I bought $150 worth of gift cards that didn’t work: Roseman
I try to help people recover money from large companies after they have a bad experience with a product or service.
While consumers may not score a full refund, they are usually thrilled to get attention from companies that have been ignoring their requests for compensation.
Here are a few stories of money recovered and satisfaction achieved.
Shoppers Drug Mart
Lillian Dayan bought three Esso gift cards, worth $ 150, which weren’t activated properly at the checkout and didn’t work. The supplier (Imperial Oil) couldn’t make them work, either.
Shoppers Drug Mart said it could not give cash refunds on gift cards. All sales were final. Instead, it could exchange her three Esso gift cards for a $ 150 Shoppers gift card. She could use it to buy merchandise to pay for another Esso gift card.
“How can I be sure the same thing won’t happen again? This error by Shoppers Drug Mart has cost me much time and embarrassment,” Dayan said.
After I contacted Tammy Smitham, a spokeswoman for the retail chain owned by Loblaws, she arranged to send her a $ 150 cheque for the three cards.
Lesson: Hold on to the receipts for all gift cards you buy, and ask the recipients to give the cards back to you if they don’t work. Then ask the store for a refund. Gift card fraud and improper activation are common problems.
Agnes Dravarits bought an Asus mobile phone for $ 300 (including HST) a year ago. When it stopped working, she was told it would cost $ 200 to fix.
“I don’t know how I could have done it,” she said about the damage (involving a bent pin near the slot to insert a SIM card). “I am living on the Ontario disability support plan and I can’t afford the cost.”
Asus spokesman Jason Chennette said the customer was asked to pay for repairs since her phone had passed the one-year warranty mark.
However, after I escalated her complaint, the company’s customer service team decided to make an exception and repair the device free of charge.
Lesson: A new phone should last for more than a year. If a problem occurs soon after the warranty expires, ask for leniency. And if you are financially challenged, make sure to mention that face (and provide supporting documents) in support of your case.
Robynn and Rex Kirkpatrick moved in with their daughter after both were injured and couldn’t work; Robynn shattered her wrist after a fall and Rex broke his heel in a work accident.
Recently, their Ford Escape truck started making a funny noise and stopped working. They had it towed to the nearest Canadian Tire store.
The problem was a seized engine, which was not covered by their extended warranty. They were just over the warranty period.
The repair shop recommended installing a new engine, which would take up to four days and cost $ 3,900. Instead, the job took two weeks and cost $ 4,140.
When Rex went to pick up the truck, it still wasn’t working properly. He was kept waiting a few more days, while feeling the repair shop was treating him discourteously.
Things improved when I contacted Stephanie Nadalin at the chain’s head office. The Kirkpatricks were given a rental truck, along with a trailer hitch to help them move into a new apartment, at no charge.
The truck was fixed properly and the cost was cut back to the original amount quoted. Canadian Tire also threw in a $ 100 gift card for their inconvenience.
Lesson: There is nothing worse than being held hostage by a repair shop. You can’t retrieve your car until it is running properly, often at an extra cost.
“I was walking with crutches, my finances were very tight because I wasn’t working,” Rex said. “I think I was treated the way I was because I was in no position to fight back and make any demands.”
When you complain about poor service, start with the store manager. Then go to the regional manager and head office.
If that doesn’t work, call the Ontario consumer ministry (416-326-8800 or 1-800-889-9768) as well as the checking with Better Business Bureau .
You can also reach out to the mainstream media or use social media such as Facebook and Twitter. They can be effective in helping to gain a company’s attention.
TORONTO STAR | BUSINESS | PERSONAL_FINANCE