Report: #1053759

Complaint Review: Vanilla Visa Gift Card

  • Submitted: Sat, May 25, 2013
  • Updated: Sat, May 25, 2013
  • Reported By: BurnedbyVanillaVisa — Los Angeles California
  • Vanilla Visa Gift Card
    Vanilla® Visa® Gift Card Customer Service PO Box 8
    Fortson, Georgia

Show customers why they should trust your business over your competitors...

I went to my local CVS drugstore to purchase a Vanilla Visa gift to use for online purchases belieiving this a better safer way to make online transactions.  What a mistake! I selected the card packaged nicely and promoting that as sson as you pay for it you can use the card. Not true.

I paid cash $4.95 for the card and gave the clerk $110. to load on the card. The recipt said the card was activated. A lie!  I tried to use the card and the website said the card was invalid. So I waited 24 hours to see if the cash I gave for the card would finally register to the card. It did not.

I tried checking the card on their website and their website said my card was invalid.

So I call the customer service number on the package of the card and the automated answering states card invalid after I enter in the numbers of the card but does not give any options of what to. [continued below]....

..... I hang up and call again and realize that the automated system then asks for the expiration date of the card and security code. I have to wait and listen for all the automated options. None of the options say anything about invalid cards so I choose to speak to a customer service representative.

The representative tells me to take a photo of the receipt, front and back of the card and email to them. I do this twice. The representative tells me that it will take 3-4 weeks for them to research and refund my money and that she opened up a case number for me.

I call the next day and the representative I get says they can not find my email, or the paperwork but he sees my case number opened and asks for my email to send me a email that I should reply to and resend the copies of the card and receipt. I do. He tells me to keep calling to find out if they got my email.

This is ridiculous! They have my cash, are selling a fraudulent product, and I have to keep calling them? Vanilla Visa is telling me that they have problems with the most basic business operating act of receiving a fax and receiving an email. And I have to call them repeatedly to make sure they finally get my information.

They explained that after they finally confirm having received my documents, then they will look into the problem and I will have to wait weeks for an answer and possible refund check. In the mean time, they have my cash and everyone else's cash that had this same problem, and having our cash, adds to their cash operating float and allows them to stay in business.

The manager at CVS told me that every holiday they have a problem with the Vanilla Visa cards. So all around the USA people give cash to Vanilla Visa, thinking their money will go on the card but really are frauded into making a loan to Vanilla Visa under the premise of selling a gift card service. 

I thought I was buying an instant use gift card but in reality I loaned Vanilla Visa my cash for them to operate on and give me the run around. They do not offer a refund for the $4.95 I paid for the service and offer no proactive helpful solutions like activating my card immediately which tells us how inefficient their computer system is that they have to manually review my documents inorder to give me back my money.

I wish I had never bought this card. I believed what the package said that it was an instant use card and believed that I was paying $4.95 to use this service. I found out the hard way that it is a lie and fraud.

No service whatsoever was given to me for my $4.95, Vanilla Visa has my $110. cash and offers nothing but excuses. So every day I have to call Vanilla Visa to confirm they received my documents, then I will have to call to see when they will refund my money. What a ripoff!

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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 05/25/2013 05:17 AM and is a permanent record located here: The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#1 Author of original report


AUTHOR: BurnedbyVanillaVisa - ()

I am happy to report that my cash was credited to my Vanilla gift card and I used it with no incident. Discouragingly, Vanilla Visa did not contact me either by email or phone to let me know that they fixed the problem. 

I had to call Vanilla and go through their automated phone system which curiously still informed that my card was invalid even though the card was valid as stated by the customer care representative.

The representative informed me that the problem with the card was a packaging issue, that the actual Vanilla gift card inside the Vanilla package did not match numbers on the outside of the package. So when I paid for the card at theregister and gave the clerk my $110. and my recepit showed that the card was activated,  the gift card that was suppose to be in the package was activated, not the card I got out of the package.

Apparrently, how it works is like this, a card is issued with unique numbers and those numbers are suppose to match the package numbers so when the clerk scans the card, the card inside the package gets activated.

Apparrently, Vanilla Visa has a problem that the cards inside the package do not match the numbers on the outside of the package so there is no way to activate the cards inside the package without going through what I went through.

I am wondering how many mismatched packages have been distributed throughout  the United States and wondering why Vanilla Visa has not recalled the mismatched packages the moment they became aware of the problem.

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#2 Author of original report

Yes Really!

AUTHOR: BurnedbyVanillaVisa - ()

Let me remind you that I paid a $4.95 service fee for a gift card to be used immediately. 

You stated that it was a fluke or computer error citing the volume of transactions why this happened, but if this happens then that means their computer system can not handle the increased volume of transactions.

I understand the necessity of the company to verify my claim, but the fact I had to send the information to them 3 times because they lost it, combined with the fact that they state it takes weeks for a refund to happen, and they have no provision for these kinds of errors on their phone system does not really conform to the letter of the law of a company fulfilling the representations made on their packaging. 

Their packaging does not state that if they have a computer error, that it will takes weeks and numerous phone calls to get your cash back.

Last I checked cash being converted to less liquid forms, as a check or held in deposit is no longer accessible to me unless I have the check in hand or access to the deposit account.

The package promised me the buyer to have instant use of my cash with their service and card. This was not fulfilled.

The frequency of the invalid cards occurring as stated by the manager of the store and as seen on numerous websites demonstrates that invalid card errors are a part of their normal operating procedures.

The customer, in America is number one, and obviously poor service is acceptable to you but not for me when they have my money. There is no excuse for not having a dedicated resolution department if the company knows they have these issues frequently enough for it to part of their reputation. There is no excuse for the company losing, and not finding my paperwork requiring me to rresubmit it.

When I give any person or entity liquid cash that is transformed to other payment means, my cash is no longer cash but a deposit or check.

When my accessibility to my cash is delayed but promised to me, it is called a loan.

When I have entered into this loan agreement under false representations, it is fraud.

If you are suggesting that this was a computer glitch, then good faith and good practices would mean the company would have a representative that called me back confirming they received my papers and began working on my refund as fast as I gave them my cash.

Credit, loan, deposit and cash are the not the same. The service fee was for instant use cash.

All of the representatives said the normal protocol was 3-4weeks for a refund which to have this as a normal protocol supports my claim that invalid cards are a normal business operating procedure for Vanilla Visa.

They only way to refute this claim is to see a financial statement of cash flows for VanillaVisa where it shows the sums received on hand for invalid cards, what the percentage is of this compared to their overall received fund transactions thereby demonstrating the added cash float Vanilla Visa is gaining to operate on by having a percentage of their cards invalid.

Vanilla Visa may be regulated and maybe be part of Visa, but neither of these facts justify, explain, or excuse the manner in which they are doing business and handling invalid cards.

These agencies may be bona fide resources to go to in time, but the fact still stands that they have my cash.

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#3 General Comment


AUTHOR: Tyg - ()

 You do realize in this HEAVILY computerized society of ours that sometimes mistakes happen. Where I do feel bad that your money is being held up, it sounds like the company is TRYING to work with you to get you a refund. This isnt a ripoff. This company is regulated by the PCI. Payment Card Industry. Given all the fraud that happends all the time, the company is simply asking you to wait to get your money so they dont get ripped off. They have to reaserch your transaction, thats all. Imagine how many ppl call them making false claims. They are simply protecting both themselves and you. By performing a in depth investigation, they ensure that both parties have resolution.

Now if after the stated time that they gave you has passed and still noresolution, then a ripoff report would be advised. I would also suggest that you contact which ever CC company whos logo appears on your card and have them initiate an investigation. But do this only if they have not returned your money in the time frame that was represented to you. If you do it early without giving them the time they asked, it only makes you look bad.

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