I received a $50.00 gift card for Kohl's Department Stores on 12/25/06. I made a purchase of $44.99 from their Hamilton, NJ location on 2/3/06, leaving a balance of $5.01. I returned to the store on 9/13/06 and made an additional purchase of $29.99. When I tried to apply the balance on my gift card to this purchase, it was refused by the cashier who claimed that the bar code on the card was unreadable.
At my insistance, she called a supervisor and read the bar code numbers to them over the phone. The supervisor also refused the card. I was told that they had no way of knowing if there was a balance due on the card and therefore would not honor it. Since there were now about ten very impatient people waiting in line for me to move on, I paid the full cash price for my purchase.
When I arrived home, I noticed that there was a toll-free phone number on the rear of the card for checking card balances. I called this number, entered the bar code numbers, and lo and behold, I was told that this card did indeed have a balance of $5.01. I wondered why the Kohl's employees at the store could not ascertain this allow me to use the card.
I then wrote to Kohl's headquarters in Wisconsin, telling them of the problem and asking them to mail me a refund check. I included copies of the card and all receipts. I thought that they would send a check and that would be the end of it. NO! Kohl's apparently has decided for some reason to take a hard line against me.
They wrote back and told me that I needed to travel back to their store and ask to speak with the store manager. The store manager would then issue me a replacement card in the amount of $5.01. I would then need to make an additional purchase to use the balance on my card. UNBELIEVABLE!
I then wrote back to Kohl's 10/11/06 telling them that I did not wish to make any additional purchases from their store, that I simply wanted a refund for the amount that they refused to apply to my last purchase. As of this date (1/8/08) Kohl's has not mailed a refund or responded to my second letter.
I have been left with no option but to file a complaint with the NJ Office of the Attorney General. As of this date I have spent more than $20.00 in certified postage trying to get my $5.01 returned to me. I have also spent more than six hours writing letters to Kohl's and various agencies. Kohl's has no intention of returning this money to me, figuring that since it is such a small amount I will not be willing to pursue it.
I, on the other hand, have no intention of letting Kohl's pocket 10% of the amount of a gift card that someone intended as a gift to me. I imagine the next step will be small claims court.
I recently read in the newspaper that Kohl's Department posted third quarter earnings reports reflecting an increase of profits of 45%. It's really not hard to post those kinds of profits when they are stealing 10% from customer's gift cards. It doesn't take much effort to return a lousy $5.01 rightfully due to a customer when it was improperly denied by one of their employees. Their failure to do so in more than four months clearly indicates to me that this company is no more than a group of thieves defrauding their customers. I would strongly suggest that shoppers steer clear of this corrupt corporation.
trenton, New Jersey