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June 16, 2009
Radio sound: Consumer options are limited when businesses go bankrupt

Note: These clips are based on our “Ask the AG” column, Shop Closed: Consumer options are limited when businesses go bankrupt

Reporter/Anchor: Have you noticed that your favorite retail store is no longer in business? Attorney General Rob McKenna says today that his office is hearing from consumers complaining about gift cards and warranties that may now be worth nothing, as well as lost deposits on merchandise and services.

McKenna, Bankrupt1 (:15)
“Well, mostly commonly they’re discovering that their gift cards for those businesses are worthless. The warranties they’ve purchased and the repair plans are probably void. And while you can find bargains at those liquidation sales, consumers who aren’t satisfied with purchases at those sales usually have little or no recourse.”

But what do you do if you’ve bought a gift card or warranty from that store? Or, what if you’ve put a deposit down on a product? Attorney General Rob McKenna offers this advice.
McKenna, Bankrupt2 (:12) 
“If you paid by a credit card, you might be able to request a refund from your credit card company. But if you paid by cash or check, than your only option is to file a claim with the bankruptcy court and wait to see what happens.”

Reporter/Anchor: So what are your actual chances of getting some money back?

McKenna, Bankrupt3 (:13)
“When a company files for bankruptcy, it’s up to the court to decide which financial obligations are going to be honored. You could receive all, some or none of your money back. But you’ll want to consider whether the inconvenience and expense of pursuing the claim are really worth the potential benefit.”

Reporter/Anchor: So what can you do to protect yourself from losing money if your favorite business closes?

McKenna, Bankrupt4 (:13)
“Use good judgment. That means paying the smallest deposit possible for merchandise or services you’ll receive later on. It means paying with a credit card because you’ll have an easier time getting your money back. It also means using gift cards as quickly as possible.”

Reporter/Anchor: Learn more about protecting your pocketbook during the financial downturn at the AG’s web site:


Media Contact: Kristin Alexander, Media Relations Manager – Seattle, (206) 464-6432,


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