Gift Card Already Used?

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Topic Author
DTalos
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Gift Card Already Used?

Post by DTalos » Sun Nov 17, 2019 12:48 am

5 years ago, I purchased several $50 chain restaurant gift cards. I have been using them with no problems these past several months, until today, when I used a $50 gift card that I discovered had only a $2.97 balance. The card has no dormancy or non use fees and you can't use the gift card online because the restaurant has nothing for sale online. I was stunned, and the cashier re-confirmed the low balance. I used up the balance on that card to purchase my meal.

Could a hacker have used a software program to guess the number on the back and then checked the balance online and then created a card with the number and used it to where it only had $2.97 left?

I no longer have that card, but have the receipt of when I purchased it along with the activation number, the last 4 numbers of the card, and transaction ID. Will contacting the company and reporting what happened help me get my money back or is it a lost cause? Will they be able to track where it was used?

If they say it was used in a state 2000 miles away two years ago, how would I prove wasn't there?

fareastwarriors
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Re: Gift Card Already Used?

Post by fareastwarriors » Sun Nov 17, 2019 1:10 am

I would call the back of the card and see what they say first.

anoop
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Re: Gift Card Already Used?

Post by anoop » Sun Nov 17, 2019 1:21 am

This is something that has always bothered me about giving gift cards. I don't know that there is a fool proof way to get around it.
https://www.consumerreports.org/scams-f ... off-cards/

Arbol
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Re: Gift Card Already Used?

Post by Arbol » Sun Nov 17, 2019 6:57 am

You may want to let this go.

Maybe you made a mistake and used the card previously.

There's no way to track down all the times the card was used. You can't prove you didn't use it.

fru-gal
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Re: Gift Card Already Used?

Post by fru-gal » Sun Nov 17, 2019 7:17 am

Arbol wrote:
Sun Nov 17, 2019 6:57 am
Maybe you made a mistake and used the card previously.
+1

6Pack
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Re: Gift Card Already Used?

Post by 6Pack » Sun Nov 17, 2019 7:31 am

Just a tip of what I do with gift cards to help against this in the future. I put all of my gift cards in a business card book (they fit perfectly) and I use a marker to write the current balance on the front of the card. That way if I use only part of a card, I know exactly how much is left.

As far as the low balance, it’s possible you used it before. If a hacker were going to steal the balance, they’d probably just take the whole thing.

student
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Re: Gift Card Already Used?

Post by student » Sun Nov 17, 2019 7:37 am

Call the back of the card and ask for the history. If it was used at a location near you, then it is probably you have used it. If it was used at a location that you have never been, then you should complain.

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RickBoglehead
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Re: Gift Card Already Used?

Post by RickBoglehead » Sun Nov 17, 2019 7:45 am

Before you got rid of the card would have been the time to lookup or ask about the transaction history.

Gift cards are not credit cards. They have risks. Some gift cards have the ability to register them, which can safeguard them, IF one takes the time to register them.

Holding a gift card for 5 years is quite risky.

Without the full number, you have zero ability to investigate this further.
Avid user of forums on variety of interests-financial, home brewing, F-150, PHEV, home repair, etc. Enjoy learning & passing on knowledge. It's PRINCIPAL, not PRINCIPLE. I ADVISE you to seek ADVICE.

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Watty
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Re: Gift Card Already Used?

Post by Watty » Sun Nov 17, 2019 8:33 am

DTalos wrote:
Sun Nov 17, 2019 12:48 am
I no longer have that card,......
That is pretty much the end of the story, you are out the money.

I agree with the other post that you may have used it instead of one of the other 5 cards that you had for the same restaurant and forgotten about it or gotten them mixed up.

Just FYI, it would not have been problem at a restaurant but people have also had problems with gift cards when they buy something and then need to return it. The problem is that the credit may go back on the gift card but they may have already thrown it away.

Topic Author
DTalos
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Re: Gift Card Already Used?

Post by DTalos » Sun Nov 17, 2019 10:44 am

I have one more $50 gift card to this restaurant that has never been used. If I go to use it and find out there is only $2 and change in it, and have the receipt of purchase where it states $50 was loaded on to it, I am still powerless and I'll be embarrassed because here is nothing the cashier or corporate can do, correct?

Arbol
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Re: Gift Card Already Used?

Post by Arbol » Sun Nov 17, 2019 10:46 am

DTalos wrote:
Sun Nov 17, 2019 10:44 am
I have one more $50 gift card to this restaurant that has never been used. If I go to use it and find out there is only $2 and change in it, and have the receipt of purchase where it states $50 was loaded on to it, I am still powerless and I'll be embarrassed because here is nothing the cashier or corporate can do, correct?
How would you ever prove that you didn't use it?

Topic Author
DTalos
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Re: Gift Card Already Used?

Post by DTalos » Sun Nov 17, 2019 10:47 am

anoop wrote:
Sun Nov 17, 2019 1:21 am
This is something that has always bothered me about giving gift cards. I don't know that there is a fool proof way to get around it.
https://www.consumerreports.org/scams-f ... off-cards/
I think a botnet hack happened on my gift card. I will not buy a gift card ever again.

Topic Author
DTalos
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Re: Gift Card Already Used?

Post by DTalos » Sun Nov 17, 2019 10:48 am

Arbol wrote:
Sun Nov 17, 2019 10:46 am
DTalos wrote:
Sun Nov 17, 2019 10:44 am
I have one more $50 gift card to this restaurant that has never been used. If I go to use it and find out there is only $2 and change in it, and have the receipt of purchase where it states $50 was loaded on to it, I am still powerless and I'll be embarrassed because here is nothing the cashier or corporate can do, correct?
How would you ever prove that you didn't use it?
You are right. I could not prove that I did not use it. If it was used in a state 2000 miles away that I have never set foot in, how would I prove I was never there? Do basically, there is no protection for a consumer, correct?

Arbol
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Re: Gift Card Already Used?

Post by Arbol » Sun Nov 17, 2019 10:52 am

It's more likely that you used the card and forgot. I've done it myself.

It's less likely that you got hacked and the card was used 2000 miles away.

Sometimes, the simplest explanation is the correct explanation.

We all forget things.

Jags4186
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Re: Gift Card Already Used?

Post by Jags4186 » Sun Nov 17, 2019 10:55 am

The card is a $50 restaurant card bought 5 years ago. Possibilities:

1) You used it and forgot
2) A family member used it and didn’t tell you or did tell you and you forgot
3) The card at one point did have inactivity fees
4) Someone hacked you and instead of go after a credit card or bank account decided to go after $47.03 of your Chili’s gift card

I’m betting 1) or 2) or 3)

Topic Author
DTalos
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Re: Gift Card Already Used?

Post by DTalos » Sun Nov 17, 2019 10:59 am

Jags4186 wrote:
Sun Nov 17, 2019 10:55 am
The card is a $50 restaurant card bought 5 years ago. Possibilities:

1) You used it and forgot
2) A family member used it and didn’t tell you or did tell you and you forgot
3) The card at one point did have inactivity fees
4) Someone hacked you and instead of go after a credit card or bank account decided to go after $47.03 of your Chili’s gift card

I’m betting 1) or 2) or 3)

It has been in my drawer of 5 years and never used. Card has no inactivity fees and even if it didn't, there almost a 100% probability the monthly fee would be number that ends in .00 or .50, so no way I would end up with a $2.97 balance.

EHEngineer
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Re: Gift Card Already Used?

Post by EHEngineer » Sun Nov 17, 2019 11:01 am

DTalos wrote:
Sun Nov 17, 2019 10:47 am
anoop wrote:
Sun Nov 17, 2019 1:21 am
This is something that has always bothered me about giving gift cards. I don't know that there is a fool proof way to get around it.
https://www.consumerreports.org/scams-f ... off-cards/
I think a botnet hack happened on my gift card. I will not buy a gift card ever again.
This is the correct answer. And, if anyone give you a gift card, use it up ASAP.

Per Clark Howard there are crime rings that can copy whole batches of gift cards before they are sold. When they are sold and loaded, the criminals use the gift card, and the purchaser/recipient has no recourse.

Never buy or give gift cards.

https://clark.com/story/gift-card-scam- ... eal-money/
Or, you can ... decline to let me, a stranger on the Internet, egg you on to an exercise in time-wasting, and you could say "I'm probably OK and I don't care about it that much." -Nisiprius

Jags4186
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Re: Gift Card Already Used?

Post by Jags4186 » Sun Nov 17, 2019 11:09 am

DTalos wrote:
Sun Nov 17, 2019 10:59 am
Jags4186 wrote:
Sun Nov 17, 2019 10:55 am
The card is a $50 restaurant card bought 5 years ago. Possibilities:

1) You used it and forgot
2) A family member used it and didn’t tell you or did tell you and you forgot
3) The card at one point did have inactivity fees
4) Someone hacked you and instead of go after a credit card or bank account decided to go after $47.03 of your Chili’s gift card

I’m betting 1) or 2) or 3)

It has been in my drawer of 5 years and never used. Card has no inactivity fees and even if it didn't, there almost a 100% probability the monthly fee would be number that ends in .00 or .50, so no way I would end up with a $2.97 balance.
Maybe it hasn’t been in your drawer for 5 years and never used. Maybe the inactivity fee was a percent of the balance. Maybe a child has sticky fingers. Maybe someone copied the gift card and used it elsewhere as you suggest.

Regardless, what is 100% certain is that you have no recourse.

While I don’t have an adversity towards gift cards that some above seem to have, I also don’t buy them and sit on them for years.

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Watty
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Re: Gift Card Already Used?

Post by Watty » Sun Nov 17, 2019 12:51 pm

DTalos wrote:
Sun Nov 17, 2019 10:44 am
I have one more $50 gift card to this restaurant that has never been used. If I go to use it and find out there is only $2 and change in it, and have the receipt of purchase where it states $50 was loaded on to it, I am still powerless and I'll be embarrassed because here is nothing the cashier or corporate can do, correct?
On the back of the card there should be an 800 number or a website where you can check the balance. You may even be able to see a transaction history for that gift card.

michaeljc70
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Re: Gift Card Already Used?

Post by michaeljc70 » Sun Nov 17, 2019 1:42 pm

I use gift cards ASAP due to issues like this. I am not sure where you bought it/got it, but there is a scam where people go to Walgreens (or wherever they sell gift cards) and write down the gift card numbers and pin (putting something back over the pin) and keep checking if it was purchased/activated. This is in the Consumer Reports article referenced above.

As others said, it is unlikely you will be able to recover anything.

I had a $900 gift card emailed to me stolen. Luckily the company replaced it. I think it was on their end (an employee, breach) but they blamed my email for being hacked (possible, but unlikely given no other indications).

testing321
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Re: Gift Card Already Used?

Post by testing321 » Sun Nov 17, 2019 1:44 pm

Some scammers buy these or something similar, scratch off gift cards in the store, take a pic of the code, put these stickers back on, then wait for someone to activate it.

Of course, they would be deterred by this quote on Amazon's site, "for Business Games and learning purposes".

Ron Ronnerson
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Re: Gift Card Already Used?

Post by Ron Ronnerson » Sun Nov 17, 2019 6:14 pm

I try not to hang on to gift cards for too long either. I once had $67 stolen off a Target gift card. The card originally had $100 on it and I had spent $33. The remaining $67 was taken as a “mobile transfer.” I don’t know what that means but I figured the time and effort to try to get the money back wasn’t worth the trouble. I had purchased maybe $10k in gift cards the year that happened (around 6 or 7 years ago). I was often able to get 20-35% in savings back then (through a combination of gas rewards, cash back on the credit card, and grocery store rebates/coupons) by purchasing gift cards instead of using credit cards. While I wasn’t thrilled about losing $67, I’d made far more than that in rewards that I just accepted it. It’s a risk-reward consideration, in my opinion.

I purchased $200 on a restaurant gift card this morning from a grocery store. I first activated a coupon on the grocery store app that offered 15x points for restaurant gift cards. That was on top of the regular points earned for gift card purchases (double points). So, for spending $200, I earned 3400 points. Each 100 points means 10 cents off per gallon of gas. I have a small car and a fill-up is right around 10 gallons for me. So, the points will save me $34 in gas. This basically means that the gift cards are being sold at a 17% discount (would be more if I drove a gas guzzler). Additionally, I used a credit card for the purchase where I’m trying to meet a minimum spending requirement of $3k within 3 months in order to earn a $500 cash back bonus. The money spent this morning will help achieve that goal. $500 cash back for $3k spent is roughly 17% off as well. So, while gift cards are higher risk than just paying for purchases with a credit card, the incentives were high enough in this case for me to feel that the risk was worth taking.

PatrickA5
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Re: Gift Card Already Used?

Post by PatrickA5 » Mon Nov 18, 2019 12:41 pm

I've had this happen a couple of times. The first time was when I bought a card from a Gift Card Reseller Discount site. They warn you to use the card within a certain number of days. I didn't. Lost about $50. Of course with the Discount Reseller sites you KNOW someone else has the code and PIN, so it's not that surprising.

The other time, I had a $15 Ruby Tuesday gift certificate. Someone in a far away state used it. Ruby Tuesday replaced the gift certificate.

j9j
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Re: Gift Card Already Used?

Post by j9j » Mon Nov 18, 2019 12:49 pm

I bought a $100 visa gift card from Staples and sat in my drawer for several months still sealed. When i went to use it showed all but $11 used up. Registering online and looking at the history, it had been used in a different state.

No problem, I thought just call customer service. They would not even speak to me on the card until i faxed information showing i had bought it. I still had the original packaging and Staples receipt so faxed it in promptly. Called few days later, they did not get it. Faxed again, still did not get it. Speaking on them was the worst experience ever.

I am convinced those cards are setup to never provide solutions to scammed balances. Last time I ever bought a card that was not used immediately.

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