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Spend those Toys R Us gift cards now

Sen. Charles E. Schumer wants Toys R Us to give customers enough time to redeem their gift cards for merchandise, or let them redeem their gift cards for cash, and he's asking the Federal Trade Commission to step in quickly and make it happen.

The Washington Post reported Toys R Us is planning to sell or close all 800 of its U.S. stores and that the company told employees closures would occur over time, and not all at once. If that happens, customers would be left holding worthless gift cards bought just months ago during the holiday season, when Toys R Us assured consumers their purchases were safe, Schumer said.

Schumer has asked the FTC to "provide a close and expeditious review of this entire process to ensure that no laws are being violated" and to make sure that Toys R Us is taking "every possible step to honor its existing terms of service" on gift cards. He was an early supporter of a 2009 bill that required gift cards be honored for at least five years after purchase.

Locally, there are Toys R Us locations in Clarence, Amherst and Hamburg. There are two Babies R Us stores: one in Amherst, which is slated to close, and another in Hamburg.

News wire services contributed to this report.

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