Good Thing There’s No Such Thing As An IKEA Gift Card Balance Emergency

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]

(Alan Rappa)

Best Buy Needs 2 Forms Of Photo ID To Give You Five Bucks For A Broken Cell Phone

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.

(The Joy of the Mundane)

Consumers Now Feeling The Pain Of Post-Holiday Gift Card Scams

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]

The gift card arrived safely.

Best Buy Makes Sure Gift Card Arrives Safely, Sends It Packed In Air Cushions

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. [More]


Online Start-Up Lets You Give Presents From Afar Without Those Pesky Gift Cards

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]

(Dee Speed)

Kmart Tracks Down Reader After 2-Day Shipping Became 2-Week Shipping, Tries To Help

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. [More]


Here’s Another Reason To Avoid Giving Gift Cards

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]


Starbucks Introduces Limited Amount Of $450 Steel Gift Cards For The Caffeinated 1%

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]

You can't buy this.

Sorry, You Can’t Buy Nexus Devices With Your $350 Google Play Store Credit

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. [More]


If You’re Going To Give Gift Cards, Consider Store-Branded Cards First

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]

(Click to enlarge)

If Staples Never Had Any Hard Drives In Stock, Were They Ever Really On Sale?

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? [More]

Help! My Target Gift Card Has Gone Missing

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? [More]

Don’t Try To Sell Your Target Gift Card For Cash Inside The Store

Don’t Try To Sell Your Target Gift Card For Cash Inside The Store

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. [More]

Target Feels Need To Brag About Selling Gift Cards At Face Value

Target Feels Need To Brag About Selling Gift Cards At Face Value

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. [More]

Ordering Appliance At Lowe's Results In Cascade Of Incompetence

Ordering Appliance At Lowe's Results In Cascade Of Incompetence

The employees at his local Lowe’s store were pretty great, reader Tony tells us, but ordering his stove online with multiple store gift cards wasn’t such a good idea. When he hit “Submit,” the order didn’t go through, and the Lowe’s customer service buffoons weren’t able to tell him what had happened. A visit to the local store resolved the situation, resulting in the actual delivery of the stove. Which was damaged. [More]

Not Everyone At Costco Understands Secret Membership Avoidance Strategy

Not Everyone At Costco Understands Secret Membership Avoidance Strategy

A few years ago, we ran a post about the secret and kind of awesome way to do some shopping at Costco without purchasing a membership. Just give a member you know some cash and have them pick up a gift card (Costco Cash Card) for you. Great system if your nearest Costco is far away, or you just don’t go often enough to justify joining. In theory, anyway. Justin took the advice in our post, but was turned away at the door by an employee who wasn’t aware that a cash card entitled him to enter the store. [More]

American Express Pulls Gift Cards From New Jersey Stores

American Express Pulls Gift Cards From New Jersey Stores

A new regulation in New Jersey will require sellers of gift cards to record the ZIP code of everyone who buys a card, because the state thinks a revision to its unclaimed property laws allow it to claim the value of any unredeemed gift cards after two years. So rather than deal with all the possible hassles involved with this change, American Express has simply pulled all its gift cards from retail locations in the Garden State. [More]

Judge Certifies Class-Action Status For Abercrombie & Fitch Gift Card Lawsuit

Judge Certifies Class-Action Status For Abercrombie & Fitch Gift Card Lawsuit

Abercrombie & Fitch could soon learn a huge lesson in bad marketing practices. A federal judge has given the go-ahead to a class-action lawsuit against the retailer that alleges it handed out gift cards with no expiration date only to later tell customers that their cards had expired. [More]