Filing Bankruptcy


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As to gift cards and certificates as they relate to going out of business (whether by filing bankruptcy or simply closing the doors) there is very little in Iowa law that addresses some of the problems that can occur. With regard to a bankruptcy filing, doing so pretty well trumps any other concern or law, holders of gift certificates/cards are unsecured debtors and can file a claim with the bankruptcy court. But, as unsecured debtors, they are in line after secured debtors for any assets that may be available to distribute to satisfy such claims.

For a business that simply closes its doors, absent unusual circumstances, generally when the business dies so does the ability to redeem a gift certificate/card. There is no insurance, bond or escrow requirement in Iowa law to give the holder of the certificate/card any assistance. There have been various proposals over the years to change Iowa law with regard to gift certificates/cards to address some of these concerns. However, the proposals have not made it into law.

Heres our most recent general consumer advice on gift cards and gift certificates: https://www.iowaattorneygeneral.gov/for-consumers/monthly-consumer-focus/consumer-focus/paper-or-plastic-gift-certificates–gift-cards/paper-or-plastic-gift-certificates–gift-cards/.

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