Toys ‘R’ Us should redeem gift cards for cash, Sen. Schumer says

NEW YORK — Shoppers should be able to convert their Toys 'R' Us gift cards into cash before the bankrupt retailer shutters its doors for good, Sen. Chuck Schumer said Wednesday.

The company plans to close more than 180 stores in the next few months, and reports indicate that the chain could go out of business entirely. Schumer sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission to make sure consumers with gift cards aren't left holding onto useless pieces of plastic once the iconic company closes down.

“With the entire Toys 'R' Us operation at risk of shutting its doors for good, I am urging the company to redeem outstanding gift cards for cash so they are not as worthless and unwanted as a lump of coal in a stocking,”  Schumer said. "Consumers deserve the chance to turn their Toys R Us gift cards into cash before it is too late and the FTC can help ensure any laws to help this happen are being followed in real time."

Schumer previously pushed for gifts cards be good for at least five years.

Toys 'R' Us has not said what will happen to the remaining gift card balances after stores liquidate, Schumer said. They also haven't said if they'll give shoppers a chance to trade in the cards for cash.

"It is critical, in the case of Toys 'R' Us or other bankruptcies, that consumers have a full opportunity to take advantage of their gift cards before stores close," Schumer wrote in his letter.