A recent survey revealed that approximately 27% of gift cards are never redeemed. In 2006, that came to over $8 billion in gifts that ended up going back to retailers. The most common reasons that respondents cited for not using their cards included that they never had time to shop or that they never found anything they liked.
Well, you can now chalk up another reason. In a follow up to last week's story about Sharper Image's decision to file for bankruptcy, the high-end retailer announced on Friday that it will no longer accept store gift cards, gift certificates, or merchandise credit.
This means that if you are currently holding any of these items, it is probably worthless. The bright side is that you may have a legitimate claim against Sharper Image's bankruptcy estate; the downside is that Wells Fargo is in line ahead of you, and it probably wants its $20 million back. You can fight over the remaining scraps. If any.