We at The Consumerist are known for our anti-gift card stance, but sometimes you find yourself in a situation where a gift is required and cash seems tacky. Vivian writes that she got an Apple gift card for her sister as a nice present, and it disappeared from her sister’s mailbox. Unlike other high-value items that they sell, Apple mails gift cards using U.S. Postal Service first class mail, and someone stole and spent the card.
Sorry if you’ve already covered this topic before, but I just wanted to pass on a perhaps helpful tip to your readers. I recently sent my sister an Apple store gift card as a thank you gift for making my wedding cake. I ordered it online and had it sent to her house. They sent it via USPS, which is usually not a problem where she lives. A week and a half went by and she still hadn’t received it, so she called Apple customer service, and they told her to wait a two more days. It still didn’t arrive, so she called again, and this time the CSR was acting really cagey. She finally wrestled out of her that part of it had been used and she wasn’t sure she was even allowed to tell us that. Apparently some turd from the neighborhood had stolen the card out of the mailbox and used it.
She said the case had been referred to another department for investigation (loss prevention, I’m assuming), and the woman basically told my sister that there was no way for her to follow up with it; she was just supposed to wait for an email from them. Two days later, she called them again and they confirmed that it had indeed been stolen (duh), and that all we could do was file a police report and call the credit card company. She inquired as to why Apple doesn’t ship UPS ground, or at least pays for postal insurance, and the CSR said that this type of thing happens a lot around the holidays and unfortunately there is nothing they can do about it. Thankfully, my credit card company was very understanding and issued me conditional credit while they completed their own investigation. I ended up sending her some cold hard cash via Paypal as a replacement gift.
So, my advice is if you are going to send someone some nice Apple credit for the holidays, buy it yourself that brick-and-mortar, and buy postal insurance if you must mail it/don’t have access to your work’s FedEx account. If you must order from their website, make sure to use a credit card with a generous charge dispute policy.
Sorry about the epic email, but I would hate for anyone else to have to go through this debacle!