You May Be Right, I May Be Crazy

Since my blog is like my own personal forum, I am ranting today. Here’s why… Back in the beginning of June, Doug and I went to use a couple of Phantom Gourmet gift cards we had received as gifts. We went online and chose a restaurant. I decided on an out-of-the-way place because I thought we’d make an adventure out of it. We ordered drinks, appetizers, entrees. When the check came, we gave our server our gift card. She came back and told us it had been declined. Obviously, this was extremely inconvenient and it really ticked me off. We paid and left. The next morning, I checked the balances on our gift cards (both full, $50 each) and their expiration dates (both years away). Then I emailed the Phantom Gourmet to figure out what happened. I was informed (relatively promptly) that the company that made my cards, which were purple, had gone out of business. Apparently, the only ones that worked now were sleek black cards. The customer service woman told me that I could mail my cards back to the company and they would be replaced. That’s it. That’s all she said. So, when I got my act together, I mailed the cards. Today when I checked my mail, I was pleasantly surprised to find my replacement gift card in there. Frankly, I was relieved the others hadn’t gotten lost in the mail. That would have been like $100 out the window. When I opened up the envelope, though, I noticed the card was only for $95 and that I had been charged fees for shipping & handling. Now, I am of the mind that this is downright rotten. Since I was required to send the cards to them in order to have them replaced, I feel like I could have charged THEM shipping and handling. Or maybe the customer service woman could have said, “We’ll be happy to issue you a replacement charge, but unfortunately, we’ll have to deduct $5 for S&H.” I still would have been pissed but at least I would have had a heads-up. I know it’s only $5, but it’s the principle of the thing. They weren’t the ones whose card was denied at the restaurant and who had to do all the legwork to find out why. Frankly, they inconvenienced ME, not the other way around. Am I crazy to think it’s wrong for them to deduct fees? Does anyone out there have purple Phantom Gourmet gift cards they now have to replace? Do you think I’ll hear back from them now that I’ve sent them a nasty email?

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Meg Belanger


  1. Emily on July 13, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    Yes, I don’t think that’s fair at all! It’s all about principle. I just wrote a complaint letter to the Hyatt a few weeks ago about them trying to force me to pay for their mistake. I haven’t heard back from them so that just makes me even angrier. I say don’t give up!!

  2. David on July 14, 2010 at 2:51 am

    Gift cards are a bigger scam than groupons.

  3. Jenny on July 14, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    That IS rotten. And frustrating that you picked the restaurant on the fact that you could use the gift card there!

    I typically get something when I write a letter, but I wrote a (somewhat) nasty one to the MBTA about 2 years ago – asking for my $10 back (again, not a lot, but it’s the principle) – and never heard anything. So I feel you!

  4. Bee on August 13, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    I just saw your comment and want you to know I had the identical experience with Phantom Gourmet. Once the cards were replaced minus the $5, they just didn’t care. End of story. I asked for an explanation and never got one. Finally called the Attorny General’s office and may well file a complaint. I am irritated by the lack of responsiveness if nothing else. Rude, arrogant and obnoxious!

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