Last week, Toys ‘R’ Us announced that it would be shutting down all 800 of its U.S. retail locations, including its Babies ‘R’ Us stores. It also announced that customers with gift cards had 30 days to use them or lose them (until 4/19) and that its “endless earnings” Rewards points ⏤ which are part of the gift-registry loyalty program ⏤ would be valid for one week, until 3/21. It turns out, however, that some expecting parents are never going to get their money.
The “endless earnings” program is designed to get soon-to-be parents to register at Babies ‘R’ Us over other stores by giving them reward points for every purchase off their registry. Customers receiver five percent back for the first $300 spent and then 10 percent once they cross $300. Then, 12 weeks after the baby’s arrival date, parents would receive an email letting them know how much they earned and they could redeem that money in gift cards.
The only catch, as some pregnant moms are finding out, is that there isn’t enough time left before the stores close to receive and spend their money. And Toys ‘R’ Us is refusing to cash out those “endless earnings” accounts or issue new gift cards early, sticking instead with the official 12-week policy. One expecting mother, Sarah Maiellano, spent several hours on the phone with the company only to be told the $340 she earned through the program would not be reimbursed.
“I’m incredibly disappointed that Babies R Us has chosen to not honor its promise to registry customers,” Maiellano told Business Insider. “I chose Babies R Us — not Amazon or other online retailers which are being blamed for the closure — exclusively for this cashback program.”
As is the case with most liquidations, however, customers rarely come before creditors— especially when they’re essentially talking about free money. Toys ‘R’ Us was back in bankruptcy court yesterday trying to sort out the details. With the rewards program officially ending today, the question now is whether the company will actually honor its gift cards for another month. And if they do, will there be anything left to buy?