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What happens to gift certificates when a business goes under?

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Gift certificates are often the answer to the age old question, what to get for the person who has everything?

With many businesses in financial distress, the Better Business Bureau says buyer beware.

Pam O’Connor and Wanda Gore were both given gift certificates, one to a bed and breakfast and the other for a local spa. However, the presents turned in to problems.

“This was going to be an anniversary get away for us, but now it’s spoiled,” Pam O’Connor said.

“Whenever you lose out like this, to me its just plain theft,” said Wanda Gore.

All About You Day Spa in Wilmington and Theodosia’s Bed and Breakfast on Bald Head Island have both closed.

The women have tried to contact the respective businesses for a refund, but have had no luck.

“Given the economic situation right now, it just makes you feel very taken advantage of,” Wanda Gore said.

According to the Better Business Bureau, there’s little recourse for consumers out money from gift certificates.

Consumer advocates say if a business is in financial straits, what little capital it does have, goes toward paying creditors first and customers last.

Small claims court is also an option if a consumer is willing to foot the bill.

The best bet, check out the business before it gets yours.

We mentioned this dilemma to the owner of the salon we use here at NewsChannel 3, Salon Beyond Basics. The salon owner said he would be willing to honor gift certificates for salons that have gone under. This is only good for the first 50 people that call Salon Beyond Basics. You can get more details from them, but this may be a way to salvage your gift certificate if your salon went out of business.

There may be other businesses willing to do the same, it never hurts to ask.

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Story summary

videoGift certificates are often the answer to the age old question, what to get for the person who has everything?

With many businesses in financial distress, the Better Business Bureau says buyer beware.

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