Something interesting in the world of gift cards has been happening down in Florida.
Restaurant chain Sam Seltzer's abruptly closed operations leaving loyal customers with slim chances of receiving any value from their gift cards.
While I believe it's widely known gift card holders can be left with nothing if a company goes bankrupt. It's not widely know a company might continue to sell gift cards up to the point of closing doors and keep customers and employees in the dark about the timing of such a closure. Frankly, I'm surprised and disappointed CEO John Mountford let it happen.
Thankfully, several of Sam Seltzer's competitors know a golden opportunity when they see it and have decided to make good on Sam Seltzer's promise by accepting the Sam Seltzer's gift cards for meals, appetizers and discounts. While it's likely not an even exchange, the result of turning a customer's negative sentiment into a positive is well worth the free meal. Let's hope this is a trend that can continue.
You should have known better?
I looked a little deeper, it turns out the Sam Seltzer's filed for bankruptcy in 2008. While I think it's fair to say a customer could have known their gift card purchase was risky; the fact remains: it's just to easy to be unaware of the financial condition for each company you hold a gift card.
Currently, ScripSmart has a little over 200 gift cards in the database, and Sam Seltzer's was not one of them. As ScripSmart continues to grow, we'll be adding more gift cards and keeping tabs on companies who issue those gift cards. Eventually, we'll get to a point of monitoring regional companies like a Sam Seltzer. For now, we'll stick with the larger corporations and if we believe a card is a risky purchase, you'll see an alert at the top of the page, for an example, see the Blockbuster Gift Card.
Out of curiosity
I recently blogged about Movie Gallery going out of business and warned customers to use their gift cards fast because liquidation would soon begin. Out of curiosity, I wanted to see if they were still selling gift cards online. While there is a gift card link on the Hollywood Video homepage, it looks as though the option to make a purchase has been disabled because I see an error message.
Bottom line, if a company knows they are going to be out of business, they should at least offer one last chance to redeem gift cards and put the brakes on selling them. I'm happy Movie Gallery took a higher road than Sam Seltzer's.