Gift cards. Either you love them, or you hate them, or both. I’m in the “both” category.
Gift cards make great gifts. Makes sense. Why give someone a Captain and Tennille CD when you can just give them a gift card, and let them pick out the American Idol Season 2 CD that they really want.
I’ve got a couple of problems with gift cards, though, and I’m going to use two specific stores as examples of bad gift card policies.
Best Buy sells a boatload of gift cards. At the moment, I am on hold because of my specific issue with Best Buy gift cards. They will sell you gift cards online all day long. The problem: Best Buy gift cards are not an acceptible form of payment at Best Buy’s online store.
Right now, there is a product at Best Buy that I would like to order (this). It’s $20, and I have a $20 gift card. Unfortunately, the item is not stocked locally, and I’m not driving to Florida to get one.
So, emailed Best Buy from their website. Their unhelpful supposed customer service agent was– big surprise– unhelpful. “Paula” didn’t read my first email, and opted to send me a generic form email that didn’t even come close to addressing my question. I responded that I didn’t appreciate the fact that I waited two days for a waste-of-time form email, and that I would like my question answered.
The question is simple: Can I go to Best Buy with my gift card and order the item directly from them, since gift cards are not valid online. It seems to make sense.
Well, she then actually responded, and she punted. She recommended that I call the store.
I have been on hold now for over 45 minutes to talk to my local Best Buy store!
If this jerk tells me one more time that Best Buy “appreciates my call” and then suggests I will be a “hero” if I purchase Best Buy gift cards for my friends and family so they may “pick out the fun stuff themselves,” I’m going to go insane.
I do take some comfort in knowing that Best Buy’s days are limited. Their service is subpar, their salespeople know very little about salesmanship, their prices are relatively high compared to online resources, and their selection is mediocre at best. Best Buy will go the way of Blockbuster (give it a few years– Blockbuster will be busted).
Note to family members: Please don’t get me Best Buy gift cards anymore. Visa gift cards are much more usable. Thanks
Kohl’s suffers from similar problems as Best Buy, but they compound it to make the process of receiving a Kohl’s gift card even more excrutiating.
First, they charge fees. If you receive a Kohl’s gift card and don’t use it, they dock the card $1.50 a month! What a scam!
We received a $50 gift card several years back. We were never able to use the card, however, because our nearest Kohl’s is over 100 miles away. Kohl’s, of course, did not accept gift cards online up until recently.
I checked their site and it said they now accept gift cards online! Alright, I though– I can finally spend this $50. Well, the $50 gift is now only worth $38.50. Apparently, Kohl’s needed to charge us 23% of the total gift. That’s ridiculous. The gift was $50 and they have been earning interest on the money for two years. Why make the gift recipient pay to loan Kohl’s money? It’s another scam.
So, anyway, I go through their site full of mediocre-quality merchandise, and I find a couple of items I want. I add them to my cart, sign up to be spammed, and proceed to checkout.
But wait!! My gift card doesn’t have a “pin.” That means I can’t use it online.
Kohl’s solution? Well, I emailed them two days ago, and they haven’t responded. Go figure. Their website recommends that I simply take my Kohl’s gift card to my nearest Kohl’s, and they will exchange it for one with a pin.
This is where I would insert the :huh: or the :blink: emoticon. That policy is just idiotic. Congratulations, Kohl’s, you have successfully lost my business for life. I will never shop at Kohl’s, just like I have not shopped at Target for over 5 years. If profit is more important than service, you lose customers. I exemplify this.
I’m still on hold with Best Buy. Over an hour now to get a human on the phone at my local Best Buy. Bad business! Bad, bad business! Once my gift card is used, I will be closing my Best Buy credit card, and recommend that all of my customers wait the extra day to order their computer parts from a reputable merchant like NewEgg. So long, Best Buy!