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Barnes & Noble Gift Card Problem
Old 12-31-2013, 02:21 PM   #1
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Barnes & Noble Gift Card Problem

I received a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card back in May and I tried to check its balance earlier today. The card's number did not exist, according to the website. Furthermore, the card had only 14 digits while the website and phone system was looking for a 15-digit number. When I called their customer service department, they had no record of the card. The same happened when I went to a B&N store earlier today browsing for books. The card has not left my wallet since I bought it. The only thing I can do, according to the phone rep, is to return the card to the person who gave it to me so she can dispute the charge (8 months later? I hope she has some paperwork on it!)

This is a pretty bad way to run a business, I told the rep. The giver is out the $50 and I have a card I cannot use. Could this be a fraudulent card?

Anyone ever come across this with B&N?
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Old 12-31-2013, 02:43 PM   #2
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Maybe you could try taking it into a store in person and showing it the staff and confirm if it is a counterfeit card or not. If it is counterfeit your friend would probably want to know to avoid future purchases at the same place, even it it is too late for a refund.
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Old 12-31-2013, 03:17 PM   #3
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Tell your friend. If she used a credit card to buy it, there would be a record. I might also go to the B&N Facebook page, yelp, and other social media and spread the story. Maybe google the card and see what the 15 digit code should be (maybe it is a 1 in front of the 14 digits, for example) and see if it will work that way online?

I had three electronic gift cards/refund cards in my wallet for several months. When I used them, they all showed no balance. Only one place honored it and restored the balance; the others kept them which is annoying because I did not get a chance to check them online.

I now try to use all gift cards ASAP. And I would use a Barnes and Noble card immediately (wondering how long it can keep going).
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My B&N card has 15 digits
Old 12-31-2013, 10:36 PM   #4
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My B&N card has 15 digits

I received a B&N gift card ($25) for Christmas. I haven't used it yet. I just pulled it out of my wallet to check the digits on the back, and there are 15 digits printed on the back.

I wonder if you did indeed get a counterfeit card?

Given your experience, I think I will use the card asap, however.

I am sorry this happened; I'm sure it's upsetting.
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Old 12-31-2013, 10:45 PM   #5
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Wow - a counterfeit card!

I wonder where it was bought?
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Old 01-01-2014, 07:16 AM   #6
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I bought a Barnes & Noble card for my grandson for Christmas. I ordered it online. Hopefully it works.
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Old 01-01-2014, 07:23 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by martyb View Post
I bought a Barnes & Noble card for my grandson for Christmas. I ordered it online. Hopefully it works.
Did you buy it from Barnes & Noble?
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Old 01-01-2014, 08:05 AM   #8
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Did you buy it from Barnes & Noble?

Yes, through their website. I'm sure it's good. I know I'll hear about it if it's not...lol.
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Old 01-01-2014, 09:17 AM   #9
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Yes, through their website. I'm sure it's good. I know I'll hear about it if it's not...lol.
Good - you are safe then.

I never have bought gift cards from 3rd party, and now there is an even better reason not to.

There is even reason to not pick one up on the way to the cash register in a grocery store. It's rare - but those can be tampered with or monitored for activation by thieves.

One exception - coin counting machines that give you the full amount if you select iTunes or some other on-line merchant. That's a nice way to do it!

There are lots of people selling partially used gift cards online. Definitely buyer beware!
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Old 01-01-2014, 10:42 AM   #10
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Tell your friend. If she used a credit card to buy it, there would be a record.
+1
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Old 01-01-2014, 11:54 AM   #11
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I heard back from the purchaser of the troubled B&N gift card. She bought it at the same B&N store I was at yesterday and used a credit card. She is checking her CC records. Even if she has a CC bill for the gift card's purchase, I hope B&N doesn't give her a hard time about getting a refund or an exchange for a proper gift card. Even if she gets a new and usable gift card to give to me in a few weeks, it will not work as well for me because I had planned to buy some books very soon for some upcoming birthdays. Losing the ability to use the gift card now will louse up the timing.

B&N has no expiration date for their gift cards, as I have in the past received gift cards in the spring and not used them until December or January the same way I seek to use this one. This presupposes that the card was valid to begin with.
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Old 01-01-2014, 01:47 PM   #12
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I heard back from the purchaser of the troubled B&N gift card. She bought it at the same B&N store I was at yesterday and used a credit card. She is checking her CC records. Even if she has a CC bill for the gift card's purchase, I hope B&N doesn't give her a hard time about getting a refund or an exchange for a proper gift card. Even if she gets a new and usable gift card to give to me in a few weeks, it will not work as well for me because I had planned to buy some books very soon for some upcoming birthdays. Losing the ability to use the gift card now will louse up the timing.

B&N has no expiration date for their gift cards, as I have in the past received gift cards in the spring and not used them until December or January the same way I seek to use this one. This presupposes that the card was valid to begin with.
That is good she bought it at B+N. I hope she is able to get a full refund or new gift card. I thought it was an eBay or giftcardgranny type purchase after I read your first post.
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Old 01-01-2014, 02:20 PM   #13
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That's all you needed to know - that she bought in at B&N. Now it's their problem to resolve.
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Old 01-01-2014, 02:33 PM   #14
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If your friend keeps old gift cards around instead of tossing them, they may have given you an old used and empty card instead of a new gift card. This would be a possible explanation why this card has 14 digits instead of 15.
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Old 01-14-2014, 11:36 PM   #15
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So today I brought the card back to the woman who gave me the card. I was out this evening but when I got back home she had left a message for me. She saw some dirt buildup on the back of the card where the number is shown. (I did not notice any.) She was able to scratch some of it away but still could not read the 15th digit. But she went to the B&N website and planned to try a 15-digit number (plus 4-digit PIN) using the 14 fully visible digits followed by a 15th digit. When she entered a 1 as the 15th digit, the card came up valid with $50 left on it.

This means the card was always valid. The woman at the customer service desk had merely entered the card's incomplete number manually when she checked it for me 2 weeks ago. She did not swipe it into a store card reader. I assume a cashier would have swiped it in the card reader and it would have come up valid with $50 on it. She will return the card to me although I already bought some items from another bookstore for birthday presents. I guess it will have to wait until next time.
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Old 01-15-2014, 08:17 AM   #16
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Good to find it is valid. Now we know the real dirt on the B&N gift card
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Old 01-15-2014, 09:32 AM   #17
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Just a couple of days ago we used a B&N gift card that has been sitting in a drawer at least six years. It is still good. It seems that this B&N card does not have the "monthly service charge" feature that is designed to take back all the value over some period of time if not used. Nice surprise.
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Old 01-15-2014, 10:42 AM   #18
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This is not a Barnes and Noble problem, just a general gift card problem.

We have all seen those racks that display dozens of gift cards from many different companies. It makes it easy to chose a gift card for a person. But, the criminals grab a card in the wrapper, record the information encoded on it, and then, when the card is activated and flush with funds, drain it. It appears that gift cards left out in the open are vulnerable to this thievery.

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Crooks are now jotting down the card numbers in the store and then wait a few days and call to see how much of a balance THEY have on the card. Once they find the card is "activated," they go online and start shopping.
http://www.scambusters.org/giftcard.html
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Old 12-10-2014, 06:58 AM   #19
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An update on what happened with the B&N gift card.


The woman who bought me the gift card (a teacher whose school Scrabble group I often visit) bought me another card last May as a thank you for my aid. A few months later, I bought some books from B&N on line and tried to use the troubled, older card. But now another digit on the older, troubled card had rubbed off so I could not use it for my purchase. So I used the newer card and had no problems.


I went to the B&N and showed the cashier the bad card and asked her to issue me a new card with readable numbers in exchange for the bad card. She did so quickly and easily so now I have a $50 card and about $7 left on the one I used to buy those books. All I need is to find some books to buy. And I will ask the Scrabble coach to not buy me any more B&N gift cards!
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