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Fellow FWers - please learn from my mistake (actually, Dell 's mistake). I lost $950 in gift cards and all Dell says is "sorry".

A couple of months ago, I called Dell to consolidate 7 gift cards (these are PURCHASED gift cards, not promotional so don't confuse). You have to call a live person. She had me read off each gift card #, then verified the amounts, and then said she'd submit the request which could take days.

I do not recall if she said I would get a new gift card, or if one of the 7 gift cards would have the balance consolidated on it. Nor do I recall her giving me a reference number. I heard nothing after calling, and I kept the 7 physical gift cards thinking I could always reference those if anything went wrong.

Fast forward to now. I placed an order on Dell and realized I never heard something about the consolidated gift card. I went and checked all 7 of my gift cards online, and each one gave an Error, invalid card number (this was also verified through Dell customer service).

Of course, I'm freaked out about where the $950 balance went.

So, I spent literally all day on the phone with Dell today. Seriously, the process went like this: called #, waited 30-45 minutes for someone to answer, explained my issue, they said they were going to transfer me to the "gift card" department (or the "customer care" department, or the "credit card" department), etc. Once this happens a few times, the hours add up. I was easily on the phone for 6 hours. I also tried chat three times, and each time they were useless - they just ended up giving me phone #s to call, none of which helped.

So after 6 hours, I finally reached someone who seemed to know a bit about consolidation. He checked all my gift cards and confirmed they were invalid - wow, no kidding, that's why I called. He did some checks, and asked me for the reference # for the consolidation request, which I do not recall even getting.

After lots of discussion, he said sorry, he can't do anything without the reference number, and the cards are invalid. I explained they went invalid obviously from the consolidation process - and Dell messed something up. He could care less, all he could say was sorry and nobody else could help.

So here I am, having called to consolidate $950 of gift cards that have vanished in thin air. And Dell says they cannot trace the history of cards or anything like that - just sees they are now invalid. I don't recall getting a reference number, and thought keeping the 7 physical cards around would be a suitable reference.

I have no idea what to do next. I will be calling my legal service tomorrow, but with scant evidence I'm not sure I have a case.

I'm sick to my stomach - all the various Dell deals we do on here, etc, and all my deals are wiped out now with a $950 loss and probably more so.

I learned a few things: I think I will begin recording all calls relating to money. Make sure you get CSR name, reference #s, anything you could possibly get, even if they don't offer it to you. Granted, you can't always trust it - literally 5 different CSRs told me they would stay on the line with me to help, and did not, just dumped me to a transfer.

I am unable to find similar stories on the web and any way that people have resolved this situation. If anybody knows how to help, I beg for it! I will be doing BBB reports, and possibly FTC?

I'm sure that Dell could really research this if they want to, by an administrator going and checking history on databases/etc, but it's much easier for them to just say "sorry".

$950 gone.

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First thing, look up the CEO's email, and send a detailed, but not ramblīng email of everything from the purchase of the... (more)

cows123 (Aug. 25, 2016 @ 7:28p) |

resolved.

1 of the 2 USA support folks on Dell Community Forums replied, opened a SR, took info. I was able to find the d... (more)

walletfart (Aug. 26, 2016 @ 11:14p) |

After they resolved my gift card issues, a month later they sent me the same gift cards again. The email said "Dell has ... (more)

kingdoodler (Aug. 26, 2016 @ 11:31p) |

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You do have a case. Start by figuring out the date and time you called. Ask for phone company detailed records if you have to. You also have the gift cards. With those 2 pieces of info, Dell should know what happened. Tell them that if you get a lawyer involved and you win, and you will, they will also foot the bill for the lawyer. don't give up.

MilleniumBuc said:   You do have a case. Start by figuring out the date and time you called. Ask for phone company detailed records if you have to. You also have the gift cards. With those 2 pieces of info, Dell should know what happened. Tell them that if you get a lawyer involved and you win, and you will, they will also foot the bill for the lawyer. don't give up.
Thank you - that is exactly what I'm doing right now, going back through call logs.

I also saw another person post that their gift cards are showing invalid. I also had my order held yesterday when using a promotional gift card - took a while for Dell to figure out it said gift card expired when it didn't expire until 9/1/16 - took a rep to re-enter the order again.

I'm wondering if something is really messed up with their gift card system/database right now.

I found the consolidation call date/time on March 28th.

MilleniumBuc said:    Tell them that if you get a lawyer involved and you win, and you will, they will also foot the bill for the lawyer. don't give up.
  
Hollow threats will do next to nothing.  As with any of these types of transactions...OP was probably given a case number they forget to write down.  For a $950 transaction, I would have personally even asked for more...just in cover all the bases.

Without this (and given the time length that has passed).....the uphill battle will be quite painful. 

respdoc said:   
MilleniumBuc said:    Tell them that if you get a lawyer involved and you win, and you will, they will also foot the bill for the lawyer. don't give up.
  
Hollow threats will do next to nothing.  As with any of these types of transactions...OP was probably given a case number they forget to write down.  For a $950 transaction, I would have personally even asked for more...just in cover all the bases.

Without this (and given the time length that has passed).....the uphill battle will be quite painful. 

Sounds like it, but the fact I still have the original 7 gift cards should be sufficient for them to locate the information on their side.

If they don't purge 'reference #s" then they don't purge the information inside of them, which should include the gift card #s and my information. Now that I have a call date and time, they should also be able to filter down the call logs pretty closely - but this will take some effort on their part and it's too easy for their India call center staff to just say sorry and transfer you to another department.

Also like I said, I'm not even sure I was given a reference #. I have called Dell support for other things, and on chat, and I don't always get offered a reference #. I literally spent 6 hours mostly on hold with them today, maybe talking to someone briefly, not given any reference #s for this issue, and just transferred on to somebody else before I could even ask for their name or any other information. There's no reason to think it was any different when I called for the consolidation.

I made a mistake thinking that keeping the physical cards would be sufficient, and of course should have gathered more information (in hindsight easy to say that). However, that does not justify Dell messing up $950 in gift cards or release them from any liability in resolving the problem.

I'm curious about what someone posted on SD that 2 of their GCs show invalid too, and the GC issue I had yesterday with an order - this may be a bigger problem with Dell's gift card systems right now.
 

How does Dell explain what happened to each of your giftcards, any GC database should have a record when it was created, when the funds were used.Almost all GC,s I've had whether from Staples,Macy's, CVS,Rite-Aid etc, has been able to provide me all my transaction info, years after they were purchased and drained.

respdoc said:   MilleniumBuc said:    Tell them that if you get a lawyer involved and you win, and you will, they will also foot the bill for the lawyer. don't give up.
  
Hollow threats will do next to nothing.  As with any of these types of transactions...OP was probably given a case number they forget to write down.  For a $950 transaction, I would have personally even asked for more...just in cover all the bases.

Without this (and given the time length that has passed).....the uphill battle will be quite painful. 


It's OP mistake for being careless, but Dell needs to meet strict accounting standards to know where all the money came and went (to avoid being in a list with money launderers).

They have the info, but might think the OP was not the original caller and might think he just found the cards empty and is trying to get money out of them. So without a lawyer and specifics, he won't get nowhere fast. Hopefully with the date and time of original transaction they will be more helpful, or maybe realize there was an internal theft after the fact.

MilleniumBuc said:   
respdoc said:   
MilleniumBuc said:    Tell them that if you get a lawyer involved and you win, and you will, they will also foot the bill for the lawyer. don't give up.
  
Hollow threats will do next to nothing.  As with any of these types of transactions...OP was probably given a case number they forget to write down.  For a $950 transaction, I would have personally even asked for more...just in cover all the bases.

Without this (and given the time length that has passed).....the uphill battle will be quite painful. 


It's OP mistake for being careless, but Dell needs to meet strict accounting standards to know where all the money came and went (to avoid being in a list with money launderers).

They have the info, but might think the OP was not the original caller and might think he just found the cards empty and is trying to get money out of them. So without a lawyer and specifics, he won't get nowhere fast. Hopefully with the date and time of original transaction they will be more helpful, or maybe realize there was an internal theft after the fact.


I disagree. OP had no obligation to take any notes. If Dell agreed to do it, then the onus is on Dell to have done the right thing - either consolidating them into one card AND telling OP which one, or sending OP a new gift card with a consolidated balance amount WITHOUT OP needing to do anything further.






 

Dell has WITHOUT A DOUBT has the worst unintelligible non English speaking customer service on this global-cooled planet. Yes worst than Comcast even.

amhidogha said:   
I disagree. OP had no obligation to take any notes. 




 

   You are free to disagree all you'd like but it doesn't change the facts at hand.   Reporting a "problem" such a long time length after the original transaction and having very little information to fall back on....would put any consumer at an extreme disadvantage in a larger dispute amount...such as this. 

Even with a lawyer, OP will get squat. Delll and other companies love when you buy gift cards because the terms and conditions are very, very favourable to them. On the gift cards, they typically say that gift cards will not be replaced if lost or stolen and Delll can just say they were stolen and be done with this issue. You're fighting a uphill battle OP, that's for sure.

lesson learned. do not futz next time, Do Not Consolidate Cards!
move on bro, and let go... "what you lose in tomatoes, you make up in potatoes".  

Ok , first thing...gift cards...from anywhere are a very bad idea. You have little to no protection if things go south. Always use a good credit card to buy anything online. ALWAYS.

Dell 's gift card department is so screwed up many times I have received double promo cards, or free promo cards on canceled orders. This is very nice ...but when there is a problem, it tends to be a giant PIA.

That being said I have had very good luck contacting Dell via snail mail. Send them a very,very detailed well written letter. This makes absolutely no sense because Dell is a computer store , but I have gotten fast results writing Dell Corporate.

Just file the claim in small claims court. They probably won't even show up or if they do, they will probably just settle. Or skip small claims and get a real lawyer and have them file for discovery. That should be real fun.

BananaQ said:   lesson learned. do not futz next time, Do Not Consolidate Cards!
move on bro, and let go... "what you lose in tomatoes, you make up in potatoes".  

  Not too many people are going to accept a $950 loss which is an egregious error by another party. You don't take this kind of financial loss without a fight.

kingdoodler said:   Ok , first thing...gift cards...from anywhere are a very bad idea. You have little to no protection if things go south. Always use a good credit card to buy anything online. ALWAYS.

Dell 's gift card department is so screwed up many times I have received double promo cards, or free promo cards on canceled orders. This is very nice ...but when there is a problem, it tends to be a giant PIA.

That being said I have had very good luck contacting Dell via snail mail. Send them a very,very detailed well written letter. This makes absolutely no sense because Dell is a computer store , but I have gotten fast results writing Dell Corporate.

  Do you have an address that worked for you?

Update: I posted this on Dell Community Forums, which have a couple of USA-based support reps that monitor it. One contacted me, opened a SR, and asked for information.

I now have information that should be more than required for Dell to research this: I know the dates I purchased the cards and credit card transactions, I know the date and time and call length of when I called for the consolidation, and I have the physical gift cards in possession with all original #s, etc.

I hope this will go somewhere, but haven't heard anything yet. I somehow got transferred to a US sales employee in Austin yesterday, who seemed very nice and took all my info, said he'd send me an email with his and make sure I got in touch with the US gift card department today. I didn't hear anything there either, so I'm not very hopeful.

I'm busy the next couple days, but I pay for a legal service membership, so will be interesting to hear what they say if I don't hear anything from Dell over the next couple days.

Yes - filing for discovery would be great. If Dell actually took time to research this, they can find it. Instead, it's easier for someone on the other side of the world to say "sorry".

kingdoodler said:   Ok , first thing...gift cards...from anywhere are a very bad idea. You have little to no protection if things go south. Always use a good credit card to buy anything online. ALWAYS.

Dell 's gift card department is so screwed up many times I have received double promo cards, or free promo cards on canceled orders. This is very nice ...but when there is a problem, it tends to be a giant PIA.

That being said I have had very good luck contacting Dell via snail mail. Send them a very,very detailed well written letter. This makes absolutely no sense because Dell is a computer store , but I have gotten fast results writing Dell Corporate.

Yes, we underestimate the risk of gift cards.

It takes one big issue like this to wipe out all the $20-100 deals we get by buying gift card discounts, doing deal resells, etc. I've been thinking lately about eBay which is similar - you can sell 50 items for $3000 and profit $1000 which takes a lot of time. However, if you sell one thing for several hundred dollars, and that person scams you - you just lost all the profits of these transactions. Lose on a big sale, you lose the gross amount. Earn on a sale, you only earn the profit %.

walletfart said:   
kingdoodler said:   Ok , first thing...gift cards...from anywhere are a very bad idea. You have little to no protection if things go south. Always use a good credit card to buy anything online. ALWAYS.

Dell 's gift card department is so screwed up many times I have received double promo cards, or free promo cards on canceled orders. This is very nice ...but when there is a problem, it tends to be a giant PIA.

That being said I have had very good luck contacting Dell via snail mail. Send them a very,very detailed well written letter. This makes absolutely no sense because Dell is a computer store , but I have gotten fast results writing Dell Corporate.

  Do you have an address that worked for you?

  I think I use this address...1 Dell Way, Round Rock, TX 78682 . I also would say something like "Please escalate to Executive Customer Relations" or something important like that. Also why stop at one letter? Send a bunch of the same letters to as many Dell addresses as you can find. Also print out your letters, DO NOT HAND WRITE THEM lol.
For me I received a call from Dell within a week. Within 3-4 weeks my issue was resolved. Dell even called me numerous times after that asking if everything worked out and if I needed anything further. 
 

Perhaps you contact your local TV consumer reporter. Here's a link to one of our local NYC reporter http://www.nbcnewyork.com/on-air/about-us/Lynda_Baquero.html. These "consumer" report supposedly help consumer resolve transactions like OP's and report them on TV. I've seen them help on transaction lower than $100. So with $950 and Dell, it might be a big fish for them to take it on.

Good luck recovering.

hchen42 said:   Perhaps you contact your local TV consumer reporter. 
  
Great idea.  News at 10:  "Consumer consolidates gift cards around 6 months ago...gets no confirmation information at the time....and now that company is having trouble figuring out what happened 6 months after the fact."

Sounds like a spicy scoop to me.
 

I got a problem with Dell gift card a few years ago. After hours and days of calling, waiting, and talking to multiple departments with no results, I filed a complaint with BBB. My problem was solved in 2 days by Dell corporate. My suggestion to OP is not to waste any more time calling Dell, go ahead and file a complaint with BBB instead. Let us know if and how things get resolved so that we can all learn from your experience.

Here's the order of effort I would take:
1. Go to the top. Mail Michael Dell or the office of the president. Most companies have a process to look into issues that the regular support can't handle (and God knows, Dell 's regular support is about the worst possible). Also, post your issue to Dell 's facebook page and twitter account, and perhaps local news stations.
2. Where did you buy the gift cards originally? If you paid by credit card, you could consider disputing the original purchase (this potentially penalizes the wrong party, but ultimately you now have a defective product, so I think you have a case)
3. Gift cards are often issued by some bank or financial institution, who themselves are regulated. Contact your state's attorney general and the consumer protection agencies.
4. Take Dell to small claims court on the issue

First thing, look up the CEO's email, and send a detailed, but not ramblīng email of everything from the purchase of the cards to today.  Someone will read it and gét back to you, and hopefully you won't have to go further.  If you have to go to small claims court after exhausting all other options, it isn't worth dells bother to defend against it, even if they have counsel on staff or on retainer, although some companies defend against everything,  If they don't show up, you probably will get a default judgemént.

EDIT:  I scrolled down and didn't notice anyone suggesting this, and now that I posted this I notice someone did, in the post right before mine.  I second novocaine recommendation.

resolved.

1 of the 2 USA support folks on Dell Community Forums replied, opened a SR, took info. I was able to find the date of purchase, the date/time of the call to consolidate, and show a scan of all front/backs of cards. (btw - the 2nd rep there replied and just told me to call the infinite-loop gift card department # again!)

Couple days later I received a new electronic gift card. The email was worded strangely - basically one of the "this is a courtesy" emails instead of admitting anything wrong. Dell also said they could not tell me what happened with the gift cards. Sounded like something was either a major error on their system or internal theft to me.

Either way, the end result is good.

lesson learned for Dell particular and for anything involving a lot of money in general - note everything you can and don't trust them. They can still give you bad information (fake name, etc) but it's better than nothing.

walletfart said:   resolved.

1 of the 2 USA support folks on Dell Community Forums replied, opened a SR, took info. I was able to find the date of purchase, the date/time of the call to consolidate, and show a scan of all front/backs of cards. (btw - the 2nd rep there replied and just told me to call the infinite-loop gift card department # again!)

Couple days later I received a new electronic gift card. The email was worded strangely - basically one of the "this is a courtesy" emails instead of admitting anything wrong. Dell also said they could not tell me what happened with the gift cards. Sounded like something was either a major error on their system or internal theft to me.

Either way, the end result is good.

lesson learned for Dell particular and for anything involving a lot of money in general - note everything you can and don't trust them. They can still give you bad information (fake name, etc) but it's better than nothing.

  After they resolved my gift card issues, a month later they sent me the same gift cards again. The email said "Dell has sent you a gift"  so I didn't tell them about it. LOL



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