Puerto Rico Consumer Affairs Dept. monitoring Sears bankruptcy
SAN JUAN – Following Sears’ Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, Puerto Rico Consumer Affairs Secretary Michael Pierluisi Rojo said Monday assured he was in communication with the retail giant’s attorneys to ensure they address the concerns of consumers on the island.
“We contacted the legal representation of Sears in Puerto Rico the moment speculation” over the bankruptcy filing began,” Pierluisi said in a release. “Before filing for bankruptcy, Sears was going to close 46 stores, which did not include Puerto Rico. Now they intend to close an additional 142. [See the list here] DACO [Spanish acronym for Consumer Affairs Department] will be monitoring this process for the benefit of the Puerto Rican consumer.”
Pierluisi recommended that consumers use unredeemed gift cards “as soon as possible, as well as the points [loyalty rewards] program independent of the decision on operations in Puerto Rico.”
He also recommended being aware about the potential of special, nonrefundable sales.
“One of the biggest and most logical concerns in these cases is whether the company will continue to honor warranties. The information received is that they are being honored at the moment but this will be subject to the bankruptcy process. We are especially attentive of this in particular, given the experience in Canada, where extended warranties ceased to be honored,” the official said.
Credit cards and layaway transactions will continue to run as usual, according to Sears. In the case of layaways, DACO recommended “picking the items up as soon as possible.”
The communication “channel between DACO and Sears is open and as questions and concerns arise we will be clarifying them directly with the company and communicating them to consumers,” Pierluisi said.
“As for the claims that are being heard by DACO, these remain–under federal law–stayed, pending the litigation before the Bankruptcy Court,” he added.