If you have a gift card from Wet Seal, use it as soon as possible

The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’ Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) is urging Hawaii consumers who may be holding gift cards, certificates or store credits from Wet Seal to use them as soon as possible.

The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Delaware on Feb. 2, and is seeking to close its retail stores.

Wet Seal operates from two stores in Hawaii, located in Aiea at Pearlridge Center, and in Kahului at Queen Kaahumanu Center.

The Kahului store has reported that it plans to close its doors this Sunday, Feb. 12. No closing date has been announced for the Aiea store.

Both stores have stopped accepting the return of purchased merchandise, and are operating on an “all sales final” basis, the state says.

“An important guideline with gift cards is to use them as soon as you can, because a store may close or go bankrupt with very little notice. We see that here. This large company just filed bankruptcy, and the Kahului store is already set to close just ten days later. That means consumers must act fast,” said OCP executive director Stephen Levins. “There may be little to no recourse for a consumer to recover an unspent balance. If you currently have a Wet Seal gift card, you should try to use it immediately in order to avoid losing whatever credit remains.”

This is the latest in a series of bankruptcy filings by big-name retail stores, including Sports Authority, Aeropostale, and Limited.

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