When you’re sixteen, a $200 gift card from your grandparents is a great Christmas gift, but for one Massachusetts family, it turned out to be a less than great experience when they tried to use it.
”It was actually bought for her because my daughter is a new driver,” says Amy DiPrizio of Billerica. “She has a car and my parents wanted to pay for her gas.”
DiPrizio says there was a problem with her daughter’s card.
“The first time she used it we thought maybe she did something wrong at the pump,” says DiPrizio. “Sometimes they ask for credit or debit and maybe she did it wrong. The second time my husband went with her to give it a try and the same thing happened and it wouldn’t go through.”
DiPrizio says they went to the website listed on the back of the card and checked the balance. It showed the card was activated on Dec. 18 in Billerica and was used on Jan. 4 at a Nordstrom in San Francisco.
She says she called the number on the back of the card and was told to submit a dispute form via email, which she did, but says she never heard back.
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“We were emailing multiple times a day just to get some kind of status on the card,” says DiPrizio. “Then we called the number on the back of the card. When you call the 800 number you have to put the whole gift card number in and when we put the gift card number in a recording came on and said there is something wrong with this card, please contact who gave it to you. It would say goodbye and hang up on us so we couldn’t get through to that company again.”
That’s when DiPrizio reached out to NBC10 Boston Responds for help.
“We were watching the news and said let’s give it a shot,” said DiPrizio. “I actually thought it was a lost cause. And I thought that there was no way we were ever going to get the money back knowing we had tried to contact them so many times.”
We contacted the card distributor, Blackhawk Network, and within hours, the company let us know that it had resolved the matter with DiPrizio and was sending her a new card with a $200 loaded value.
“I got the email saying we had a new $200 card in the mail,” says DiPrizio. “We actually couldn’t believe it!”
A Blackhawk Network spokesperson thanked us for bringing the matter to their attention and said ”although we are unable to provide specific details about our ongoing security and fraud prevention measures or Ms. DiPrizio’s specific experience…. our advice to any cardholder that may have questions, concerns, or suspicions about a card, is that it’s very important to call the customer service number on the back of the card immediately.”
DiPrizio is happy to have her problem resolved, but is left wondering exactly how her daughter’s card was used in California.
“Years ago, they would talk about when you buy a gift card to make sure you bought the ones in the back of the row so they weren’t tampered with,” says DiPrizio. “But this one… didn’t look like it was tampered with at all.”
That is still good advice when you’re buying a gift card. Inspect the gift card packaging. If it looks like it was tampered with, pick a different card. Always save the purchase and activation receipts until the card is redeemed. And use your gift cards sooner, rather than later.
If you have a consumer problem you need help with, reach out to us here https://www.nbcboston.com/consumer-form/ or give us a call at 1-888-521-NEWS. We respond to every call and email!