12 Bad Gift Cards

(WSVN) - Odds are you have gotten a gift card or bought a gift card for someone. And what would you do if you tried to use that card and it showed no money available, that it was not valid? Can you get that money put back on the card? It’s why one South Florida woman called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

Danielle has a big family. A really big, well educated family.

Danielle Louis: “Recently, several graduated from college, FIU and Miami Dade. I’m so proud.”

Danielle Louis
Danielle Louis

So proud that Danielle and a dozen family members pooled their money to buy each graduate a $500 gift card.

Danielle Louis: “There was over $6,000 worth of cards here. We got together and we decided this would be a great way to help give out some type of compensation for them graduating.”

After collecting the money, Danielle went to get the 12 gift cards.

Danielle Louis: “So I purchased some iTunes gift cards from Toys R Us, only because Toys R Us was closest to me at the time.”

Before the cards were given to the 12 graduates, Danielle did one more thing.

Danielle Louis: “I wanted to make sure that they worked, and to my surprise the representative told me the card was not a valid card.”

OK, so they tried the next card, and the next card. None of the cards worked.

Danielle Louis: “So I was immediately shocked because I had just purchased these cards not even an hour ago.”

All 12 cards were invalid, so Danielle went back to the store to get her $6,000 back.

Danielle Louis: “They don’t have a process, is what he told me, to process a refund for these cards.”

Seeing $6,000 disappear was bad.

Then Danielle had to tell 12 college graduates they would not be getting a $500 gift card.

Danielle Louis: “Everybody is heartbroken. Everybody feels taken advantage of because these were great intentions that the whole family came up with.”

Danielle is disappointed, but she is determined and made all her family members a promise.

Danielle Louis: “‘I’m so sorry, family and friends. I promise I’ll make it up to you. As soon as Help Me Howard helps me, I will help you.”

All right, Howard, Danielle has put it in our lap. If the cards are invalid, how do you get your money back?

Howard Finkelstein: “Legally, it might get complicated since it involves two companies, and iTunes and Toys R Us have to figure out how the mistake happened and who is responsible. But for the customer, it is simple. They get their money back, and they get it back from the company they handed the money to: Toys R Us.”

We contacted Toys R Us. They told us 11 of the iTunes cards were valid, but for some reason, the 12th card didn’t match the serial number on the receipt.

When it was tested and turned up invalid, the other 11 cards were canceled.

Toys R Us told us they are what’s called a third-party vendor, meaning they were selling the card for another company. They believe iTunes has to return the money, but a spokesman for Toys R Us said, to get the money to Danielle quicker, they were going to issue a $6,000 refund themselves.

Howard Finkelstein: “When you buy a gift card, make sure the store clerk activates it in front of you, and always keep the receipt. That can help protect you if something goes wrong.”

Danielle is happy and knows 12 grads who will be happy with their $500 gift cards.

Danielle Louis: “It makes me feel proud that they achieved such a high milestone. I’m happy.”

This was actually a simple mistake, but there is also a lot of gift card fraud. So, before you buy a card, make sure it has not been tampered with. For example, crooks peel back the paper covering the card to get the PIN number and then steal your money after you buy the card, so be careful.

A minor problem graduated into a real headache for you? Wanna buy a solution? Gift it to us. We’re free and well worth it.

Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN
On Twitter: @helpmehoward7

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