LANSING, MI – 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.
Business Sudden Closure Consumer Tips
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:
The First Step: Limit Your Financial Loss
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 you paid with a credit card, contact your credit card company to dispute the charges and have all related charges removed from your bill. You should be able to find information regarding how to dispute charges on your monthly statements.
- If you paid by check, contact your bank to determine if you can stop any payment.
- If you arranged for long-term financing, contact the financing company and dispute any payment for goods or services that have not been delivered.
- If you arranged for some form of automatic payment plan, contact your bank or credit union to immediately stop any future withdrawals from your account.
The Second Step: File a Complaint If a Business Closes And They Fail to Deliver Goods or Services
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.
- Call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 877-765-8388, and file an online Consumer Complaint using our website.
- If a business is located out of state, also file a complaint with that state’s Attorney General.
- Gather receipts, invoices, or bills that show what items were ordered, what you paid, and when delivery was promised.
- Document all transactions in order to assist investigators and to support any possible legal claims.
- Keep any phone records or any notes that indicate which company employees you spoke with and when those conversations occurred.
- Try to contact the company’s headquarters or “customer service” line or use their website to lodge a formal complaint with the company.
Protecting Your Privacy: A Business Closure and Your Personal Information
Consumer Protection Division
P.O. Box 30213 Lansing, MI 48909
Toll free: 877-765-8388