I know there are many people out there that are into purchasing discounted retail gift cards to shop with. You are giving up some protections you might have if you used a credit card, but the discounted savings usually outweigh any risks. Well, assuming everything goes smoothly – right?
Late last year I purchased a discounted $200.00 Target gift card through Ebay. This was a brand new physical gift card that would be shipped to me, so I figured the risk was minimal. I had read about fraudulent gift card use at Target – MANY people online complaining the funds were stolen off their gift cards immediately after use. The end result is often unfavorable or the person reporting the problem never comes back to the site to update everyone. As best as I could tell from these posts, getting your stolen gift card funds returned is nearly impossible! Still, what are the odds this would ever happen to me in the first place? Next to nothing I’d guess.
Christmas came and went and after Christmas clearance shopping fired up! My intent for the Target gift card was to flip it back into a third party gift card – I just hadn’t gotten around to doing so. Since I had the gift card and we planned to do some clearance shopping, it only made sense to use the gift card. To make things easier, I loaded the gift card into my app and my husband kept the physical card. We ended up blowing a little over $100 on clearance items and household necessities.
Fast forward to February 15th and a great sale on toilet paper!!! Yes, toilet paper… how exciting. It was a great deal though, so I ordered 96 rolls. 🙂 I had the gift card stored in my account, so it was nice and easy to order the toilet paper. Several days later as I was going over the finances, I noticed a $0.01 charge on the Target credit card. HUH? That made no sense as my entire TP purchase should have been on the gift card. I had other things to worry about, so I just pushed that thought aside for the moment. Later that day we had some time to kill, so we ran into Target to browse. We ended up finding a few things on 90% Valentine’s clearance that we wanted to buy – a whopping $1.28 purchase. I called up my app, but I was unable to locate the gift card. My husband pulled the physical copy out of his wallet, but it kept giving an error that the card was empty. The cashier was going to throw the card away for us, but I asked for it back. SOMETHING was not right!!
I didn’t get around to looking into the transactions until the following day, Sunday. Sure enough, the card had a zero balance on it. I could see my TP purchase on the 15th, along with a $40.00 purchase and a $16.44 purchase. That’s when I picked up the phone to call Target. The first rep I got on the phone barely spoke English and happily declared that, since *I* didn’t spend the money, someone else in my household must have done it. She let it slip that the $16.44 purchase had something to do with a Playstation. That’s when I started laughing… She took that to mean I DID make the purchase. NO… oh no no no no no. Did that not SCREAM fraudulent?!? That rep had to transfer me over to a different section of customer service. I happily ended up with a VERY nice English speaking woman who actually understood what I was telling her. After verifying some information from me, this rep said that it *looked* like the charges were fraudulent but she would have to pass it along to the investigation team for further information. This was absolutely fine with me – they have a job to do and at least someone was looking into the problem now. I still wasn’t holding out *too* much hope this would be an easy fix.
Here we are a few days later and I am happy to report that I heard back from Target yesterday:
WOW!! That was a much easier resolution than I expected. Thank you, Target! Thank you for doing the right thing and returning the stolen money to me. I also received a separate email from the second rep I spoke with, outlining the same information this email stated.
While I am extremely leery of using Target gift cards at Target.com now, I am VERY pleased with how Target handled the situation when I called to discuss the problem with them. My experience goes against all the other experiences I had read about online.
Of course *today* I received a “password reset” email, offering me the opportunity to reset my password to get back into my target.com account. Wonderful. I didn’t request that of course. No clue what they expect to accomplish by getting into my account again. There’s nothing there for them to steal. 🙂