WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

Issues with certificates

Posted September 3, 2010

As many of you know, offers restaurant gift certificates for a fraction of the cost of the certificates. You can often buy $25 certificates for $3 - $5 using coupon codes.

In the last 2 weeks, I have been contacted by two Smart Shopper readers with complaints about redemption of their certificates. In both cases, the individuals were told that they could not use the certificates they purchased for the restaurants. Then today, I was redeeming a Groupon at Two Guys pizza in Raleigh and noticed a sign on their door that said they are no longer accepting certificates, either. I asked the employees why they were not taking them and one replied that they had tried to remove their listing from for months, but they would not take them off the site. Instead they are offering a free appetizer.

Here is some information on the other 2 restaurants that are no longer accepting the coupons:

Amedeo's North in Raleigh: They are taking off $10 from your total bill since that is the original price of the certificate. The employee said they are no longer accepting the certificates because of duplication and fraud issues from someone who made fake certificates. The restaurant is supposed to call when the certificate is presented to make sure it is valid, but it seems that system did not work for Amedeo's.

Little Italy in Burlington, NC is not accepting them at all. No manager was available to discuss the issue when I called.

I spoke with and they assured me that if a restaurant refuses to take a certificate that they will allow you to choose another certificate from a different restaurant to replace the first. Jack, the reader who called about Little Italy, told me that they also gave him an extra certificate in addition to the replacement certificate. Danielle, who called about Amedeo's confirmed that gave her a $25 credit and that they were very courteous and friendly. In the end, I don't recommend you buy certificates for these 3 restaurants because they will not be honored.

I have used for many years with no issues. My suggestion is that if you want to buy a certificate, call the restaurant first to make sure they are still taking them. Confirm again, once you get to the restaurant, that they are still accepting the certificates so you don't have any surprises after your meal is already eaten. As part of the rules, customers are supposed to present the certificate when you are seated but I suggest you ask the waitress when you first arrive at the restaurant to make sure they still honor the certificates.

If you have an issue with a certificate,  feel free to post here or send me an e-mail to let me know how resolved the issue.  My thanks to Danielle and Jack for bringing this to our attention and helping other Smart Shopper readers avoid purchasing unusable certificates to these restaurants.


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  • whe343 Aug 10, 3:32 p.m.

    Restaurants The District and Thaiphoon have also been affected by the scam and do not accept them.

    This is a biased article. WRAL is sponsored by and hosts ads by them. When the author said "I use them and have never had a problem" it was biased and misleading.

  • Faye Prosser - Smart Shopper Sep 6, 2010

    Thanks for the info, Journey. From what told me, sometimes restaurants are still under contract and try to get out of the contracts before term because they find they are loosing too much money. She did say they will litigate if the companies won't accept their certificates during the contract period. The restaurants get a very small % of the already low selling price of these certificates and some are finding that it is not worth it to continue with On the other hand, some of the listed restaurants have been with them for many years, including Tir Na Nog in Raleigh. They must be pleased with the arrangement to be with them for so long.

  • Journey985 Sep 6, 2010

    Yes faye, I know the owners of Iciban Connie and Singh, they are no longer accepting the certificates, they sent out an email to people that have provided them with email addresses, instead they are offering their own discounts. I did however check this week and found them once again still listed on there? Perhaps what the other restuants say about trying to get off the site is true?

  • Faye Prosser - Smart Shopper Sep 5, 2010

    I don't blame you, KLW. I have never heard of this many problems with Not sure what is going on with the contracts but there are a number of stores who seem to be very unhappy with the program from their end. I guess that not only do we need to make sure the store is taking the GC's but we also need to check with the store when we get there to confirm the GC is valid.

  • KLW Sep 5, 2010

    We also had that problem with Amedeos and got the $10 off. We tried to use one at Trali Irish Pub and were told that it was invalid when they called, and we had just purchased it that day or the day before! I contacted when we got home and they gave us a credit for the amount of that certificate plus another credit for our trouble. But now we're just a little leery about using them.

  • Faye Prosser - Smart Shopper Sep 5, 2010

    Good to know about Ichiban, aurumn nut. We used a certificate there many months ago and the food and service were both very good.

  • Faye Prosser - Smart Shopper Sep 5, 2010

    Sonia, there is almost always a code available ranging from 50% to 90% off. Google " code" to see current codes one any given date.

    The valid code right now is for 70% off. The code is SAVORY and you need to enter the code at checkout and hit apply. This makes the $25 certificates $3. Offer ends Tuesday, September 7, 2010.

    If you sign up with, they will e-mail new codes to you. I received the 70% code in my e-mail yesterday.

    Hope that helps!

  • bluesax200 Sep 4, 2010

    most of the time they come out at the end of the month as is trying to get rid of them. check either or as they usually have them posted.

  • fedupteacher Sep 4, 2010

    I remember seeing a post a while back with codes for discounts at Are there any promo codes available now?

  • autumn_nut Sep 4, 2010

    Ichiban Japanese Restaurant in Apex has a sign posted that they no longer accept the gift certificates.