One of the most important factors in determining whether a retailer provides quality customer service is how it handles unexpected problems. Unfortunately for one Consumerist reader, no one at Kohl’s seemed willing to do any creative thinking when the store’s gift card system went down. [More]
Jenny has a problem with Staples, and happened to find a post that we wrote about the same problem four years ago. Staples, you see, has a web site and they have about 1,600 stores. You can buy Staples gift cards in many places, including from Staples’ own website. But back in 2009, you couldn’t use Staples gift cards to buy things on the site. You still can’t. [More]
Reader O. wanted to preorder a new game from 2012 Worst Company in America champ EA, and he wanted to use some money that he had on a Walmart gift card. Fair enough. What he did have was a $50 Walmart gift card and some cash. Walmart theoretically carries EA gift cards, so he should have been able to visit his nearest Wally World, pick up a card, take it home, and pre-order a delicious Crysis 3 download. Indeed, he was able to do that, but only after he took a pocketful of cash across the street and bought his desired EA gift card at GameStop. You can use a Walmart gift card for anything that the store sells…except prepaid debit cards. [More]
Say the word “gift card” around Consumerist HQ and hackles will raise at an alarming rate. Which is why we’re greeting the news of a new gift card offered by Facebook with what one might call, “extreme wariness and trepidation.” Building on the social network’s recent launch of Facebook Gifts, these cards will be able to hold balances for multiple retailers and are reusable. [More]
Have you ever had an IKEA gift card? Did you ever need to check the balance without being inside an IKEA store? Valerie wanted to check the balance on hers, which she thought should be a simple transaction using an automated customer service system or the retailer’s website. The problem is that IKEA has shut down its gift card request line: you know, the one listed on the back of the card itself. [More]
Quick: in your wallet right now, do you have two photo IDs? I do, but only if you count a BJ’s card. If you don’t, don’t visit Best Buy to trade in your junky old cell phones. In the subject line of his e-mail to us, reader S. declared his weekend to be the “Worst Best Buy Experience Ever.” We wouldn’t go that far, maybe because our bar is set a little low for what the “worst” experience at any given retailer should be. It was pretty irritating, though.
Back in December, we told you about how scammers could take money from your gift card before you even get a chance to use it. Now that people are trying to cash in those cards, they’re feeling the sting of finding out they have a zero balance. [More]
Kevin took advantage of a totally amazing Best Buy deal where he could buy a $100 iTunes gift card for only $80. The card came in the regular old mail instead of being virtual, though, and Kevin assumed that it would arrive in some sort of envelope. What with it being a small, flat object and all. But no! Instead, Best Buy sent it along in a cardboard box filled with air pillows.
We know there are plenty of you out there who also abhor gift cards — either you forget about them in a drawer or don’t realize there are a ton of hidden fees eating away at your credit — but then again, shopping for loved ones who live far away can be so hard sometimes. A new online start-up called Yiftee thinks it has the solution, even if its choice of name is questionable. [More]
You may remember reader Linda, who ordered a computer from Kmart with 2-day shipping as a Christmas gift for her mother. Kmart’s idea of “2-day shipping” that they charge extra for turned out to be “2-week shipping” once they actually got around to shipping the computer. That wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t, you know, a Christmas gift, and if Kmart planned to ship it before December 24th. Based on the information in the post, the nice people at Kmart’s executive customer relations department tracked Linda down, which is impressive and only a little bit unnerving.
By this point, we’ve probably all given or received gift cards during the holidays. But most consumers don’t know how easy it is for scammers to steal value from these cards, and what a pain in the butt in can be to get that money back. [More]
There are people who are willing to plunk down $7 for a cup of coffee every day at Starbucks, or those who carve out decent slice of their budgets to ensure they get a venti latte with all the syrupy extras on a constant basis, so the idea of spending $450 on a shiny new steel Starbucks gift card really isn’t that much of a leap. And it will come with the cachet of being one of only 5,000 in existence. We can just sense the caffeinated drool out there right now. [More]
Michael’s plan seemed like a really great idea at the time he hatched it. He wanted to make sure that he would have the money for a Nexus 4 set aside, so he purchased $350 worth of credit for the Google Play store. The phone’s available for sale there, so this made perfect sense. Until the phone actually launched. When he could finally get through to place his order, he learned that Play Store credit specifically couldn’t be used on Nexus devices. Oh, no.
Gift cards have become an easy way to tell your family and friends, “I believe you merit a gift this holiday season but I would rather you just pick it out yourself.” But some cards have historically been bogged down with fees that chew away at the cards’ value until they are worth less than the plastic on which they’re printed. According to a new survey, your best bet at finding a fee-free gift card is to buy store-branded plastic. [More]
Jordan had two glorious things happening to him at the same time. He had a $220 gift card to Staples, and the office-supply chain had Kingston solid State drives on sale for the wonderfully cheap price of $79.99. They were marked down from $199.99. He headed to his local store to take advantage of the deal, since Staples.com wouldn’t let him use the gift cards. At Staples, he learned that while his local store had the the item on display, they didn’t actually have them in stock. Now he’s questioning reality: was the item on sale last week or this week? Did the sale really ever exist? Was the lack of stock an accidental bait-and-switch move? (If it were an intentional one, they’d push the drives on customers for $200, or try to sell them a cheaper but inferior model.) Why won’t the web site accept gift cards?
When Heather tried to sell her son’s old crib, she learned that it had been recalled and contacted the retailer, Target, to find out how to get a refund. She was told that if she brought the crib to a Target store, she would receive a refund on the spot. What she wasn’t told is that the refund would be in the form of a Target gift card. With the nearest store an hour away, she doesn’t visit regularly and has no use for a gift card. She’s on a tight budget and has more use for cash. She tried to find a fellow customer to buy it from her until store management asked her to stop. From their point of view, she brought in a recalled item without understanding Target’s policies, and was soliciting customers inside the store, attempting to sell her gift card for cash.
Hey, who doesn’t love gift cards? Target sells a few as impulse items at the checkout, and Reader Cheryl noticed something curious. The gift cards had the same “as advertised” tag that sale flyer items at Target get, but they weren’t on sale. They were being sold at face value. As gift cards generally are.