5 On Your Side

Gift Card Hassle Leads Woman To Five On Your Side

Posted February 18, 2005

— Gift cards are given as gifts and as compensation. They are like a credit card in that purchases can be tracked, but they are like cash in that anyone can use them. You do not need an ID, and there is no protection if one is lost or stolen, even if it is delivered to the wrong address as one woman found out.

Marcia and Ed Fontaine moved into a brand-new house last September. When Sears delivered her new refrigerator, the deliveryman noticed a small dent in a door.

"I was just going to let it go, and he goes, 'No, you're crazy,'" Marcia said.

Fontaine said the deliveryman immediately called Sears' customer service department, which offered her a $150 gift card. They told her she would get it within 10 days.

When she did not receive it, Fontaine called Sears. After about two months, a Sears representative told her someone else cashed the card.

"He told me who the girl was that cashed it, where she lived, what store it was cashed at and what she bought with it," Marcia said.

However, Sears would not replace the card.

"I was like, 'This is not right. This is just not right,'" she said.

Fontaine called Five on Your Side, who contacted Sears. The company went above and beyond and overnighted Fontaine a $200 gift card. The representative told Five on Your Side someone should have called Fontaine within five days to make sure she received the card.

A Sears representative said the information about the person who supposedly spent the gift card should not have been shared with Fontaine. She said Sears handles issues like this directly with local law enforcement. As for gift cards, Sears is adding a PIN to them in the spring, which should help eliminate some fraud.

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