Weekly Feature

2018-05-16 / Business

Assemblymen advocate for Bon-Ton customers

In a bipartisan showing of commitment to consumer rights, Assemblymen Ray Walter, R,C,I-Amherst, and Robin Schimminger, D,C,I-Kenmore, are requesting that Bon-Ton accept gift cards that have been canceled with little to no warning for customers.

According to the assemblymen, while Bon-Ton — currently in the liquidation process as part of its bankruptcy — has operated in a manner that is legal under federal bankruptcy law, the organization needs to do more to ensure it fulfills its moral obligation to customers of its 10 Western New York locations.

Schimminger and Walter said many unsuspecting customers have been left with gift cards that are unusable and have been given no information as to how to get their money back.

Although the retailer had accepted gift cards for the first 10 days of its liquidation sale, meeting the minimum requirements under federal law, many consumers have expressed displeasure in both its decision not to continue accepting these gift cards while merchandise remains on shelves and its failure to notify customers of the impending cancellations.

Additionally, the assemblymen believe Bon-Ton has fallen short in providing gift card holders with information on how to file a claim, a complicated and unfamiliar process to the majority of consumers who have been affected by the situation.

Walter and Schimminger have requested that the company provide its customers with detailed information on how to recoup the maximum possible amount of money they had spent on the canceled gift cards. The lawmakers also identified the need for action to protect paying customers from falling victim to similar circumstances that may arise in the future.

“After decades of loyal patronage, it’s clear that it will take much more than the minimum legal obligation for Bon-Ton to meet the moral responsibility it has to customers who have spent their hard-earned money on these canceled gift cards,” Walter said.

“I hope that this unfortunate situation has highlighted the need for companies to consider the potential damage to consumers when making similar corporate decisions in the future, and I’d like to thank Assemblyman Schimminger for joining us in calling on Bon-Ton to do the right thing.”

For more information about the matter, contact Walter’s district office at 634-1895.

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