PROBLEM SOLVED

I want my stolen $200 gift card back from Amazon. Can you help me?

 

September 7, 2023

Angela Hoo orders a $200 gift card from Amazon, but it's stolen from her doorstep. Amazon offers a refund, but then it refunds the wrong card. How can she fix this?

I ordered a $200 gift card with a Christmas greeting card from Amazon last December. When the box came to the office, the bottom of the box was opened and retaped over the original Amazon tape. I opened the box and the gift card was missing.

I called Amazon customer service immediately and reported the stolen card to a customer representative. The representative told me someone had used the gift card already. He told me Amazon will investigate this situation and that someone would contact me.

I waited 2 weeks and called Amazon again. Another representative told me she would process the refund to my Amazon credit card. But when I checked my Amazon account and my credit card, that representative refunded the wrong gift card, not the stolen one.

I complained again, and another person refunded $200 to my credit card. They refunded $200 on three different gift cards -- one of them even an electronic gift card -- but they were all the wrong ones. Now all three of those gift cards can't be used.

I filed a dispute with my credit card company. My bank said there was nothing they could do if Amazon delivered the package to me. I have all the e-mails from Amazon. They told me they closed the Amazon account of the person who used the stolen gift card, but they will not refund the $200. Please, can you help me get my stolen $200 gift card back?

Angela Hoo, Foster City, Calif.

As a rule, gift cards are like cash, and once they're gone, they're gone. But if Amazon promised to refund your $200, it should keep its promise. And after all you've been through, I'd say you definitely deserve something for your trouble.

As best I can tell, Amazon tried to help you, but it's difficult to know where things went wrong without a paper trail. Most of the communication with Amazon happened by phone, so there's no written record. I would always opt for the online chat option with Amazon and save the conversation for later, in case something happens.

Before I get to the resolution, I hope that after this experience, you'll never order another physical gift card again. Once someone takes a plastic card, it's as good as gone. The electronic version is safer.

If I had to be completely honest, though, I'd advise you to avoid all gift cards if possible. A majority of scams I hear about these days involve a gift card. They are better for the business than they are for you.

But if you've already bought a gift card and are having a problem, you can always escalate your customer service problem to one of the Amazon customer service executives I list on my consumer advocacy site, Elliott.org. And again, I would strongly advise creating a paper trail rather than making calls.

I'm scratching my head over why Amazon tried to refund everything but your stolen gift card. That must have been some misunderstanding!

I can't recall the last time Amazon refunded a lost gift card. But if a representative promised you a refund, it should deliver on that promise. I contacted Amazon on your behalf, and it refunded the correct $200 gift card.

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy (https://elliottadvocacy.org), a nonprofit organization that helps consumers solve their problems. Email him at [email protected] or get help by contacting him at https://elliottadvocacy.org/help/

© 2023 Christopher Elliott

 

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