7 On Your Side

Blockbuster stops honoring gift cards

Friday, June 17, 2011

Several ABC7 News viewers were reporting trouble with Blockbuster gift cards, so we started asking questions. Gift cards can be a good deal as long as the business accepts them, but what happens when a store says no more?

Carol Woodland received a Blockbuster this past Christmas from her next door neighbor -- a nice gift, but one that didn't pay off when she tried to cash it in.

"The man said, 'we don't take these anymore,'" Woodland said. "He had a sign up and he turned it around so I could read it. Apparently they were bought up by (Dish Network) and they weren't accepting gift cards anymore."

The gift card notice is posted on the front door of the store where Woodland purchased the card. The company is making it clear the gift card isn't worth the plastic it's printed on.

"The worst thing about this for consumer is the announcement came just two weeks before the gift cards were going to be dishonored," said Joe Ridout with Consumer Action, "so consumers had very little time to cash out these gift cards and the announcement wasn't publicized as it should have been."

When Blockbuster went out of business, the gift cards were deemed worthless. Shortly thereafter, Dish Network purchased what remained of the company.

"There was no way for anyone to know that," said Woodland. "As far as I know, it was a big secret."

"They got approval of this from the bankruptcy court and the gift cards don't have to be allowed," said Ridout. "The new company could choose to accept them, but at this point they have not indicated they would accept the old Blockbuster cards."

But Dish has hinted they might.

"The new Blockbuster is looking at ways to resurrect a form of the gift card," Dish Network told ABC7. "Consumers with gift cards may wish to hold on to them for now."

"They can't make up their minds," said a laughing Woodland. "I'm glad I didn't throw it away."

There's no promises, and technically Dish Network did not purchase that portion of the Blockbuster debt, but it's still a good idea to hang on to the cards. If Dish does revive the cards at some point, ABC7 will let you know about it.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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