Can you help find my Target gift cards?

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Christopher Elliott

Target promises Soon Chua $60 worth of gift cards, but the money never arrives. What went wrong — and how can he fix it?


I recently purchased three orders from during a promotional period and was supposed to receive three Target gift cards worth $20 each. My .edu email could not receive the gift cards, and I have asked Target to change my email address to Gmail.

Despite numerous calls and chats online, Target refused to change my email address. And during the call, they kept transferring me to one agent after another and had me wait for more than 15 minutes before hanging up on me. I am very frustrated now — $60 is not small money, and they should not take advantage of the customers.

I want Target to either send the gift cards to my other email or send them physically to my home address. I am not sure why they refuse to do this despite numerous requests, which include more than 10 calls and 10 online chats. Can you help me get my $60 worth of gift cards? — Soon Chua, San Francisco


Wow, that’s a lot of work for $60 worth of gift cards. Target should have sent those to your email address immediately without you having to go through that ordeal.

If you didn’t receive the cards, Target should have been able to switch from electronic to plastic and send them to your mailing address.

So what went wrong? It’s not entirely clear. Maybe you had your email security settings turned up too high. Maybe the .edu administrators did something. Then again, maybe Target failed to send you the $60 gift cards.

I list the names, numbers and email addresses of the Target customer service executives on my consumer advocacy site. A brief, polite email to one of them might have helped fix this quickly.

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Where are those Target gift cards?

I like the way you tried to resolve this. You kept every chat transcript with Target and tried to give the company every opportunity to fix this. The Target representatives were cordial, but in the end, they were powerless to find your $60, which it insisted was in your hands.

I’m a frequent critic of gift cards because of the many limits they place on users. When you give a company money for a gift card, it exchanges legal tender for funny money. I’ve seen companies do all kinds of unfortunate things with cards, including confiscating the money without offering any recourse. There’s no substitute for cold, hard cash.

I’m also a little dubious of gift cards sent by email. How does a company like Target even know if you received the card? I wonder how much money has disappeared online, leaving other customers in a similar situation.

I contacted Target on your behalf. After a little back and forth, it agreed to send you physical gift cards worth $60.

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter. He is based in Tokyo.

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