Toys ‘R’ Us should want to reward Dustin handsomely. He has five kids, and his family buys an awful lot of toys there. It’s not the store itself but its rewards program that’s giving him problems. He used rewards certificates and $34.88 in cash to buy a toy, but when he went to return that toy, he learned that the rewards program is less straightforward than it seems when you need to return something.
Startups like Groupon and LivingSocial get all of the attention these days in the deal-certificate market, but Utah-based CityDeal predated deal-a-day sites and sold discount vouchers for all sorts of businesses in the western US. Until the company abruptly shut down yesterday, leaving merchants and customers alike confused and possibly screwed over.
As Groupon continues to expand across the country into more and more markets, consumers are finding they’re not quite sure how to deal with this new beast when it comes to state laws governing coupons and gift certificates.
A judicial commission for California judges censured and barred the recently retired judge Brett C. Klein for showing bias, abusing authority, and grandstanding to the press. At issue was his January 2009 alteration of a class action settlement, where he ordered everyone, including the attorneys, to be paid the same way: via $10 gift vouchers from a woman’s clothing store.
Update: Barnes & Noble says they’re changing this policy. If you or someone you know is getting a nook, Barnes & Noble’s version of the Kindle, this year and you want to use a gift card to fill it with books, forget it. For mysterious reasons, the retailer won’t allow it. (By contrast, Amazon does.)
If you want to spread some fiscally sound good cheer this year, consider asking your friends, relatives, and coworkers not to give gift cards backed by the major credit card companies. Why am I making such a sour suggestion? Because a new study from two consumer advocacy groups indicates that most of the population still doesn’t recognize what a money trap those little plastic cards can be.
After SIGG USA announced that their metal water bottles contained plastic additive BPA, they offered to exchange consumers’ offending bottles for new ones. Karen sent her BPA-riddled water bottles in for replacement, and received her gift certificate to buy two new ones for a total of $46.98. But something went horribly wrong, and now she has a store credit for just under $50,000.
Some people who got away with using a $60 gift certificate on two separate Amazon orders would take the merchandise and run, hoping to get to use it a third time.
Jon wrote back with the results of his attempt to redeem a gift certificate that’s over a decade old.
Max wants to know why he hasn’t received the $10 gift certificate that the cashier at Sears promised him for turning over an email address to receive marketing messages. We contacted Sears and found out what’s actually going on.
We’ve been hearing from a growing number of readers who still have balances on their KB Toys gift cards and want to know what to do. KB filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and liquidated in December 2008, and stopped accepting gift cards on December 31, 2008. Gift card holders have only one option left, and not a very good one.
We’ve made it pretty clear that we don’t condone Latreasa Goodman’s attempt to use 911 to report a McNugget Emergency, but in all fairness to Goodman, she was being shafted by the lying, uncooperative McDonald’s employee who said “all sales final” and refused to refund her money. McDonald’s has released a statement where they own up to their role in escalating things in the first place, and they’re sending her a free meal gift card as well as the refund she originally requested. Now she can enjoy a complimentary lunch on the day she goes to plead “no contest” to the judge for abuse of 911.
Adam bought a
gift certificate coupon from restaurant.com, but the restaurant where he tried to use it turned him down: “They informed me that restaurant.com had started selling certificates to their restaurant without the restaurant’s knowledge or approval.” Now he wants to know what to do.
Note: this post is about restaurant.com, not restaurants.com. The two websites are not related. Tracey emailed us today to let us know that she just found a mysterious $14.95 fee on her credit card. It turns out a company called Shopping Essentials is now billing her as a monthly subscriber, and all because she bought some gift certificates via restaurant.com in December. To make matters even more shady, Shopping Essentials never contacted Tracey to let her know she signed up for anything, or to send her information about their services, or to call attention in any way to the fact that she now pays them a monthly fee.
If you’re in the market for 50% off a restaurant gift certificate, consider checking out your local television or radio station. Yes, really. Many stations receive restaurant gift certificates in exchange for air time. They then turn around and sell the certificates to the public at a steep discount. Yeah, it sounds strange to us too, but here’s how it works…