Help! My Target Gift Card Has Gone Missing

For the month of August, consumer advocate Christopher Elliott will occasionally be sharing some of the questions and problems he receives from readers. In this case, Robert is trying without much luck to track down the Target gift card he ordered for his grandson — and finding out that Target isn’t obligated to deliver that card in a timely fashion. Can anyone help him find it?

From Robert:

I have a problem with Target that I’m hoping you can help me with. I have been waiting for an electronic gift card to be sent to my grandson for the last three weeks. I’ve made two phone calls and sent an email to Target, but they will not tell me when the card will arrive. I think there’s a serious problem.

Can you give me a name and phone number of a senior executive in customer service at Target? Or better yet, could you help me get that gift card?

Chris says: You ordered a Target e-GiftCard for your grandson, which is a basic gift card minus the plastic. You can find the terms and conditions of the card on Target’s site, which are pretty interesting, even if you’re just an average customer. Among the zingers: Regardless of the stated cash value of the card, it has a cash value is 1/10 of one cent.

I’d love to see someone try to redeem that!

I mention the terms because nowhere in them does Target guarantee it will send a purchased e-GiftCard to a customer within a set amount of time. It could just pocket your money and send your grandson the certificate when he graduates from high school. Not that it would, but it could.

Calling Target was a good first step, and following up with an e-mail was even better. You need a paper trail because you may have to prove that you’ve done your best to fix a problem later on. The correspondence will prove it. Only Target records your phone calls — for “quality assurance” purposes, I’m sure.

Target’s advertising promises its e-GiftCard’s are a “faster” way of purchasing store credit, but not for you or your grandson. It’s unclear what caused the delay. It might have been a glitch in Target’s system or it’s possible that you gave the company an incorrect email address. Target wouldn’t say.

If e-mails sent through the Target website aren’t doing the trick, you might want to appeal this to an executive. I’d send a quick email to Kathryn Tesija, Target’s executive vice president of merchandising. I’m sure she’d be more than happy to help you. Her e-mail address is Kathee.Tesija@target.com.

In the end, Elliott was able to contact Target on Robert’s behalf and get the company to issue a new gift card six hours later.

Christopher Elliott answers every week on his consumer advocacy blog. Email him with your questions at chris@elliott.org or like his Facebook page or follow him on Twitter.

Comments

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  1. SirWired says:

    Welcome to the Consumerist, Chris! I’m sure you’ll find the commenters here even more “lively” than the ones on your own site! Dust off the Nomex suit I’m sure you have handy at all times.

  2. jsibelius says:

    Yay! Chris Elliott!

  3. eccsame says:

    He should call his credit card company and dispute the charge.

  4. jsibelius says:

    What Chris would probably say is that if there is still the possibility of an adequate response from Target (from Ms. Tesija in this case), initiating a chargeback will effectively end any goodwill from the company. They’ll just concentrate their efforts on fighting the chargeback and will not be inclined to offer the customer anything at all. Better to exhaust all your options with the company before going that route.

  5. StarKillerX says:

    In a case like this I would think it would have been much more productive to just cancel the order and then get one in person. I’m not excusing Target’s lack of CS in this case, but rather then spending hours jumping through hoops to try and resolve it take a fraction of that time and go to the store, or ask a family member or friend to for you.

  6. Christopher Elliott says:

    Thanks for the warm welcome, everyone! I’m trying something a little different here — I’m going to try to fix the consumer problems that I get sent. So ask me anything. My email address is elliottc@gmail.com

  7. OldSchool says:

    Chargeback, do not waste any more of your time with Target.

  8. Sunrisecarole says:

    Just love this guy! Been reading his column about a year and am happy to see him here on my Favorite website.

  9. rslitman says:

    Hey, Chris, your column dated 7/31/12 on your web page that began with the journalist’s Twitter account cancellation and went on to discuss your new column to begin the next day left out one important thing – where we can find it online. Your portal page only shows links to the three most recent writings you’ve posted, so I’d appreciate a “deep link” to where I can find each new one. For instance, I’ve found an index page on Mint for your Thursday columns there and head there each week. Oh! I just realized that today is Thursday, and I haven’t been there yet!