Gift card holders are disappointed that HMV will not honour their gift cards, even though the business is still operating.

The company has declared bankruptcy, but its 102 stores will remain open for another month and a half as they sell off inventory.  Just don’t try to use your gift card, or a salesperson will give you a slip that tells you to file a claim with the company’s bankruptcy trustee, Richter Retail Consulting.

“You're putting your hard earned money down so why can't you use that value for your purchase?” said Melinda Koelzow, HMV customer. “You're only going to get 10 cents on the dollar so a $100 gift card you might get $10 and that's not fair.”

Eric Koelzow was a member of the HMV Pure Rewards program for years and said some leeway should be given to card holders.

“I know they are in receivership and I know they are hurting financially but I don’t know if that really qualifies to not accept the gift cards anymore, because if there is an actual value to it, they should still be accepting it,” he said.

Alberta law requires companies to honour gift cards with no expiration dates no matter what, but in this case, federal bankruptcy law takes precedence, meaning once a retailer files for bankruptcy, trustees can treat gift card holders are mere unsecured creditors, not buyers with cash.

“Our Alberta rules are not applicable once a company goes into bankruptcy protection or receivership which is what has happened with HMV,” said Tina Faiz, Service Alberta. “If there's anything left over, you and I, and I have a gift card in my wallet too, can register to see if we can get any money back with our gift cards.”

CTV also asked the trustee why they are not honouring the cards and was told “no comment”.