Hey Target, what’s going on with your gift cards?
I’m asking for customers like Kathie Nguyen. There’s a whole group of them out there, I suspect. I know because I’ve heard from them, and I know you’ve heard from them.
Just a few days ago, you helped me fix Denny Eaplin’s case. He lost $184 when someone managed to redeem his gift-card credit online. After a little nudging by our intrepid advocacy team, you coughed up the $184 and even rounded it up to $200 as an apology.
Apology accepted. But still. We’re seeing way, way too many of these cases.
Something is wrong.
Nguyen says she was drawn to your gift cards after a sale — a 10 percent discount on purchases of Target Gift Cards.
“I purchased the maximum amount of $300 and paid $270 with my existing gift card and chose an eGiftCard delivery method, she says. “I received my eGiftCard within an hour and successfully loaded it onto my Target.com account the next day as funds would be available for use the next day.”
A few days later, when she made a purchase online, she noticed the $300 was gone.
“I called Target to resolve this and I was told to go to the Target store to activate my gift card. I went into the store and they told me the balance on the card is $0,” she recalls.
Nguyen tried to explain her situation to the store manager, but instead of helping, the manager advised her to contact “customer service.” (Funny, I thought managers were supposed to render customer service.)
Finally, Target responded.
“I was told that my gift card was deactivated for promotion abuse,” she says. “I asked her to explain what that meant and the customer service representative informed me that I purchased a gift card with a gift card and that was not allowed.”
Nguyen asked for a refund. You refused, noting that you’d provided adequate disclosure on your website. You termed her purchase of its cards as “abuse.”
“I pleaded for a refund because part of the gift card funds were for my newborn son,” she says.
“After much pleading, I did my own research to find their disclosure on their website. I looked in the Help section, the gift card product page, and [the checkout] page. The disclosure she mentioned is nowhere to be found,” she says.
I looked for the disclosure, too. Couldn’t find it.
“If they did not want to honor their promotion, they should cancel the order and refund me $270,” she says.
There’s more going on here than meets the eye, of course. Target, you’re making big bucks by selling funny money to your customers, and some customers are finding ways to work the system to their advantage.
Funny, isn’t it, that when a company like Target works the system to its benefit, it’s called profit. When customers works the system to its benefit, it’s called abuse. But I digress.
Certainly, if Nguyen had knowingly broken a rule, you could invalidate her purchase. Indeed, should invalidate the purchase.
But keep the money? C’mon, Target.
But we have a whole trove of Target cases that end almost exactly the same way: with people who lose their gift card credit because of something — a glitch, a rule unknowingly violated, a hacker who stole the credit.
Our advocacy team contacted Target and asked for a response on Nguyen’s case. It replaced her card.
Good call, Target.
We also asked for some kind of statement on the disappearing credit problem and what it intends to do about it. So far, it hasn’t responded.
I’ve seen this before. A few years ago, Enterprise was getting an average of one case a day involving questionable damage claims. It took a long while to straighten the mess out.
I think we’re getting enough missing gift card cases to start raising the red flags. Target, do something soon — before this site becomes the unofficial complaints site for people who have been ripped off by your gift cards.
Update: Target has notified us that it has reached out to Nguyen and replaced her gift card.