Saturday, March 3, 2018

Don't Crook A Gift Card When In Doubt

Farmer H has been sorting through the belongings he bought in those 18 unpaid-for storage units. You never know what you might find in there. Some things you can't see when you first glance in the door. He even had a desk that he was going to throw away, because it was missing a drawer, and then two days later found the drawer in a box. Lucky for him he'd saved the desk, and now has it ready to sell.

A couple days ago, he was talking to his buddy who buys storage units (a couple at a time, not 18 all at once). This is the buddy Farmer H hurt his butt for, by stumbling while carrying the other end of a table after the auction. Anyhoo, the buddy cautioned Farmer H not to throw away any gift cards he finds, because they usually still have money on them. Who saves a used-up gift card, right?

Well. Of course Farmer H found some gift cards. He asked me if I'd look them up for him. Not having a job any more really has limited Farmer H on his internet surfing. I said I would. But when he handed me the cards, I cautioned him not to be too optimistic about finding a fortune on them.

"Those cards look kind of dated. Not like the ones they sell now. They're probably pretty old."

"Yeah, but they never expire! There's no date on them."

I tried the Target card first. I looked up the website listed on the back, and punched in the long number and the other number. It didn't outright call it a PIN, but that's what it was. Of course the website kept giving me the message that those were not valid numbers. And I could see that they were. That I was entering the exact numbers listed on the back of the card. I tried several times, with the same result. I read every bit of information on the back of that Target gift card, and I came across the date of 2004.

I'm pretty sure those cards don't remain valid indefinitely. Think of the money that would be tied up in them. Money that the retail stores would rather have for themselves, than set aside for people who may decide to use their gift card in 15 or 20 years. If at all.

The other card didn't even have a website on it. So I called the 800 number listed on the back. It gave me an automated menu, and I followed along and punched in the numbers, which I'd found by scratching off (I'm really good at that task!) a silver strip on the back. The automated voice told me that my card was inactive, and that I should bring in my receipt and the card to check on the balance.

I'm pretty sure Farmer H doesn't have the receipt for that card. I'm pretty sure it's older than 2004. Or maybe the non-paying renter of that storage unit was a gift card thief, and never paid for either one!


River said...

Cards without an expiry date? ours get 12 months from the date of purchase, which reminds me I should use up the one in my purse which has $1.32 on it. I also have an iTunes card which I should check, I think it may have just over $1, which is not enough since most songs at the iTunes store are $2.19. Good thing you checked though, you may have found enough to get a 44oz diet coke or two.

Hillbilly Mom said...

That's according to Farmer H. I'm pretty sure there has to be a limit. It's probably on the cardboard part that holds the card when you buy it. Or on the receipt. Doesn't hurt to check, though. Free money is good when you can get it!

Kathy's Klothesline said...

Sounds like some of the finds of HeWho in those impounded cars he helps clean out. His "boss" has been known to send things home to me that I have no use for and do not want. I sell them at the consignment shop I frequent. You will recall that HeWho scored his hearing aids this way. He makes me so proud.

Hillbilly Mom said...

HeWho obviously needs his own Storage Unit Store as an outlet for all that money-making junk! Of course, you are reaping the profits instead of maybe not! Farmer H found hearing aids, but he's not wearing them. Don't know what he did with them, but I'm positive that he did NOT throw them away.