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"Certifi-Checks" No Good
Tuesday, 03 March 2009

March 3--  The company which ran the "Shop At Home" gift certificate program for the Toombs-Montgomery Chamber of Commerce has gone bankrupt.

"We're trying to work with everybody including the merchants, the people who buy these things and the people who have them.  This is an unfortunate situation, but we're trying to work through it," says Alan Thigpen of the chamber's board of directors.

According to Thigpen, local companies and citizens bought about $200,000 of the checks last year and he hopes most of them were redeemed before the company went bust.  Right now, the chamber is trying to determine how many of the "Certifi-Checks" have yet to be redeemed.

"It will affect the people who have not cashed in these Certifi-Checks and we're trying to contact all the merchants not to accept any more because they will not be honored," he says.

Chamber officials are not sure yet if they can help anyone still holding the now-worthless certificates.  "What we're trying to do is figure out how we can keep the people in the community from losing money.  We don't know if we'll be able to absorb the loss at the chamber level or not.  We first have to identify how much is out there for the potential loss and we're working diligently on that," Thigpen reports. 

Chamber officials say they plan to continue the program under Chamber sponsorship.  Debbie Evans of the Chamber issued the following statement:

"The Chamber’s “Great Place to Shop” certificate program has been a great success for many years. This program encourages local shopping and provides tax dollars for the betterment of our community. Prior to working with CertifiChecks, the Chamber provided this program in-house. As soon as this issue is settled, we will return the program to the original state with future funding guaranteed by the Chamber. Please bear with us as we find a favorable resolution to this situation and get the program up and running again."



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