Warning: Do not use CertifiChecks

Published 9:06 am Wednesday, March 4, 2009

To the Editor:

Late Friday, the Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce and chambers of commerce across the country discovered that CertifiChecks Inc., the company that administers gift certificate programs for chambers and other organizations, has ceased operations.

We were not contacted directly, but rather learned of the program termination through the company’s Web site that a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing is imminent.

Numerous attempts by this organization, other chambers and our national trade association to reach the firm’s office and officers have been unsuccessful.

According to the CertifiChecks company statement on its Web site, any CertifiChecks gift certificates that are deposited as checks by participating merchants will be returned.

This includes those issued by the Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber.

To protect from loss, all Chamber businesses should refuse to accept any CertifiChecks presented by customers.

Please advise any customers who present these certificates that they should bring them to the Chamber office at 108 W. Third Ave., Franklin.

The Chamber will work on behalf of customers to secure reimbursement from CertifiChecks.

The Chamber’s Executive Committee will discuss the options available on behalf of the membership to try and recover any potential losses that members and the community may incur as the result of CertifiChecks’ sudden and unexpected announcement.

For the past six years, the CertifiCheck program has provided a way for the Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber to drive business to our membership and keep these dollars in the community.

Last year, more than $37,000 in gift certificates were purchased for use with our Chamber member businesses.

We apologize for this significant inconvenience and we share your disappointment that the program was ended without notice to the Chamber or our participating merchants. Regulatory agencies have been contacted and are examining this situation.

We will keep our Chamber members informed as additional information is made available.

For further information, please feel free to contact me at 562-4900.

Teresa Beale, executive director

Franklin-Southampton Area

Chamber of Commerce