December 27, 2006

The Gift That Won't Give

Without revealing the dollar amount I received in the form of a Christmas bonus this year, I'll simply say it was a nice chunk of change. Okay, it didn't come in the form of a chunk of change, which would be unweildy and inconvenient. Rather, it came in the form of a Wells Fargo gift card.

We received similar gift cards last year, by and large they worked pretty well. Oh, sure, there were some retailers that had trouble processing the card, but for the most part it worked just fine, until I got down to a 38 cent balance, at which point the card was basically useless.

Well, this year's gift card was pretty much spent, at least mentally, before I even had it in hand. This being the Holiday season, I had my Christmas bonus largely earmarked for gift purchasing.

Now, the primary purchase I had slated for the gift card was a stationary exercise cycle for my girlfriend. It is not a particularly cheap item, so we waited until after Christmas to buy it, as it went on sale for two short days.

On the first short day, I went to Sears to purchase the exercise cycle using my gift card. And things seemed to be going quite well at first. The current model of monetary exchange for goods and services was clicking along as expected.

Then, just as I was about to sign the receipt for $427, my girlfriend noticed a coupon for $5 off. Now, this being a large purchase, $5 didn't strike me as being much of a discount, but whenever my girlfriend gets it in her head that she can save money on something, she's kind of tenacious. Still, I hesitated.

I hesitated because I knew that, in order to get that $5 discount, the Sears salesperson would have to reverse the previous sale, and then re-ring the sale at $422. It was the reversal of the previous sale that had me worried. My experience with the gift card from last year told me that--while gift cards are great for deducting money--they tend to hiccup when it comes to putting money BACK IN. I'm not sure what the reason is for this deficiency, but it can be a most irritating drawback.

So, even though the reversal showed as successful on Sears' end, I had dark suspicions that I was still down $427 in my gift card balance. Sure enough, when the Sears salesperson tried to ring up the exercise cycle again, the message that came back indicated insufficient funds. So, we left without the exercise bike, hoping that the reversal would just take some time to take effect and that we'd be back to try again the next day.

Well, here it is the next day, and my balance is still down $427, and I'm starting to get a little nervous here.

Posted by Ryan at December 27, 2006 02:30 PM | TrackBack

Sorry, but you're hosed. I had a similar thing happen on a Visa credit card gift card thingy. I bought something at Best Buy, then found it cheaper at Target so I took back my something to Best Buy and returned it. The money was supposed to go back on the card, but never did. I eventually went and argued the fuck out of a BB manager and they gave me a gift card to their establishment for the value of the "lost" money. It was frustrating as hell.

Good luck.

Posted by: Rick at December 27, 2006 03:28 PM
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