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How to Wring Out the Value From Radio Shack Gift Cards


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NYSE To Delist RadioShack Shares As Electronics Retailer Continues To Struggle
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On March 6, $44 million worth of Radio Shack (RSHCQ) gift cards are going to lose their value. So, what do you do if you have a Radio Shack gift card -- or one for any retailer that's going bankrupt, for that matter?

Normally, there's a marketplace for unwanted gift cards. So big of a market that after Christmas,Walmart (WMT) partnered with CardCash.com, a gift card exchange, to let consumers who received cards they didn't want to convert them to Walmart cards or cash.

Normally, a desirable gift card could get a seller 90 percent of its value. A less desirable card could be acquired at up to 35 percent off face value. But a Radio Shack card, at this point, has no trade value. In other words, you can buy one -- but no one will buy yours.

Ways to Spend Them

Shelley Hunter, spokeswoman for GiftCards.com, says when you have a gift card for an outlet you know is going to close, you have to act immediately. Here are her tips for how to make good use of what you've got before it's too late:
  • Get what you need. Hunter says it might appear obvious, but if you need batteries, a cord for your cellphone or some other gadget in its inventory, that's where you should go and quickly.
  • Get gifts. Whomever you give the gift to won't be able to return it, but there's a good chance you'll get a deal on stuff that could make a nice present.
  • Buy to donate. Rather than lose the value on the card, pick up a few things -- a coffee maker or microwave, for instance -- that you could donate to a school, church or any other group you'd care to.
  • Flip that purchase. Use your card to purchase something -- or toward the purchase of something -- you can turn around and easily sell "new in box" like an Xbox gaming system.
  • Make a bankruptcy claim. If you want to wait a long time and potentially get nothing, or next to nothing in return, you can file a claim with the bankruptcy court and get in line behind everyone else the company owes.
  • See if a competitor makes an offer. Sometimes, competitors looking to draw customers who shopped at a rival that is failing will offer a discount in exchange for a gift card.


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