How Target and Microsoft Stole $50 from My Child
Summary: My son bought a $49.99 Microsoft Xbox LIVE card from Target. That card did not work. Target refused to refund the money and told me Microsoft was responsible. Microsoft confirmed that someone other than my son had already used the code on the back of the card; they then refused to give my son the Xbox LIVE time he had bought and told me Target was responsible. In short, Target and Microsoft worked together to steal my child's birthday money.
Detailed account: On October 18, 2010, my son decided to use the $50 Target gift card he had received from his grandmother for his birthday to buy a $49.99 Microsoft Xbox LIVE card. (The Microsoft Xbox video game system has a group of internet features called Xbox LIVE that can be accessed only by paying a subscription fee; one method of paying that fee is to buy a card from a retail outlet such as Target and then entering the code on the back of the card online). At 7:04 P.M that night, I bought the Xbox LIVE card on his behalf at the Buford, GA Target (next to the Mall of Georgia). At approximately 8:30 to 9:00 that night we entered the code 10 times, but the code was rejected each time.
The next morning I called Target and was transferred to the electronics department. The employee there said not to worry about it and to bring the card in for a refund. When I arrived at Target that night, that employee was no longer there, and the store at first refused to refund my son's money. Then they changed their minds, but their system would not permit the return. They told me to call customer service while I was there.
I spoke to Target's customer service representative. She told me that there was nothing that they could do, but that she had spoken to Microsoft, who had told her that they would fix the problem.
I left Target and called Microsoft, who said they would call me back. By the next morning, they still had not called me back, so I called them again. The Microsoft representative confirmed that, yes, the code had already been used by someone other than my son, but that there was nothing that they could do about it and that Target was the responsible party.
At this point is was clear that Target and Microsoft would do nothing but take turns giving me the runaround until I gave up.
Microsoft no doubt has the ability to track whoever had stolen the code my son bought but has no desire to do so. Even after they confirmed that the code had been stolen, they could have made things right--at no cost to them--with the click of a mouse by giving my son the Xbox LIVE time he had bought. Instead, they decided to give the thief the freedom to strike again and to leave the victim holding the bag.
It's important to note that the Xbox LIVE cards in Target are out in the open where anyone can handle them. Part of the code is covered by a scratch-off coating, but apparently there is another way to get the covered part of the code. As I asked around, I discovered that GameStop, for example, keeps their cards locked behind the counter. If any of Target's merchandise is made useless because of their lax security, then they need to eat the cost and not get their money back by selling worthless pieces of plastic to unsuspecting children.
Let's be clear about what happened here: Target and Microsoft, working together, stole my son's birthday money.
I am now talking or writing to all of our local news organizations, Clark Howard, and anyone else who will listen. Surely we are not the only victims of this fraud, and the public needs to be aware of the risk they run by doing business with Target and Microsoft, who sink to the level of stealing from children to make a buck.