Does Not Accept Home Depot Gift Cards

Just wanted to let anyone know that if they plan on giving a Home Depot Gift Card as a gift this year that they can NOT be used at

My wife gave me $500 (5x$100) worth of gift cards as an anniversary present. When I went to use them at, there was no where to enter them in. I called their customer service (spoke with Selena) and was told the news about how they are not accepted as payment.

The local (20 miles away) store wont order the items in that I was looking at because they are listed as “online only”

We’re now out $500, or at least we are obligated to spend $500 a retail Home Depot we would now rather spend at the local competitors or Lowes. Just thought others should be aware.



Sure enough, Home Depot’s gift card FAQ says:

This Gift Card may not be applied toward Tool Rental deposits and/or purchases made outside of a store. This includes, but is not limited to, online purchases, phone sales, Depot Direct charges or any payment made at your home.

This Gift Card has no implied warranties and is not a credit card or debit card.

This Gift Card will not be redeemed or exchanged for cash, check or credit. It may not be used for payment on any credit or loan account.

This story serves as a good reminder to always check the terms & conditions of a gift card before you buy it. In many cases it might just be better to write your loved one a check and include a note that says “Buy some crap you want at Home Depot!” Who says that’s not classy?

Gift Card FAQ


Edit Your Comment

  1. PatrickIs2Smart says:

    Meg… you’re such a classy girl… ;-)

  2. UpsetPanda says:

    It’s why I don’t shop at Borders. I do have a Borders store near me, but I do a good amount of shopping online. All of their coupons are for store only, so what is the point of even having a website? I can’t use my coupons there. Meanwhile, B&N is fully integrated into their online store and I can use coupons for online and the store, and they even give two different codes so if you were really into saving, you could buy something online and then go to the store for something else and still get your discount!

  3. UpsetPanda says:

    *Forgot to mention that I know the post was about gift cards, so I don’t know what the deal is with B&N or Borders gift cards, but the store-only policy reminded me of my troubles with Borders.

  4. johnva says:

    Sell the gift cards. You can likely get most of the value out of them.

  5. kellyhelene says:

    @CaffeinatedSquint: Borders gift cards are accepted online, on their cobranded store. (there are two online borders stores, one for the retail locations, one for online shopping).

    I’m 100% sure of it, I just spent one online last month.

  6. bobpence says:

    Who lives 20 miles from the nearest Home Depot? I want to go there!

  7. kellyhelene says:

    @kellyhelene: Oh, and oddly enough, the book I purchased (a historical costuming text) was $15 cheaper through the Borders Amazon store than through plain old Amazon. So it may be worth checking both anyways.

  8. Meg Marco says:

    @PatrickIs2Smart: Damn skippy.

  9. ShadeWalker says:

    chinese people just give each other money in red envelopes. there’s no maintenance fees on that.

  10. alfista says:

    CompUSA gift cards cannot be used online either. Found that out after giving 50 of them out to employees as recognition…

  11. torqueU says:

    @CaffeinatedSquint: B&N will only let you redeem 1 gift card online. You have to call in and speak with a real live person if you have more than 1 card you want to use.

    You can use a gift card and a coupon together though.

  12. UpsetPanda says:

    @ShadeWalker: Only on special occasions.

  13. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    I didn’t know there were any CompUSA stores left to use them at!

  14. Parting says:

    @alfista: I’m sure employees feel ”very” recognized and it’s not your fault either ;)

    Similar event happened to someone I know, company gave restaurant gift cards as recognition prizes for performance.
    Only these gift cards weren’t valid in employee’s city :) The nearest ”eligible” restaurant was 6 hours away by car…
    Finally, the company gave the same amount as checks to everybody.

  15. S_SILVERS says:

    So you can buy them on the website, but not use them at the website? Thats just deceptive. It would stand to reason that you’d be able to use them where you bought them.

    Another reason to shop local.

  16. TechnoDestructo says:

    If you’re going to give something that can be used in place of money, give cash. I find it disturbing that people have been so easily led to believing that cash is somehow vulgar while restrictive, often costly pseudo-cash isn’t.

  17. Freedomboy says:

    Hey Ben,

    How about a link to a subsite or a new one with the sole purpose being one where those of us feeling burned can go to it, click a box and every week the site then logs the totals, sends Home Depot or Lowe’s or Best Buy or whomever is a hot topic an e-mailed tally of:

    Those of us who chose not to buy a gift card, stopped going into their store because they suck, changed our patterns to avoid them because of their policies, would have gone to their store but heard bad things about it. It could get to be the anti-Digg.

    Nice pile of stats after a month of that would tell the tale of how well it was being visited and what folks thought, and of course good service and policies could/would be clickable as well.

  18. Steel_Pelican says:

    This is actually pretty standard practice, from my experience. It’s either poor management ( and GameStop brick & mortar used to be owned by separate companies, and there could be no interaction between them) or just shady dealings- retailers love it when you don’t spend a gift card, so they’re going to put as many limitations on it as they can.

  19. starrion says:

    This is actually a security function against the gift card theives. They can’t scratch off the code on the cards and emtpty them by ordering stuff online. They have to present the actual card at the actual store.

    There must be better ways to secure the cards but this is how Home Depot is doing it.

  20. newlywed says:

    yah, you can use borders gift cards, but you have to MAKE SURE to go through the borders links. i wanted to buy a cd, and went through amazon, and it wouldn’t accept the gift card but didn’t tell me to redirect. if i hadn’t just guessed and tried, i would have been SOL and pissed. :)

  21. xskeptictankx says:

    Ben should sell that gift card on craigslist or ebay for $450. I’m sure if he explains the mishap to some extent in the listing, an independent builder or someone looking to start a home remodeling project would appreciate the discount and use the card toward in-store purchases.

  22. Munsoned says:

    Ha. I have a gift card for Borders that’s been siting in my wallet for about 6 months now–I just remembered after reading this thread. I think I’ll use it on one of those finance/investing books Consumerist listed earlier today!

  23. Munsoned says:

    Er, I mean listed yesterday.

  24. Karink23 says:

    Had the same thing happen to me with Ritz Camera.
    I got a Ritz Camera giftcard but couldn’t use it online – which was where I planned to buy my new camera (free shipping & no tax).
    I bought it from Beach Camera instead & just used the gift card for the CF card I needed, so it worked out – but I was still peeved!

  25. squidbrain says:

    Yet another reason to boycott giftcards.

  26. ucdcsteve says:

    Funny story about Home Depot gift cards. I received a rather large one as a present. I don’t own a house, so figured I’d rather use it for their kitchen wares, which are largely available exclusively online. I found out they did not take gift cards online, which I found to be lame. However, I was able to go to the store and “special order” an item at no additional charge (even shipped directly to me for free). Here’s where the story gets funny…

    The product I ordered arrived slightly broken. Not enough to not be easily fixed, but enough for me to not want to have spent that much and have to fix it myself. I returned the item at the store. After wrestling over exactly how to return the item, the ordered me a replacement and instructed me to take the original home and someone “may” contact me in three weeks to examine the damaged item. I was told if I did not get contacted to throw the damaged item away! Figures, I was never contacted, so I fixed the damaged item and gave it away to a friend. Two for the price of one because Home Depot didn’t want to argue with a shipping company over fault. Hilarious!
    But yeah, lame about the gift cards.

  27. UpsetPanda says:

    @squidbrain: What’s the reason? You can’t use the gift card on the website. Just go to a home depot. If your home depot is 20 miles away, your friends probably shouldn’t be getting you a home depot gift card.

  28. Bay State Darren says:

    You’re better off not spending any money online anyway. the Internet’s just a fad anyways. I understand Home Depot not wanting to put a whole lot of effort into it anyways.

  29. DallasDMD says:

    @starrion: How exactly is that protection? If you steal a card from somebody else, you might as well just use it in a store anyway. If you steal a blank card from a store, its useless. If you scratch off a blank card and put it back hoping that somebody puts a balance on it later, you’re depending on the stupidity of both the customer and cashier to not notice.

  30. FLConsumer says:

    Remember kids, receiving gift cards sucks… give cash!

  31. bigsss says:

    Home Depot has a security function against the gift card thieves. I guess everyone has a short memory. Last year there was lots of scams going around with thieves using their camera phone to capture the gift card numbers and use them online at retailers that accept gift cards online. Thieves would periodically check the card numbers to see if they were activated and then use them. Home Depot now has a scratch off code and eventually will accept them online. Home Depot also will replace cards that are lost as long as you have the gift card number. The balance is frozen and a new card issued. Thieves were calling to say their gift cards were lost and having new cards re-issued to a PO box or other address and the real consumer was out. So stop whining you babies and until then, you will have to use your gift card for in-store purchases only. If you need to buy something on-line use a credit card or go somewhere else. Do you have a better idea on how to secure gift cards? Then why don’t you contact Home Depot. I’m sure they would be happy to look at your suggestion, whining babies!!!

  32. bigsss says:

    @dave511: Why don’t you write a complaint articles about them only redeeming one gift card. If you’ve never been scammed by gift card thieves, then you don’t know what you’re “missing”. You would submit an article about Home Depot or other company that they allowed a gift card thieve to steal the value on your gift card. Then we’d see the tears flowing!! baby!

  33. synergy says:

    In many cases it might just be better to write your loved one a check and include a note that says “Buy some crap you want at Home Depot!” Who says that’s not classy?

    That’s pretty much how I see gift cards except I don’t know which is worse. With the gift card it says to me “I think I know you like to buy stuff at Home Depot and I made it as far as the store, but didn’t bother to think what specifically are your unique tastes and what specifically you would love to get as a gift.”

  34. trollkiller says:

    I live 20+ miles from a Home Depot, Wal~Mart and grocery stores other than Winn~Dixie.

    Man I just realised how lucky I am.

  35. jamar0303 says:

    @ShadeWalker: Ture, but that’s just once a year.

  36. Magicube says:

    It’s not necessarily poor management or shady dealings. In-store point-of-sale (POS) systems are one thing. Ecommerce sites and their associated back-end systems are usually another. Integrating cross-channel gift cards is possible, as evidenced by the growing numbers of retailers who do so, but it’s not simple. So is it bad for retailers to not have cross-channel gift cards? Oh yeah. Is it shady or “poor” management? Not necessarily.

  37. goller321 says:

    FYI, Staples is the same. I bought a couple hundred dollars of gift cards on dealpass, and then found out they were only good in store. It sucks because the closest Staples is 45 minutes away. I occasionally drive by one when I go to a friend’s cabin or to another friends house in a different city, but you really don’t get a great deal on anything cause what I want is rarely on sale when I’m in the store. I plan on using what’s left to buy a camera for my Mom for Christmas and be done with it.

  38. m.ravian says:

    @bigsss: i’m pretty sure your post would be twice as hilarious if you read them in an “Ah-nold” voice and inserted the words “girly man” into them. go ahead. try it.

    btw, i heart Lowe’s. death to Home Depot.

  39. ukthom says:

    I wonder if any of these retail big-box conglomerations we now call shopping centers do this anymore, but over here, in the small town I live in, local retailers go in for a gift certificate scheme, where you purchase a certificate that is valid at a bunch of stores in the town. That way, you can give a certificate, not the dreaded cash – which, if you’re like me, goes towards bills anyway and never anything gift-like, and still give your recipient options as to where they’ll shop. I think it’s something to do with independent retailers, but I like the idea. It’s kinda like those old-fashioned mall gift certs, but not in for a day to be spent inside a stuffy, boring, mall, but in the center of town.

    -From a little town in West Norfolk, UK

  40. TurboWagon00 says:

    Home Depots wedding/gifts registry are also not integrated with their bricks n mortar stores. Twice the suckage, no extra charge.

  41. Trick says:

    If your wife bought them, she should be able to return them at the store for a full refund if she still has the receipt. Even if she doesn’t, if she used a credit card they can look it up…

    It sucks just the same but letting the manager know the minute you get your money back that it will be spent elsewhere will get their attention.

  42. XTC46 says:

    @alfista: but CompUSA can place an order for any item on their website in the store, and then take payment in the form of gift cards (or cash). while not perfect, it would have suited the needs of this customer.

  43. XTC46 says:

    @ukthom: One of our bigger shopping malls does this. What they really do is get a bunch of American Express Giftcards and just brand them with the Mall’s Logo and stuff so they can be used in any store that takes AmEx. But becasue of the branding most people think they can only be used in that mall so they shop there.

  44. StevieD says:

    I received a box of giftcards when there was a change with our Merchant Bank. Now realize these cards are being issued by a Visa Merchant Bank, but the cards are not a Visa/MasterCard issued card. They are store cards. They may process on the Credit Card transaction machines just like a normal card, but the inner workings of the card are not handled like a normal Visa card.

    Home Depots, and I suspect a lot of other store Gift Cards are just like the cards issued to my business by my Merchant Bank.

    There are a lot of restrictions on the Gift Cards. Most of these restrictions are tied to security. One of the primary issues is MY cards being used at YOUR store. The cards are locked to a specific store (or chain). This locking of the cards is supposed to prevent mass fraud, such as I “loading” hundreds of cards with $100,000 each and sending the cards out into the field to be used at every other business in town.

    I even have the option of locking the card such that it can only be swiped, with no option of hand keying the number. Actually the option is to PAY extra for the ability to hand key the number.

    For HD, or any other business to restrict the cards to instore transactions only makes sense. There is a cost of unlocking the cards for online transactions and an added risks of fraud occurring.

    BTW there are VISA gift cards (as well as MC, AMEX etc). Those gift cards actually handle like a regular (prepaid) credit cards and can be used for online transactions.

  45. Brad2723 says:

    If the gift card can’t be redeemed for cash, don’t buy it.

  46. scoosdad says:

    @Karink23: “I got a Ritz Camera giftcard but couldn’t use it online – which was where I planned to buy my new camera (free shipping & no tax).”

    But wouldn’t they have charged you sales tax anyway with an online purchase since they are usually required to, if they have a physical retail presence in the same state/county/city where your ship-to address is?

  47. Karink23 says:

    Actually, no – one of Ritz’s selling points is that they “pay” sales tax for consumers in states where they are required to collect sales tax (I’m in Georgia).
    They happened to have a great price on the camera I wanted, and the sales tax savings clinched it for me, so I asked for the gift card for a present. When I discovered that I couldn’t use the gift card, that was $100 more of my own money that I hadn’t planned to spend, so I had to wait & save up more cash. Then the camera price went up, so I bought it elsewhere.

  48. Hawk07 says:

    I don’t see why Gift Cards seemingly sell so well. Why not just give the person cash?

    I was listening to the radio last Christmas and one guy summed it up pretty concisely, “Gift cards are the I don’t give a crap about you gift. It’s when you know you had to get somebody a gift, but could not be bothered to put any time into the thought behind it.”

    If gift cards had incentives (like adding 5% or 10% more than what you pay for it), I might be for them, but it seems as though they have ridiculous requirements and once the store gets your money, you’re locked in with no legal recourse.

  49. Ron-Mexico says:

    Welcome to my world. I use an American Express for my business expenses and rack up 5-figure bills each month, which obviously gives me a ton of points. One of the best ways to use those points (dollar-for-dollar) is to cash them in on Home Depot gift cards. But as you’ve discovered, those are limited to in-store only (which isn’t the worst thing in the world for me since there’s a Home Depot about a mile from my house.) And for the record, they’re also not applicable for things like Home Depot-arranged contract work like carpet installation or painters.

    I know my problem is a nice one to have, but I’d still love to be able to cash those cards in on the much wider range of offerings they have online. I’d spend some MAJOR mad money with these things if I could have access to buy some of the stuff from their electronics and furniture offerings that are exclusively online.

    Having recently done consultant work with a company who sells their products through Home Depot (in-store and online) I can tell you the main difference is that most of the online-only products are directly fulfilled by the manufacturer. Home Depot makes a lower margin on those items which is undoubtedly why they won’t allow the gift cards to be used there. Still, I’m eagerly awaiting the day it happens. Customers going online before going to the store (only to discover the product isn’t there) are eventually going to force the issue. Even Target (which sells an Amazon-like amount of stuff online) allows their gift cards to be used online.