March 15, 2018
LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today called attention to best practices to be used by Michigan consumers, when protecting themselves from bankrupt retailers. This notice results from the nationwide shutdown of toy store, Toys "R" Us, which has left consumers with questions on current orders and Toys "R" Us gift cards.
“Any sudden closure or bankruptcy of a retailer comes as a surprise,” said Schuette. “Employees and consumers are left with many unanswered questions, frustration, and fear. Working through the fear by reading consumer alerts and being aware of the situation is key to limiting financial loss and protecting personal information.”
Concerned customers can visit the Better Business Bureau’s report on Toys "R" Us where updates will be posted as more information becomes available. Toys "R" Us has said that gift cards will be valid through the next 30 days.
In the meantime, Schuette warned Michigan residents to beware of online donations and crowdfunding pages. When unfortunate events occur, it attracts potential scammers who are looking to take advantage of the situation. Beware of anyone who claims they can help you retrieve your Toys "R" Us order from a store for a fee, or any crowdfunding pages looking to raise money for an item they lost. Only communicate with a designated bankruptcy trustee.
Additional best practices are listed in the Attorney General’s Business Sudden Closure Consumer Alert, and include steps to take to protect yourself when any business suddenly closes. Most important, consumers need to act quickly to protect their rights and to help the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division investigate, and hopefully resolve, disputes that arise when a business suddenly closes. Specific steps include:
When faced with the sudden closure of a business, consumers who made purchases but have not received all of the goods or services they contracted for should immediately determine their method of payment and act accordingly:
If a business unexpectedly closes, and they fail to deliver goods or services, you should file a complaint as soon as possible to help minimize any potential loss and maximize the Consumer Protection Division's ability to intervene. The Consumer Protection Division will try to recover as much as possible for consumers before a business files for bankruptcy.
Even if a business suddenly closes, that business is still required to protect your personal financial information.