UPDATE: I've received confirmation from Hollywood Video/Movie Gallery Customer Relations. These gift cards are now worthless.
On Aug 25, 2010, at 2:50 PM, e-mail-us wrote:
"Due to Movie Gallery Inc.'s recent bankruptcy filing, all remaining unused gift cards are considered null and void and we are no longer able to exchange online. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused."
According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, Movie Gallery is going out of business and all U.S. locations will close over the next couple of months. The Hollywood Video and Game Crazy brands, are owned by Movie Gallery, Inc. and will also close U.S. operations. I called my local Hollywood Video and they confirmed liquidation would begin in a couple of weeks.
Movie Gallery's bankruptcy is a good reminder of several important points on how we can get gift card smart.
- Gift cards are unsecured debt and may become worthless at some point, even if there is no expiration date or post-sale fee when you obtain the card.
- This event had several precursors; It's important to know the quality of the company behind any gift card you own or buy.
- A company filing for bankruptcy often sells and accept gift cards before going out of business for good.
- Companies headed for trouble often file for chapter 11 bankruptcy (reorganization) and close locations in order to reduce costs and stay afloat. While this keeps the doors open, it leaves card holds with less options for redeeming gift cards and serve as a flag for using your card ASAP.
- One corporation can own several brands, all of which may be affected by a bankruptcy.
Unfortunately, keeping up to date with a company just because you hold their gift card is often a chore we all could do with out. In fact, the reason we created ScripSmart is to make it easy for consumers to be smart with their gift cards.
One way we help is by providing each gift card with a Gift Card Score to help you easily evaluate the quality of the card. By taking a look at the Hollywood Video Gift Card on ScripSmart, it should be clear this is a card to stay away from for use ASAP.
Stay tuned, ScripSmart has more features in the works to help make it easy for you to be get gift card smart!