Saturday, September 23, 2017

Sometimes You're the Windshield & Sometimes You're the Bug

So remember when I bought those Shell gas cards to use on our Summer road trip back in May?

I earned $30 in Plenti Points buying these.

Fast forward to Day 2 of our trip, July 19th.  While passing through lower IL before we hit the Missouri border we stopped in New Baden IL to get gas at a Shell station.

Hubs swiped one of the $50 gift cards and started pumping gas into the rental car.  When Hubs hit $2.98 worth of gas the pump shut off.  He tried to swipe the card again and it now indicated that the gift card had no money left on it.
WTF?!?

A station employee was outside emptying the garbage receptacles at the pumps so we asked him what was wrong.  He took the card inside to check the balance and indeed it was now empty, no money on it.
So I asked him to check a couple of other gas cards I had(all of which had had $50 of value put onto them)and they all had no money left on them.
We ended up using our Mastercard to finish filling the car and continued on with our travels.

Since I didn't have the receipts with me from when the gas cards were activated at Rite-Aid back in May and we didn't have a secure online connection while staying at motels there really wasn't much I could do about this situation until we returned home.
So I carted these gift cards across the country and back home to PA.

Once we got home I went up to Rite-Aid and they said to contact Shell first.
I just saw this turning out badly, with Rite-Aid blaming Shell and Shell blaming Rite-Aid me being out $300. 8-(

Well I found where to contact the company that issues these Shell cards online(it's not Shell!)and called their customer service line.
I spoke with "Linda"(in India)and after about 20 minutes of going over it all and giving her my card numbers, because she had to check each gas gift card, a definite pattern of fraud emerged.

Card #1 was emptied on July 7th in Highland California.
Card #2 was emptied on July 8th in Highland Caliifornia.
Card #3 was emptied on July 9th in Fontana California.
Card #4 was emptied on July 11th in Fontana California.
Card #5 was used/emptied on July 15th in Fontana, Carlton and Riverside California.
Card # 6 was used on July 18th in San Bernardino California.  They left $2.98 on this gas card and that was the one we attempted to use on July 19th.

All these towns are located in San Bernardino County in CA.
Let me add that I have never even been in San Bernardino County. 8-(

I then had to scan all the cards and the receipts from when I bought/activated the cards and send a very long email to dispute the charges on all 6 of the gift cards.
After not hearing back for over a week they finally responded to my inquiry and said they would send me a secure gas card with the $298.02 of value that was stolen from me, which I received.
And yes, this card works and so far, so good, and nobody has siphoned off any funds.

It was disappointing the hoops I had to jump through, plus we don't really have any Shell stations around here so I can only use this card when we travel.  But then again, it came in handy when we went to see our eldest son late last week for a few days.

But at least the company made good on the gift cards but the worry in the back of my mind the whole trip did take away from my enjoyment(ok, a little but not a lot lol).

Hopefully when we travel in the future we'll be able to find Shell stations to use this gift card at.
But I will think twice in the future about purchasing gift cards.

Sluggy

23 comments:

  1. Gosh that is terrible about cards. I wonder how they could use those cards with out the actual card in hand? Glad you were able to new cards. Seems like an "inside job" for the fraud.

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  2. I think it's an inside job with the gift card printing company. It is possible they just stole the numbers off the cards and used them inside and not swiped at the gas pumps, but they could have printed duplicate gift cards with those numbers perhaps?
    I don't know and it doesn't seem like Shell/the company who issues their gift cards really cares to find and prosecute the thieves! That's the most disturbing thing here.

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  3. Egads! I would be fuming! Glad that in the end, this got sorted out. People really do suck.

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  4. Electronic theft is only going to get worse. TheHub went to a small meeting with one of the "best" hackers in the country, who travels teaching preventative security measures to corporations (according to him there is no absolute security because the hackers just get better and better)

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    Replies
    1. Maybe it's time we hid all our money in our mattresses or buried in cans in the backyard again? lol

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  5. Can you imagine how much more awful this would be for the person who depended solely on the cards and had no other means of purchasing gas?! Wow!!

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    Replies
    1. If we didn't have a credit card it sure would have sucked bigtime and maybe cancelled that trip. Maybe having all your eggs in one basket it a good way to operate.

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  6. This is scary. I can imagine how frustrated you were on the phone. Happy you were reimbursed.

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    Replies
    1. It turned out aok but oy! what a scare.

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  7. Holy batcrap scammers....I am not keen on them either for that exact reason. So glad they made good on your cards though

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  8. Wow, that's just crazy. I wonder sometimes about gift cards. I do like them for the ease of using but thing I'll stick to cash that works just as well. Glad you got them to give you back the $ you would have been out. Take care.

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  9. OMG, how horrible, Sluggy! I'm so glad you were able to work it out, but what an ordeal. :(

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  10. I always worry about this when I give/receive gift cards. Once I went to register a starbucks gift card to my account and it was already registered to someone else! I had to scratch the pin, so had no idea how that could be. I was still able to use the $10 on it, just couldn't earn the stars.

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    Replies
    1. I guess someone copied down card numbers when it was on the rack at the store and registered all those cards to steal those stars and get freebies.
      That's just as bad as stealing the cash off the cards in my book!

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  11. Wow you must have been upset to think you might be out all that money! Glad you were able to get it resolved and get it back. Wonder how often they have to do that?

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    1. I don't know how often it's an issue and I am amazed at how unconcerned they were about finding the thieves or at least finding where the flaw in their system chain was.

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  12. Thank you for this post. I was wondering what happened ever since you posted about the cards being out of money. Amazing. Glad you got your funds back in the end.

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  13. Thank goodness for a happy ending. I do wish these companies would make a statement by going after these thieves. By doing nothing, what's to stop them from doing it again?

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    Replies
    1. Exactly....no one will stop if they aren't prosecuted.

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  14. I guy gift cards all the time at King sooper (Kroger) for fuel points, but I always get them from the back of the hanging pile and double verify balances like a week later (before the return deadline), so far we have a voided this, but yours sounds like it was an inside job, not like someone photograped the back of the card in the store-at least they reimbursed you. Could you sell it one one of those gift card places?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Verifying a week later wouldn't have helped as the thieves didn't use the cards until 2 months after I purchased them!
      I'll keep the card and use it while traveling instead of selling it as I'd lose money by selling it.

      Delete
  15. I didn't catch if you paid for these Shell cards with a credit card? If you did, I would have just went through the credit card company to dispute the purchase (of all cards) & the money would have been posted as a credit on your acct. until they resolved it with the "Shell" (or whoever) company. That's why I love to use my Visa for everything!

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    Replies
    1. Unfortunately most places here don't allow you to purchase gift cards on a credit card, including my Rite-Aid....cash or debit cards only, otherwise I would have bought them on my c/c. sigh.

      Delete

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