Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Effect of a Chapter 11 Bankruptcy on Gift Cards

It seems as though more companies than ever have recently attempted to reorganize their debts under chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code.  Whether more companies are actually filing bankruptcy may or may not be true, but certainly we are seeing it more frequently in the news.  Indeed, over the last few months, we have seen the likes of Blockbuster, MGM, Borders, and Giordano’s file bankruptcy in order to restructure their debts.  As many of us are customers of these companies, it often leaves us wondering how their filings affect us, specifically when we hold gift cards for those companies.

Understanding the Importance of the Automatic Stay

At the VC Law Group, quite often clients will come in with at least one of the following debt-related issues:

- They are involved in a lawsuit relating to debt that they owe
- Their house is in foreclosure
- Their wages are being garnished
- They are receiving harassing phone calls from debt collectors

When I hear this, I tell our clients that one of the most powerful tools that comes along with the filing of a bankruptcy petition is the Automatic Stay that goes into effect immediately upon the filing.