Monday, July 25, 2011

Banging my head against a wall...

Okay so I purchased a gift card from a company as a gift for my dad. As usual, he took a long time to use it. When we went to use it Saturday it wouldn't work, and the phone number on the back was disconnected. That was when we were informed that corporate was out of business and only the franchises were still in existence. So I emailed the company, in hopes that someone was still around to at least find a way to give us our money back somehow...

Now what I've been told in the past is that you tell the company what the problem is, what you'd like to see change, and what you will do if they won't assist you.

Here's what happened. What do YOU make of this? Company names have been changed to protect...well I don't think they're innocent but the franchise owners ARE.

My email to them:

"Several years ago I purchased a gift card on the *company* website for my father. I went to use it with him this weekend and it was not usable. The *company* staff said it shows up unusuable. When I called the number on the back there is a busy signal. I would like either a $35 credit for my local store - I go to *local town's company*, a usable gift card, or I would like my money back. I am a pretty frequent *company* user and I would hate for something like this to affect our business relationship.

Thank you very much

Their email back:

The gift "card" that you are referring to, which was purchased several years ago is no longer valid, usable nor refundable.

The *company* corporate office closed almost 3 years ago and with it went all corporate supported programs. The number on the back of the card does not work because the company that was managing that gift card program stopped when the corporate office closed. There is no way to verify the amount of the card or process it in any way.

The *local town*, nor any other location, for that matter, is obligated to honor the gift certificate as they cannot be reimbursed for it since the owners who closed the corporation did not leave a fund for that purpose. Most kitchens lost thousands of gift card dollar potential and therefore have to make a choice as to whether they want to honor them.

If the card was purchased from a now closed kitchen or through the corporate office, it is not likely to be honored by the kitchen you want to use it in. *company* was never subject to laws regarding expiration dates. If *local store* did not want to honor it, they are within their rights.
As for a $35.00 gift card that is several years old affecting your business relationship with the *local store* kitchen, that is entirely your choice. If they have not served you well over all these years then maybe it is a relationship not worth maintaining. Your business is certainly appreciated. The decisions of a now non-existent corporate office and original owner have affected many owners in devastating ways and have been forced to really tighten their belts and refuse to put money out that they cannot recoup.

Perhaps if you were to use the $35.00 towards a full package order, they would reconsider. Just a suggestion.

*company* Support

While I do feel sympathy, I would think there would be something they can do. I'm not saying the business owners it's not their fault, but the corporation can just walk away from their gift cards?

What do you think?

Disney Dreaming,



  1. Three years is a long time to hold on to a Bennigan's gift card.

  2. Hehehe. Not Bennigan's. Not even the same type of business. My family ALWAYS hold on to gift cards forever. They have some I'm sure are expired. But IL passed a law that certain gift cards can't expire.

  3. huh. what kind of business, besides a restaurant, has a kitchen?

  4. Send me an email - angellam at aol dot com - and I will tell you privately. :)

  5. A lot of companies have gotten really strict about their gift cards over the recent years. It's generally recommended that you use them within a year or you risk running into problems like that. Some of them even have expiration dates now OR start charging you / taking money away for every year that it's not used. I see you mentioned that IL law states some types of gift cards can't expire... I am not familiar with that. Most of the gift cards I've been given or have purchased have some sort of expiration on them these days.

    That said, I think the company's email was pretty snarky! Even if they're out of business and there really isn't anything they can do, geez, how about a little customer service. "Regretfully we are unable to honor it", with a little more apologetic verbage and a lot less snark, would have been perfectly sufficient. I hate when businesses are snarky and that would turn me off most of all.

    However, I do have to say that they probably were a little irked that you threatened to take your business away (even if politely), given that you're complaining about a THREE YEAR OLD card. :P They're probably thinking "yeah, if our business was that important to you, you would have used the card sooner... maybe BEFORE we went out of business!" lol

    As far as whether or not they CAN do this? Well, again, I'm not familiar with IL law... but if they're out of business, they're probably also out of money, and as my mom likes to say, you can't get blood from a turnip. If the franchises are individually owned and there's no more corporate, your only possible recourse is likely with the individual store... and if you guys really don't go there much and are only looking to, basically, recoup the value of the gift card... if they weren't the ones that issued it in the first place, it's kind of hurting the little guy. Me personally as a business owner, if it was within my means to do so, I would want to honor it on good faith. But I understand, especially in these economic times, how it could be hard for them too.

    Also, I too am curious what business it was. Email me! LOL

  6. I will email it to you, and you will totally get it.

    The thing is that while corporate is out of business, the business itself has franchises that we use. Dad kept forgetting the card, but the business isn't gone, just the corporate portion of the business. There are about 10 franchises or more in existence.

    Snarky indeed.

    Thanks for the backup. I'm glad to know it wasn't just me.