whatever they have.

Consumer Protection BC oversees BC’s Prepaid Purchase Cards Regulation which speaks mainly to fees and expiry dates, as well as what kind of cards are exempt. There’s certainly a lot to know about the gift card law in BC – if you would like more information, explore more blog posts related to gift cards.


The gift of gift cards
Good news for consumers: new laws in effect for prepaid cards (related to prepaid credit cards)
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Gift cards – check out these tips!