Toys R Us gift cards will expire in 30 days

  • Toys R Us said its gift cards will expire in 30 days as the company prepares to close or sell all its US stores.
  • The toy chain's loyalty-based "rewards dollars" and "endless earnings" will also expire in 30 days, the company told Business Insider.
  • If customers don't use their gift cards and loyalty points within 30 days, the rewards will lose their value.
  • When Borders began liquidating its stores in July 2011, about 17.7 million gift cards were left outstanding.
  • Customers filed a lawsuit to recoup their losses, but a judge ruled that the gift cards — worth an estimated $210.5 million — would not be refunded.

Toys R Us said Thursday that its gift cards will expire in 30 days as the company prepares to close or sell its more than 700 US stores.

If shoppers don't use their gift cards by the expiration date, then the cards will lose their value. The toy chain's loyalty-based "rewards dollars" and "endless earnings" will also expire in 30 days, the company told Business Insider.

Toys R Us said in a bankruptcy filing Thursday that it must liquidate. Gift card holders are now among a vast group of creditors — including Toys R Us suppliers — that will be looking to get paid back through the liquidation process.

"To say the vultures are circling is probably an understatement," said Larry Perkins, the CEO and founder of the advisory firm SierraConstellation Partners. "It's highly unlikely that there will be any meaningful piece of the business that remains," after a liquidation, he said.

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Shoppers often fail to recoup the money left on unused gift cards during retail bankruptcies.

When Borders began liquidating its stores in July 2011, about 17.7 million gift cards were left outstanding. Several customers filed a lawsuit to recoup their losses, but a judge ruled that the gift cards— worth an estimated $210.5 million — would not be refunded.

Oftentimes, retailers that are liquidating will publicly announce a deadline by which shoppers must use their gift cards.

Toys R Us filed for bankruptcy in September and recently started clearance sales at about 170 stores that it plans to permanently close in April.

Going-out-of-business sales at Toys R Us stores will likely begin within a matter of weeks, according to Corali Lopez-Castro, a bankruptcy lawyer and managing partner at Kozyak Tropin and Throckmorton. 

"Toys R Us is not going to want to drag this out," Lopez-Castro told Business Insider in an interview last week. 

SEE ALSO: Toys R Us could close all 800 of its US stores — and blowout clearance sales could begin in a matter of weeks 

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