Gift Card Scam

My Grandmother gave me one of these for Christmas

What a scam! You can use the card like a Visa card but of course you can’t get every last penny off the card unless you purchase something of the exact value. If you wanted to turn the money back into cash you’d put the card in an ATM machine and you are going to get charged again. Just to find out how much she put on the card I called their 800 number and they charged me $0.50!!! (n)

On top of which she was told I could use this in Japan. What they didn’t tell her was that it would cost me to make the call to America to turn it on.

They have a webpage to turn them on. Unfortunately they require your e-mail address so they can spam you with ads. AND the web form doesn’t work or at least did not work for me. Calling their number didn’t lead me to an activation option so I had to talk to representative for which including holding took 10 minutes (ie about $3) and I was told “you will be charged a fee for using these services”. When I told the guy it was costing me money to make the call he offered to call me back in Japan, of course he didn’t call back, probably because he didn’t know how to call Japan. So, I had to call again taking another 10 minutes (another $3)

I thought the AAA was supposed to be like customer owned. Why are they screwing people out of money? Void this scam like the plague!

  • ota

    What is the AAA ?

  • veg

    This is the same Grandmother you bought a PC for? Let’s hope she doesn’t this page and you whinging about her gift.

    ´╝×What is the AAA ?

    What is google?

  • The AAA

    Is an Automobile Club.  I have no idea what it acutally stands for American Automobile Association?  I think it is most famous for towing.  You sign up and if your car breaks you call them and they come out and either fix your car on the stop or tow it to the nearest AAA approved car mechanic.

    Assuming that’s how they started they then started adding services.  Car Insurance, Car Loans, Travel Discounts, and on and on.

    And, I’m not whining about her gift. I’m whining that SHE GOT RIPPED OFF.  She wanted to give me money for Christmas and some AAA yokel convinced her to do it by buying one of these cards, for which she basically got ripped off $10 after all is said and done.  Not cool.

  • bionicroach
    Anonymous Email

    Hey Gregg — You’re probably already aware, but there are some handy sites for dealing with the mandatory email / spam problem such as (just type something like “” for your email address and then go check the URL to see what they sent).

    Of course, this assumes that they are not sending you something confidential like a PIN number, but it works great for most “throwaway” registration purposes…

  • Anonyme

    Just buy something more than the balance on the card and pay the rest in cash!

  • veg
    >she basically got ripped off $10 after

    It’s an American card, why is it a surprise to you that you need to call a number in the US to activate it? Why is it a surprise that the phone staff are incompetent? You should have called from the states while you were still there. Your Grandmother didn’t get ripped off, you screwed up.

  • Wrong!

    1) They specifically told her I could use it in Japan.

    2) She did not tell me the amount on the card so even if I was in the states she would have been ripped off for the call since they charge just to find out the balance

    3) I can’t just charge more and pay the rest in cash.  If I attempt to charge more the charge will be denied.  On top of which, the guy on the phone warned me that many places add an extra charge for using such a card which in that case even if I knew the exact balance the charge would still get denied and those charges mean even more of her money scammed.

    4) As for the anon e-mail.  This is a financial card.  Yes, they are dealing with PIN numbers, account info etc.

    WHY ARE YOU DEFENDING THESE CARDS?  Maybe you work for that company and you like scamming money from people? Gees. What possible point do these cards have?  Cash would have worked and had none of these charges.  A check would have as well.  All these cards do is scam some of the money to the company selling the cards.  They serve no purpose whatsoever except to take money from people that don’t think it through or are unaware of the charges.

  • veg

    1) You can use it in Japan can’t you?

    2) If you activated it in the states I’m sure you would have been told the amount on the card. Or hey, you could have just asked you Grandmother?

    3) Yeah, sounds like a pain in the arse.

    4) Can’t you tick the box that says you don’t want junk email? I thought everyone had a couple of spare email addresses for this sort of thing – I’m surprised you don’t.

    I don’t think anyone is defending the cards, I wouldn’t buy one or particularly want to receive one, however you item is titled ‘Gift Card Scam’ which is a little OTT. Just enjoy the gift. I got socks for Christmas, think yourself lucky.