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No Barnes and Noble gift certificates for me!

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Can you believe this policy?

After 12 months of non-use, a $1.50 per month dormant account fee will be charged except if purchased in California or if prohibited by law.

Let's see...you take a 10 year old's cash and get the use of it for 19 months while her mom decides on a book...and then take it away? Nice lesson for her in corporate greed.

Ok, there are worse offenders out there, but felt so sorry for this little girl who was so proud to have saved for her mom's gift.

post #2 of 15
You would think they'd pay interest! That is appauling. I'm so sorry that happend to your dd
post #3 of 15
most gift cards do charge a penalty for not using the card within a certain time frame. check the back of the card(s) before you buy. gift cards are not valid forever.
i agree it sucks, but b&n is not the only one who utilizes this practice.
did you mean to post a link to a news story or did this happen to you personally?
post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
No, it was an acquaintance dd, but a good warning since I have purchased gift certificates before and not noticed that policy. I will look now!
post #5 of 15
That is a shame. I understand the fiscal sense of it though. They can't have big money in uncashed checks just out there, floating around for years and years. I got really lucky (and had great service) with an old gift card from B&N I had. When I went to use it I had it for so long I didn't recall what it was worth. So one person at customer service scanned it for me. $20... cool, a shopping I go. Half hour later when I get up front their computers have crashed. The clerk took my word for it that it was a $20 card. I had exactly $20 worth of books so I wanted to pay a dollar or so in cash for the tax. He said.. No, since we can't charge you the correct tax without the computer, just don't worry about it. Would NOT take the money.
post #6 of 15
I have heard from a reliable source that this practice is illegal. I know that many stores state that this is their policy. I haven't looked into it myself, so I don't want to say for sure, but it's worth looking into. If I find any concrete info, I'll post it.
post #7 of 15
Oh super.... If it IS illegal there will be a class action. The law firm will get millions, book prices will go up and we will all be sent a coupon for $0.87 off our next B&N purchase.
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
Yes, it would be stupid to have to drag this through the courts to make the change...I just don't know why you would want to do such a bad PR move if it is illegal (I think it even says that on websites...where legal) in some states....once one state outlaws it, why continue the practice for such a small amount of money? Does it really take 1.50 worth of bookeeping a money to note that we have X$$ outstanding in gift certificates? For me it is a lesson to check the fine print before buying, but I think a vendor has the question to ask themselves about sales of these certificates to those that are likely not as easily able to inform themselves, like a child as a gift to a parent, that maybe it is really bad PR all around.
post #9 of 15
That's not at all what I had in mind, but since you mention it, there already IS a lawsuit filed against B&N and other retailers for just this reason.
I also found that no federal law covers gift cards specifically.
post #10 of 15
Deb... I dunno. Suppose you are big company like B&N... you sell a truck load of these things every year. You know, from market research, etc that x% will be redeemed within a month. y% in 2-12 months and z% longer than that or never. (Lost, thrown away, whatever..) You have to keep carrying that $ amount over year after year. The amount of money you have outstanding on the books could become quite impressive in say, 10 years. So I suppose at some point they just use those research numbers to write off the 'debt'. BUT! Suppose by some fluke one year an unprecedented number of the very old, already written off cards comes back... it could be a financial nightmare!

Not that I am saying it's okay... just looking at it from all sides. It seems to me that this is the bed retailers have made for themselves, now they must lie in it. Old fashioned actual 'gift certificates' printed on paper generally had an expiration date but it was written clearly on the front of the thing so the holder KNEW when it went poof. And it wasn't pro-rated per month either. One day it's as good as a twenty dollar bill.. the next it's TP. But everyone understood. For some reason (and if anyone knows, tell me!) all the large retailers have gone to those twee little cards that look like credit cards. Well, apparently they have expiration dates too.. but it is a well kept secret from the person holding it! Not cool.
post #11 of 15
I cant believe that a person wouldnt use a gift certificate up rather soon after having recieved it. Unless of course a person forgot.

I so love to read that I would use it up pretty fast. I dont buy books normally because of the $$ but if its given to me I dont have any problem spending it.
post #12 of 15
as a former Borders employee, I can attest to the vast numbers of people who receive gift certificates or cards and then bring them in 1-2 years later. in 1999, I had people bring me gift certificates from 1996 and 1997. it was ridiculous. I can't believe anyone can keep track of a piece of paper for that long. In my house it would have been eaten by the dog or lost in the junk drawer after 6 weeks.
post #13 of 15
I will tell you my little tale. The Christmas after Bonnie was born someone in my family gave me a B&N card for 20. Super! We left CA a week later, moving to HI. But the card was safe and sound in my wallet. Sometimes, when you move, details get lost in the shuffle. Forgot about the card for a while. Found it in a wallet purge. Asked around... was told B&N isn't in HI. Damn. Went to CA to visit. Hectic, crazed... didn't book shop. Blah, Blah, Blah... Finally discover a B&N way on the other side of the island. Almost two years after the gift I used the card.
post #14 of 15
Originally posted by momto l&a
I cant believe that a person wouldnt use a gift certificate up rather soon after having recieved it. Unless of course a person forgot.
Almost always when I get a gift certificate, it is to a chain store. I don't go to them. I therefore have to make a point of going to one ( A B&N, an Old Navy, etc. etc. ) and then get annoyed at all the blatant marketing and then try to find something made in a country with decent labor laws and, generally, just get pissed off and LEAVE. So, I often have gift certificates that don't get used for a long time. Every now and then, some one gives me one to a store I actually shop at.
post #15 of 15
Thank you for posting it and letting us know. I had no idea giftcards did that. I have several that I have not used and it's been months.
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