The risks of using gift cards have been discussed often in this forum. For example, Ken's thread here
discusses that inactivity fees may deplete the funds available for purchase and offers a link to guidance from the OCC (Office of the Comptroller of the Currency). 51hh's thread here
was a reminder of the potential for fraud when using a gift card.
A third risk not often discussed: that the company involved goes out of business.
Ineffective rectangular frisbees? Tiny coasters? Better start thinking of some ideas for any of those unredeemed Borders gift cards you may still have lying around: A judge ruled this week that customers won’t see a nickel of a total of $210.5 million in remaining balances on gift cards they failed to use before Borders bit the big one and went off to that great mall in the sky. Read more
Retailers count on people forgetting or misplacing gift cards. Consumers need to kep track of the cards and use the funds promptly, especially if the financial health of the company might be questionable.