ED Magedson – Founder
Viva Terra ,www.vivaterra.com, Refusal to honor Gift Certificates after a change in ownership of the company. Oregon
My wife and I were given $500 in gift certificates to www.vivaterra.com as wedding gifts back in 2010. On numerous occasions, we went to redeem them and were told that one of the certificates for $100 had been redeemed. But we had that certificate in our hands, and had not redeemed it. The customer service people said they would look into it and get back to us. On several occasions, they phoned me to tell me they were working on it. This went on and on but no one ever sorted out the issue.
Once in a while I'd call them to find out the status, and they'd act like they'd forgotten about it and would look into it and get back to me. Again, this went on and on.
This last week (5/13/14, 3.5 years after we were given these certificates), I wrote them and asked that they finalize this once and for all, and send us a refund for the $500. [continued below]....
I got this in return:
"We are sorry to hear that you are having problems with gift certificates that you received off your gift registry. VivaTerra recently launched as a new company after being purchased. The purchase was finalized, and the new company took ownership on April 1, 2014. We have implemented new policies and procedures due to this change. The new company has advised that they will honor gift certificates purchased from the old company from the date of 04/01/13 with a one year expiration date. Our records indicate the gift certificates you received were purchased in 2010 and we are unable to honor gift certificates that were purchased prior to the 04/01/14 date. We suggest that you contact the purchasers of the gift certificates and have them contact their credit card company. We are unable to issue any refunds for purchases from the old company. We apologize for any inconvenience this matter may have caused."
Printed right on the gift certificates in question are the words "Valid for purchases from VivaTerra - No Expiration Date."
When someone buys a company, they buy their assets and liabilities. So any outstanding gift certificates would go onto their liabilities.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, "In 2009, Congress passed the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act, which set consumer protections for gift cards based on many state laws. The law provides that gift cards cannot expire within five years from the date they were activated and generally limits inactivity fee on gift cards except in certain circumstances, such as if there has been no transaction for at least 12 months. The federal law creates a floor for regulation and leaves room for state regulation on redeeming gift cards for cash and unclaimed property provisions."
WHile these are not credit card-sized gift cards, they are gift certificates, and the company name and basic product offering was not changed. Therefore I'm fairly certain what they are doing is highly illegal.
If anyone has any insight to this, please contact me or post comments. A gift certificate is a contract, a promissary note to pay in merchandise the agreed-upon value. They are refusing to honor these, even though when they bought the company, they acquired their debts.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 05/15/2014 02:42 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/viva-terra/internet/viva-terra-wwwvivaterracom-refusal-to-honor-gift-certificates-after-a-change-in-owner-1147035. 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.
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