I want my stolen $200 gift card back from Amazon. Can you help me?

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By Christopher Elliott

Angela Hoo orders a $200 gift card from Amazon, but it’s stolen from her doorstep. Amazon offers a refund, but then it refunds the wrong card. How can she fix this?

Question

I ordered a $200 gift card with a Christmas greeting card from Amazon last December. When the box came to the office, the bottom of the box was opened and retaped over the original Amazon tape. I opened the box and the gift card was missing.   

I called Amazon customer service immediately and reported the stolen card to a customer representative. The representative told me someone had used the gift card already. He told me Amazon will investigate this situation and that someone would contact me.  

I waited 2 weeks and called Amazon again. Another representative told me she would process the refund to my Amazon credit card. But when I checked my Amazon account and my credit card, that representative refunded the wrong gift card, not the stolen one.  

I complained again, and another person refunded $200 to my credit card. They refunded $200 on three different gift cards — one of them even an electronic gift card — but they were all the wrong ones. Now all three of those gift cards can’t be used.  

I filed a dispute with my credit card company. My bank said there was nothing they could do if Amazon delivered the package to me. I have all the e-mails from Amazon. They told me they closed the Amazon account of the person who used the stolen gift card, but they will not refund the $200. Please, can you help me get my stolen $200 gift card back? — Angela Hoo, Foster City, Calif.

Answer

As a rule, gift cards are like cash, and once they’re gone, they’re gone. But if Amazon promised to refund your $200, it should keep its promise. And after all you’ve been through, I’d say you definitely deserve something for your trouble.

As best I can tell, Amazon tried to help you, but it’s difficult to know where things went wrong without a paper trail. Most of the communication with Amazon happened by phone, so there’s no written record. I would always opt for the online chat option with Amazon and save the conversation for later, in case something happens. (Related: Amazon lost return: What happened to my surge protector?)

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Before I get to the resolution, I hope that after this experience, you’ll never order another physical gift card again. Once someone takes a plastic card, it’s as good as gone. The electronic version is safer. (Related: My steam mop broke! Amazon won’t clean up this mess — and now there’s a restocking fee.)

If I had to be completely honest, though, I’d advise you to avoid all gift cards if possible. A majority of scams I hear about these days involve a gift card. They are better for the business than they are for you

But if you’ve already bought a gift card and are having a problem, you can always escalate your customer service problem to one of the Amazon customer service executives I list on my consumer advocacy site, Elliott.org. And again, I would strongly advise creating a paper trail rather than making calls.

I’m scratching my head over why Amazon tried to refund everything but your stolen gift card. That must have been some misunderstanding! 

I can’t recall the last time Amazon refunded a lost gift card. But if a representative promised you a refund, it should deliver on that promise. You reached out to my advocacy team for help. I contacted Amazon on your behalf, and it refunded the correct $200 gift card. 

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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 X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter. He is based in Panamá City.

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