Monday, March 9, 2009

Hold On To Gift Card Receipts

Saving Money Tip #86 - Hold On To Gift Card Receipts. You know when you buy a gift card and the back of the card often says, “No refund if lost or stolen”? Well, guess what? That isn’t always true. Some companies will refund your gift card amount, at least if your gift card is stolen. All it takes is a phone call to the company, along with the receipt in hand that you received when you purchased the gift card. Tell the customer service person that the card was stolen, along with the merchandise number that is on the receipt. The person can check whether the card has been used, and if not, she can deactivate it and send you a new one.

I don’t know if every company will do this, and I’m not sure if they will do it if you are just careless and lose the gift card, but it’s worth a shot to try. Hold on to the gift card receipt, at least until you know the person has used the gift card.

In Real Life (IRL) – We visited my parents and mother-in-law a few weeks ago in Florida and they graciously allowed us to stay in their condos to help us save some money on hotel costs. As a thank you, I bought each of them a gift card to Winn Dixie Supermarket. A week or so after we got home, my mother-in-law called to tell us that her wallet had been stolen. Along with her credit cards and some cash, the gift card that I gave her was taken, too. Fortunately, because I’m not the most organized person, the receipts I received when I bought the gift card were still in my purse.

I knew that Winn Dixie wouldn’t replace the gift card since I always read that gift cards cannot be replaced, but my mother-in-law was hoping the home office could at least alert the local Winn Dixie store that if a person came in to the store using this particular gift card to contact the police. So I called customer service and told the person on the other end of the telephone the story and asked if they could notify the local store. She asked for the number on the receipt and looked it up in their system. “It hasn’t been used yet. We can deactivate it for you. Give me your address and we’ll send you a new one.”

I was so surprised. I truly did not expect that they would replace the card. But about 5 days later, a new Winn Dixie gift card arrived in my mailbox. I was thrilled! I did not even ask for them to replace the card. So, now I am wondering if the stores write, “No refund if lost or stolen” on gift cards to cut down on the number of people calling to ask for a replacement if they lose it. From now on, I will hold on to my gift card receipts just in case something similar happens again. Has anyone else had this experience?

1 comment:

nankie said...

No, hasn't happened to me yet....but I'm so glad your mother-in-law got a new card! What a nice surprise. I guess the motto is it never hurts to ask (and save all receipts! - though I'm like you - they pile up in my purse for months sometimes!)