My niece Edna was graduating from college and so as a gift for her I purchased a $100 Wal-Mart gift card. I knew this was a gift she could immediately use and that, I’m sure, would come in very handy – who couldn’t use an extra hundred dollars in this recession? Besides – she worked hard and deserved it – if I was better off I would have given her more. Well all was fine and dandy and she was very grateful for the Wal-Mart gift card until she called me a few days later to tell me that the card I had given her was no good!
I could not believe what I was hearing. I had bought a brand-new gift card at Wal-Mart for her and I had the receipt and everything for it. This was insulting as it made me feel like a complete douche bag. I called up her local Wal-Mart and asked them why the card was invalid and they said that it was already spent. I asked them how that could be when I just purchased it and told them about the receipt that I had and the date on which I purchased it. They wanted me to come in so they could see the receipt proving that I had purchased the gift card fom them when I said I had.
So I went to the Wal-Mart which is all the way on the other side of town and spoke to the assistant manager and showed her my receipt. She looked up the gift card and stated that it was spent the day before I had purchased it. So I assumed that there was a simple mistake here and that they were going to give me my moneyback as a refund or give me another good gift card that I could give to my niece – wrong! The assistant manager said there was nothing that they could do. So I asked to speak to the store manager. He was of course not in that day.
So I went home and I called the Wal-Mart the next day and set up a time when I could come in and speak to the store manager. Now keep in mind it takes me a good 40 minutes each way to get to this Wal-Mart that’s near my niece. So I went the second time to the Wal-Mart on the other side of town and showed my receipt to the store manager. The store manager was much more helpful than the assistant manager. He stated that there was actually a recent pattern of crime going on where thieves were somehow stealing money off of these gift cards before the actual purchaser or gift recipient could use it. According to him the FBI and local police were currently looking into this matter.
The Wal-Mart store manager looked it up by using my receipt and found that I could not nor could my niece have ever spent this card as it was actually spent before it was even purchased per my receipt. Upon finding this he gave me the choice of either getting another gift card or being refunded the hundred dollars. I chose to be refunded the hundred dollars and to give that to my niece directly rather than the gift card and have this possibly happen again as that would be just entirely too frustrating for her and for me.
My advice here is that until this thievery connection with Wal-Mart gift cards is completely cleared up I would recommend you stay away from Wal-Mart or any other big-box store gift cards where thieves can somehow easily access the monies before you can. I at least got my money back but I had to waste several hours time and probably a good $10-$15 worth of gas to travel across town several times to this Wal-Mart to get this cleared up. I would also recommend Wal-Mart have a little better communication between their managers and their assistant managers as this could have made this process a little easier and required one less day of traveling back and forth to the Wal-Mart for me to get it cleared up. Here’s a link for more information on the Walmart gift card scam.