Not another Amazon gift card problem

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Mar 18, 2015
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#1
Every once in a while I get emailed requests for surveys, not unusual in the medical community. Gift cards are used as incentives to complete these, usually so a corporation can get information they need.

I filled out one which promised a $35 Amazon gift card. A few months later, I'm approached by email to provide contact info to send the gift card. A few days later, an emailed gift card arrives, and I credit it to my account. It posts and I can see the balance.

Later when I try to spend it, I see that the balance has been withheld. I finally have the time to ask about it, and apparently Amazon says the purchaser asked to cancel it (after it was redeemed). Seems a little shady that this is even possible.

My beef is clearly with the fly-by-night "market research" company. I have emailed, but am not optimistic.

But in my mind it also reflects poorly on Amazon. What happened to "treat this gift card like cash"? Now every time I receive an Amazon gift card, am I to assume that it is subject to disappear without notice? Can this happen with individually purchase (i.e. noncorporate) gift cards? Can I give $500 in amazon gift cards for Christmas, only to cancel them, regardless if they had been redeemed or spent, on Jan 1?
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
13,843
13,274
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#2
Amazon has no control over someone who cancels the card - they have to go by what the person who buys the card said. So your issue is with the company that scammed you into doing the survey.

If you don't buy a gift card directly from Amazon - yes you do have to worry about someone having the information and using the balance. We see it frequently when people buy cards off third party discount sites.
 
Mar 18, 2015
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#3
To be clear, this was not a gift card bought off a third party website.

After additional back and forth with Amazon, it appears that the company purchased gift cards (presumably dozens, but it's just a guess), then reported the activity to Amazon as fraud, and had the cards cancelled. They subsequently closed their account.

Again, I agree, my beef is primarily with whatever "company" offered these as compensation. Clearly they knew how easy it was to cancel cards based on Amazon's policies.

Now, Amazon made one customer happy, but now has presumably dozens of unhappy customers who are in the situation I found myself in. Now the only person who wins in this situation is the person who was able to accomplish their "market research" with little more than a Survey Monkey account and a temporary gmail account.

I am mostly just annoyed and second guessing any future Amazon purchases. My last order from Amazon was placed after the funds disappeared, so I knew my credit card was going to be charged. I would have been more annoyed if I used the GC right away and they decided to charge me later for it.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
13,843
13,274
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#4
I understand exactly what you mean. But the company is scamming Amazon too. The have no control to force the company to leave the cards open. I think you should file a complaint with your Attorney General about the company - they are the one scamming you, not Amazon.

This has nothing to do with dealing directly with Amazon yourself. I have dealt with Amazon for years and have never had a problem.

Say you bought a gift card for someone, then got pissed at them and decided to take back your gift. You can call Amazon and do what this company did. Amazon cannot tell someone who bought a gift card they can't cancel it.

Amazons terms state this about gift cards:

There are a variety of Gift Card scams that request payment by Gift Card. Amazon is not responsible for, and assumes no liability to you for, any unlawful conduct or fraud by any third party associated with any Gift Card.
 
Mar 18, 2015
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#5
Amazon cannot tell someone who bought a gift card they can't cancel it.
I would argue they could do exactly that, except in cases of true fraud. Every other gift card I have says "treat this like cash." Once it is gone, it's gone.

Fraud cases can have a provisional hold on funds, but like credit cards, if there is reasonable evidence that the person actually initiated the purchase, then the charge goes through.

I was actually considering going to the AG. Not sure if $35 is worth the effort after spending time with Amazon (and here).
 

Dwayne Coward

Administrator
Staff Member
Director
Apr 13, 2016
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St. Louis
#6
I would argue they could do exactly that, except in cases of true fraud. Every other gift card I have says "treat this like cash." Once it is gone, it's gone.

Fraud cases can have a provisional hold on funds, but like credit cards, if there is reasonable evidence that the person actually initiated the purchase, then the charge goes through.

I was actually considering going to the AG. Not sure if $35 is worth the effort after spending time with Amazon (and here).
Brian, we see all types of cases with Amazon Gift Cards obtained through a third party. More than likely the cards were obtained fraudulently (either knowingly or unknowingly by the company). If the credit card used to purchase them revokes the charge due to a claim of an unauthorized charge, Amazon would have no choice but to revoke the gift card. In any case, since the card wasn't obtained directly from Amazon, then your only recourse is to pursue the individual or company that provided the card.
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Feb 16, 2018
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#7
You can try going to the AG’s office, but there is no victim, you have no loss. You entered into a civil arrangement to fill out the survey ostensibly receiving a “salary”. If the survey company didn’t follow through your complaint is with them. Amazon has nothing to do with this.
 
Last edited:

mmb

Verified Member
Jan 20, 2015
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#8
@BrianCWA - except, Brian. you don’t actually know who paid for the gift cards.
Suppose a marketing company ‘Stole’ financial information from someone else to buy the cards. Then they proceed to use the cards to pay you and others. By the time the theft was discovered by the person/entity whose account paid for the cards, you already had the card in your possession. Of course amazon is going to refund the defrauded person/entity.
Since amazon isn’t going to reveal the names of the persons/company involved, you are just left with an unhappy outcome.