The good news: There is a store that will accept American Express gift cards without even trying to throw you in jail. It’s Banana Republic. The bad news: A still-unexplained register problem left Andrew without the $90 remaining balance on his card or the items that he tried to purchase.
I received an American Express gift card for Christmas this year, so I headed to my favorite retail store Banana Republic. I had already used a portion of my $200.00 gift card, so when I got to the store it only had a balance of $90 and some change.
After finding what I wanted, I proceeded to the register to make my purchases. The total came to $110+. I asked the cashier if I could use the remaining amount on my AMEX gift card and then pay the leftover balance with cash. The cashier swipes my AMEX card, leaving me with a small balance to pay in cash.
Before paying the balance, my friend brought a shirt to the register that I hadn’t seen. I liked it so I asked if I could add it to the transaction. The employee said it was fine and she added the shirt to the transaction. Upon scanning the new item, the amount owed jumped back to over 125 dollars, instead of just adding the balance of the shirt to the small balance that I owed. I swiped my AMEX card again, only to have it denied and have the computer screen tell me that I again owe 125 dollars.
I called AMEX gift card service and the automated service informed me that I had a balance of 0.00. I immediately understood what had happened: my available balance dropped to 0 because the gift card was charged, but then the whole order was re-entered when I added the new shirt, causing the new total to show up as what I owe.
I explained this to the manager who had been called over. After a 40 minute exchange that went absolutely nowhere, the manager goes to the back to try and call AMEX. I left to go shop elsewhere, returning less than an hour later. A new manager was working and he explained to me that the charge had been made and is now pending, but because the charge hadn’t processed, the company did not receive the money so I could not get my merchandise.
Why should I be waiting for the holidays to end so that I can call Gap’s customer relations so that I can reexplain what I have already spent an hour too long explaining? As of now, I am out 90 dollars and the Gap doesn’t even know what happened. Give me my money or give me the clothes I already paid for! I pour so much money into that company and it disappoints me that I have to make up for their mistakes!
Let this be a cautionary tale: if you receive an American Express gift card, be extra cautious when redeeming it. Don’t add extra items to your transaction. Don’t do anything unusual. Don’t even breathe funny.