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SECOND OPINION - I’m thinking about giving a $10 gift card…

SECOND OPINION -I’m thinking about...
SECOND OPINION -I’m thinking about giving a $10 gift card to my clients (I have a vacation rental business) as a treat, but I know that most of the times the clients don’t really use these cupons or gift cards you give to them. So Id like to know if there’s any gift cards (Starbucks, amazon, Visa, whatever) that I can keep track of the balance and reuse it or get a refund in case the client does not use it. Thanks!
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Answered in 4 days by:
10/29/2017
matt50025002
matt50025002, M.B.A.
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 136
Experience: Through my many years of life and learning, I have become wise beyond my years.
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Well, I understand what you are talking about, it is frustrating when someone doesnt use the gift card you give them. After my research I didnt find any card issued, that you can track and get your money back if not used. This is perhaps a good idea for consumers, if they had this option, but I am not sure the companies giving out the gift cards would like it. They do make lots of money on people that dont use there cards.

However, you could give someone a gift card, and if you know for sure, they are not going to use it, you can claim a lost or stolen card, and possibly get your money back, below is some information on that. Hope this helps.

The Story of a Lost Gift Card

My brother called the other day to complain that he’d lost a gift card. He wanted to know if I had any tricks for getting it back. Like a crime scene investigator, to answer his question, I first needed to understand how he treated the gift card before he lost it. The situation is not good. He allegedly put the now-missing gift card in his pant pocket, but he could have thrown it on the counter next to the mail, or (most likely) he left it inside the greeting card it came in–which he can’t find either. This case is about to go cold.

You’ve heard the saying, “treat gift cards like cash?” Well, it’s true. Had my brother opened a greeting card and found a 20 dollar bill inside, I doubt he would have stuffed the cash into his pocket, tossed it on the counter or left it in the card. He likely would have immediately put the money in his wallet. He should have done the very same thing with his gift card. Since he didn’t, the chances of recovery are slim, but there are a few things I can still suggest.

NOTE: If you bought the gift card from a gift card mall, read this post on how to replace a lost gift card from the grocery store.

How to Get Your Lost Gift Card Back (Or Replaced)

While I cannot guarantee you will be able to get a lost gift card back, you may be able to get it replaced if you have the gift card number, a payment receipt or the activation receipt. Without that information, replacing a lost gift card will be a challenge, but still worth the effort. Below are the steps I would take to try and get a lost gift card back.

1. Find the Gift Card Number

I know what you’re thinking. “Without the gift card, how can I possibly find the gift card number?” Well, having the physical plastic would be the easiest way, of course, but that’s not available. So we have to look at the original purchase for clues. Below are places to look for the missing gift card number:

Check the Activation Receipt. All gift cards must be activated (and funds allocated) at the time of purchase. The system that activates the card will typically record the gift card number, or a portion of it, on an activation receipt. This receipt may be printed on the bottom of the total purchase receipt or it might be a separate piece of paper. Make every effort to find this receipt.

Check the Purchase Receipt. If you can’t find the activation receipt, check for any information you can find on the purchase transaction. At a minimum, you should be able to identify the date, time and dollar amount of the gift card purchased. I’m hoping you’ll also find a portion of the gift card number there as well.

Check Your Email. If you ordered the gift card from a website, then you are in luck. While your email receipt may not have the gift card number on it, a full record of the transaction should be easily accessible online.

Check Your Bank Statement. Check the debit or credit card statement for the payment method used to purchase the gift card. Although the bank statement is not likely to have the gift card number on it, I’m hoping you’ll at least find the date, time and dollar amount of the gift card purchase.

Check for a Partial Redemption. If you used part of the lost gift card at some point, the company may have a record of the purchase which might give you the gift card number used. If you used the gift card online, then the website you ordered from may still have your gift card number in their system (or may auto-fill the number if you return to the same website). It’s a long shot, but something you could try in desperation.

Ask the Giver. If you didn’t purchase the gift card yourself, then you’ll have to contact the person who did in order to get that information. I realize this may be an awkward situation so you’ll have to decide whether or not the effort is worth it. If my mom gave me a card and I lost it, I’d ask her for the card information without hesitation. If an acquaintance gave me the card, then I probably wouldn’t. This one is up to you.

If you find the lost gift card number, then your chances of recovering the associated funds increase significantly. If you can’t find the number, don’t give up. Gather activation, purchase and transaction data instead.

2. Contact the Gift Card Seller (or Reseller)

Once you have the gift card number (or as much information as you can find), call customer service for the merchant that issued the gift card. Be aware that you will likely have to dig in and be prepared for more than a simple phone call. Thieves love gift cards almost as much as they love cash and gift card scams are the modus operandi du jour. So be prepared to prove that you’re one of the good guys.

When you make the call, explain what happened to the gift card and provide whatever information you have. The objective of the phone call is not to “find” the gift card, but to find out if the gift card has been used. If the card hasn’t been used, ask if it can be cancelled and a replacement gift card issued. (You may have to pay a fee to get a replacement card.)

If the card has been used, then it’s not so much “lost” as it might have been stolen. Ask the customer service representative to explain when and where the card got redeemed. In the process, you may sheepishly discover that you’re the one who used it (“Ah…that’s right, we did use the gift card on our summer vacation.”) or you may find clues as to who did. While a merchant certainly has no obligation to replace a stolen gift card, I have heard of it happening, especially if the theft mirrors a bigger fraud issue.

If you purchased the gift card from a gift card mall (meaning somewhere other than directly from the merchant), you might need to talk to both the seller and the reseller because each party only has access to half of the transaction. The gift card reseller (gift card mall) should be able to provide information about the gift card activation (e.g. possibly even provide the gift card number), but they don’t know if the card has been used. Conversely, the merchant can tell you about transactions on the card and the remaining balance, but it can’t tell you information about the original purchase. Since both parties have a vested interest in providing a positive gifting experience, however, I would expect that both would be willing to help resolve the situation.

While the merchant may not be willing to replace a lost gift card without having all of the information, it doesn’t hurt to ask. If your claim is legitimate and you’ve done all the work needed to track down the card number, your efforts might be rewarded.

matt50025002
matt50025002, M.B.A.
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 136
Experience: Through my many years of life and learning, I have become wise beyond my years.
Verified
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