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Amazon revoked my gift card and won't refund it. What can I do?

Feb 14, 2020
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In the end of november, I bought a physical Amazon gift card of $300 at Stop&Shop. When I tried to pass the order, (about $300 of household items, not even electronics) the order was cancelled and my account was closed for verification. When I changed the password and logged in my account, the gift card was revoked.

For the next month, I called almost twice a week, asking for an update on my gift card. Everytime they say that they are going to investigate with the gift card department. I sent them multiple times pictures of the receipt and the physical gift card, but never got a reply back. After a month of trying, they just keep closing my account and asking me to change the password everytime I call the customer support.

The last message I got was this:

"I've researched your Store Bought Amazon Gift Card and found that it may have been used by someone other than the intended recipient. I'm not able to resend the gift card or refund the order.

Under these circumstances, if the gift card was purchased using a credit/debit card, we suggest that the purchaser contact their bank to see what options they may have available.

We apologize for asking you to take these extra steps. But we at Amazon sincerely hope that this information helps you in receiving a reimbursement. I hope this helps and if there's anything else apart from this wherein you need any further assistance, please do reply to this email or don't hesitate to contact us by visiting the contact page below and give us a call, chat in, or write to us so we can help you right away.

Under these circumstances, if the gift card was purchased using a credit/debit card, we suggest that the purchaser contact their bank to see what options they may have available.

We apologize for asking you to take these extra steps. But we at Amazon sincerely hope that this information helps you in receiving a reimbursement. I hope this helps and if there's anything else apart from this wherein you need any further assistance, please do reply to this email or don't hesitate to contact us by visiting the contact page below and give us a call, chat in, or write to us so we can help you right away."


Right after that message, my account was blocked again.

What can I do at this point? This is not just about the money. I don't understand how a company can do this to their customers and get away with it.
"
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
You will need to self advocate this with this post we have:


Amazon doesn't respond to our inquiries about gift card issues - if you review our page for online retailers, you will see the many complaints for the same issue.

It sounds like perhaps someone had the code to the card and waited for you to activate it. Did the scratch off piece of the card look like it was replaced?
 
Sep 19, 2015
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Samsam as Neil said it sounds as if someone cloned the gift card and once it was activated someone used it before you did.

Do you still have the receipt? Can you go back to the seller.
 
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BittyBoo

Jul 30, 2018
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It sounds like the gift card you purchased was compromised: someone takes the card from the kiosk in the store and copies the number using a bar code reader. Additionally, this person then scratches off the pin and records it. The scratch-off strip is then replaced. The perpetrator puts back the card on the rack to be sold. Then this person proceeds to monitor the gift card balance until it becomes activated and then the number and pin is either sold or programmed into a card in their possession. All of this takes place before you even have a chance to load the balance onto your Amazon account.

If you have the receipt you should speak with the manager at the store where you purchased the gift card from to inquire about a possible refund.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
9,026
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San Francisco
It sounds like the gift card you purchased was compromised: someone takes the card from the kiosk in the store and copies the number using a bar code reader. Additionally, this person then scratches off the pin and records it. The scratch-off strip is then replaced. The perpetrator puts back the card on the rack to be sold. Then this person proceeds to monitor the gift card balance until it becomes activated and then the number and pin is either sold or programmed into a card in their possession. All of this takes place before you even have a chance to load the balance onto your Amazon account.

If you have the receipt you should speak with the manager at the store where you purchased the gift card from to inquire about a possible refund.
Thank you, Bittyboo, for this excellent explanation. Those of us who don't use gift cards really didn't understand how this fraud works. It would seem to me that customers need to go back to the store from which they purchased the gift card and ask for help. Insist on help. I don't understand how Amazon can "get away with it" either, but they do and we get multiple posts a month about gift cards. Perhaps if the retailers who sell the gift cards would work with Amazon, the end user might be helped. There obviously needs to be a more secure place to sell them than on a rack in the store's aisles ... open to anyone, any time. A normal consumer who doesn't have a credit card to buy from Amazon can't possibly know how often those gift cards are stripped of their value ... and how little help there is for them. It's really a horrible situation.
 
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mmb

Verified Member
Jan 20, 2015
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Thank you, Bittyboo, for this excellent explanation. Those of us who don't use gift cards really didn't understand how this fraud works. It would seem to me that customers need to go back to the store from which they purchased the gift card and ask for help. Insist on help. I don't understand how Amazon can "get away with it" either, but they do and we get multiple posts a month about gift cards. Perhaps if the retailers who sell the gift cards would work with Amazon, the end user might be helped. There obviously needs to be a more secure place to sell them than on a rack in the store's aisles ... open to anyone, any time. A normal consumer who doesn't have a credit card to buy from Amazon can't possibly know how often those gift cards are stripped of their value ... and how little help there is for them. It's really a horrible situation.
Sounds to me like Amazon reaps the benefit of the purchased cards and then tries to pass off the liability for fraud on the card to the credit card company.
THIS IS NOT RIGHT.
 
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Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
21,047
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New York
www.promalvacations.com
Sounds to me like Amazon reaps the benefit of the purchased cards and then tries to pass off the liability for fraud on the card to the credit card company.
THIS IS NOT RIGHT.
The liability for the fraud is at the store level if someone is getting those cards and doing this. Our OP needs to go back to the store he or she purchased from. It might be a good idea to report it to the local police. If this has been happening to others that buy at the same store - the police should know about a problem at the store. I would also take it to Stop and Shop's Corporate offices as well.
 
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mmb

Verified Member
Jan 20, 2015
1,206
1,326
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The liability for the fraud is at the store level if someone is getting those cards and doing this. Our OP needs to go back to the store he or she purchased from. It might be a good idea to report it to the local police. If this has been happening to others that buy at the same store - the police should know about a problem at the store. I would also take it to Stop and Shop's Corporate offices as well.
I do not necessarily agree.
if the cards are not packaged to be safeguarded against these types of fraud, that is on Amazon. To just put a little tape over some PIN and then put them on a rack is apparently not safe, and yet they continue to do this. They’ve got their money, so who cares ?
What would you do if you were Amazon ?
amazon suggested OP contact the bank for the credit card used, not the store.
 
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Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
21,047
20,864
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
I do not necessarily agree.
if the cards are not packaged to be safeguarded against these types of fraud, that is on Amazon. To just put a little tape over some PIN and then put them on a rack is apparently not safe, and yet they continue to do this. They’ve got their money, so who cares ?
What would you do if you were Amazon ?
amazon suggested OP contact the bank for the credit card used, not the store.
Did the OP use a credit card to purchase? The email says “IF” a credit or debit card was used. If you have a credit card, why would you need to buy an Amazon gift card to buy something from Amazon? Just use your credit card.

Where I live, the police have come to our community and spoken at our Homeowners Association meeting about scam targeting seniors who get calls saying that there is a problem with their social security account and asking them to send Amazon gift cards to clear up the matter. And they spoke also about the “grandson is in jail and needs gift cards for bail” scam.

This is how so much fraud is happening with these cards. It would seem that once there are reported to the policeas long as receipts provided, they can notify Amazon which cards are compromised.

To our OP- how did you pay for the cards you purchased?
 
Feb 14, 2020
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Did the OP use a credit card to purchase? The email says “IF” a credit or debit card was used. If you have a credit card, why would you need to buy an Amazon gift card to buy something from Amazon? Just use your credit card.

Where I live, the police have come to our community and spoken at our Homeowners Association meeting about scam targeting seniors who get calls saying that there is a problem with their social security account and asking them to send Amazon gift cards to clear up the matter. And they spoke also about the “grandson is in jail and needs gift cards for bail” scam.

This is how so much fraud is happening with these cards. It would seem that once there are reported to the policeas long as receipts provided, they can notify Amazon which cards are compromised.

To our OP- how did you pay for the cards you purchased?

The card was paid with cash.

Also, I do not believe it is because someone used the card before me. I added the balance of the card, and I did my purchase a week later. Also, every order I tried to do aftewards was cancelled and they blocked my account. I think it is only Amazon security system's fault.
 

mmb

Verified Member
Jan 20, 2015
1,206
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Gift card balance theft isn't just an Amazon issue, any brand of card sold on a retail shelf is vulnerable to this type of theft.
Right - so when are they going to stop blaming the consumer and fix the problem.
And Oh, look at their response. Go have your bank figure this out.
they don’t even have to lift a finger beyond saying ‘ Hmmm...looks like someone else spent those dollars you though were yours.’
Not acceptable to me, but then I don’t buy Gift Cards.
 
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Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
21,047
20,864
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
The card was paid with cash.

Also, I do not believe it is because someone used the card before me. I added the balance of the card, and I did my purchase a week later. Also, every order I tried to do aftewards was cancelled and they blocked my account. I think it is only Amazon security system's fault.
The way the scammers work is they hope you don’t use the card right away. They wait for you to activate the card and they immediately spend it down after you activate it.

This article might help you understand how this theft of the gift card happens.

 
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BittyBoo

Jul 30, 2018
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Right - so when are they going to stop blaming the consumer and fix the problem.
Good question! My guess is the only way retailers will do anything to protect consumers from gift card balance theft is if they are compelled to do so via legislation. That is why its important for anyone who is victimized in losing a gift card balance to theft to file a police report, not with the idea that the authorities will investigate their individual case but because it adds another data point to their crime statistics. Many local jurisdictions often make public warnings when a crime becomes rampant in the community. Last holiday season the county police of my community made a public warning about gift card balance thefts.
 
Feb 14, 2020
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The way the scammers work is they hope you don’t use the card right away. They wait for you to activate the card and they immediately spend it down after you activate it.

This article might help you understand how this theft of the gift card happens.

That's what I explained. I activated the card and did the purchase a week after. And the gift card was revoked at the moment I did my purchase.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
9,026
9,697
113
San Francisco
That's what I explained. I activated the card and did the purchase a week after. And the gift card was revoked at the moment I did my purchase.
Well, isn't this exactly what my colleagues have described as the problem? The card was activated and during the week before you made the purchase, the bad guys took all your money. The card would just quietly sit there after activation and after someone emptied it ... until you tried to make a purchase a week later.
 

BittyBoo

Jul 30, 2018
299
772
93
48
Well, isn't this exactly what my colleagues have described as the problem? The card was activated and during the week before you made the purchase, the bad guys took all your money. The card would just quietly sit there after activation and after someone emptied it ... until you tried to make a purchase a week later.
Exactly! Just because you loaded the card onto your account doesn't mean the funds are "secured". It didn't become a problem until the moment you make a purchase and the funds were actually deducted from the balance, but by then they were already drained.

All we can do on this forum is advise the OP to write our company contacts. Amazon has never responded to any advocacy efforts regarding gift card issues.
 
Apr 10, 2017
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Right - so when are they going to stop blaming the consumer and fix the problem.
And Oh, look at their response. Go have your bank figure this out.
they don’t even have to lift a finger beyond saying ‘ Hmmm...looks like someone else spent those dollars you though were yours.’
Not acceptable to me, but then I don’t buy Gift Cards.
I just read the Consumer Reports article mentioned in another post in this thread which offers some really good tips. The easiest protection is don't buy gift cards. The few times that I have bought Amazon gift cards to use as gifts, I purchased online and either had them sent to an email address or snail mailed to the recipient. I do not consider taking precautions as blaming the consumer. Whether it's protecting your checkbook (for those that still have one), your credit and debits cards, or your car keys, crooks are out there. They are smart and resourceful and you have to be vigilant.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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That's what I explained. I activated the card and did the purchase a week after. And the gift card was revoked at the moment I did my purchase.
Have you taken the receipt and returned to the retailer with the evidence that the card was drained before you used it? It may be helpful to have a police report -- not that the police will do anything about it, but it is the point of making an official report that may help your case with the seller of the card.