Sunday, November 23, 2008


As some of you may know, I have already vented about frustrating gift cards. However, months later I have still encounted numerous frustrations that I feel I should warn you about.

In July 2007, we were given a very generous gift from some friends, a $50 Vanilla Visa gift card that could be used anywhere. Wow, right? Unfortunately, with all of our other gift cards, we let it go months without use. After the first 6 or 7 months, the $50 started deducting monthly fees. By the time we went to use the card, it had been inactivated and was losing money each month. I went through the trouble of having a new, active card sent to us (for a fee) so we could use the card before it depleted to zero.

We received the new card right before my birthday. On June 30, 2008 I activated the card by calling the phone number on the card. When we tried to pay for my birthday dinner, the card was declined. I figured it needed some extra time to go through their system so shrugged it off. I tried again to use the card months later after activating the card, and still, no use.

Last week, I called the customer service to re-activate the card and inquire about what was going on. I was notified that the remaining balance was $30! After a huge phone tree run-around I was able to talk to a representative who I informed of my difficulties in using the card and my frustration in losing $20 when the card was unable to be used. Finally, she gave us the full $50 on the card and said it could now be used and would accumulate a fee again in December.

This week Abe tried to use the card two times and was again declined! Finally, he called again and was told we had a $30 balance. Abe told how we had just been given the $20 back last week. The rep told him that he saw that but that could only be done once, he could give us $10 was all. After some more talking with the supervisor, we were finally able to get the $50 we had arranged only a week previously and somehow spent the money. We were so glad to be rid of that headache.

Sorry this is such a long story, but it really was. I don't know why the card never worked or why after only a week they decided they wouldn't honor the agreement they had given us. Obviously, they don't have the customer at heart when the customer probably rarely hears back about the problems with this card. My recommendation:

Stay away from Vanilla Visa. They will definately be on our blacklist.


shawn said...

OOOHHH that is really crappy!! I thought that gift cards weren't suppose to have fees any longer.. maybe that was wishful thinking..
I am glad that you got to spend it finally, and that you called and got the full amount.. and kept pushing!!!

Abby said...

What a hassle! Way to fight for your money--I hope you bought something good with it after all that.