A response to the original poster:
Your friend or relative paid good money for the gift certificate. If you
now cannot use it that is a *big problem* and the store stole your money and
your friend's gift.
That is not how gift certificates are supposed to work. I would suggest you
first contact the company's corporate office (call your *local* store,
explaint he problem, if they still "cannot help you", ask them for the
information you need). Send a letter clearly (and un-aggressively) stating
the problem and telling them to please resolve it.
At the very least, this should get the problem fixed (even if it takes a few
weeks). At best, the corporate office will feel embarassed enough to give
you something extra (like a bonus amount on your gift certificate). You may
want to mention in your nice-complaint-lettter that "someone in the sewing
Usenet group suggested that I should contact you directly". That will
indicate that this problem has been discussed in public and may help spur a
"public image fix" as well as a "customer problem fix" (ie they'll help you
quickly and with better service).
If you do not hear back from the corporate office within a reasonable
(month?) amount of time, submit them to the better business bureau. The BBB
has done *fantastic* work for me when companies have stolen my money. Note
that you will need the Corporate Headquarters contact information to file a
complaint. You will also need to tell them how you have tried to resolve
the problem in good faith (ie contacting HQ directly and receiving no
response). You can file a complaint in minutes on the BBB web site now so
its super easy and fast!
The web site for the BBB is:
http://www.FoundCollection.com/(for info on how to file)
http://www.FoundCollection.com/(to file a complaint online)
You will need the zip code and address of the HQ of the company to file
their local BBB who will handle your situation for you.
The BBB has managed to get my money back for me twice. Once when the phone
company overcharged me for months, always promising to return the
overcharged amount and to stop overcharging, but never did. (Of course, if
I had failed to pay my bills in full each month, I would have been
delinquent, even though their charges were wrong.) The second time, a large
rebate also never arrived, and after re-contacting the company they still
didn't send it (I waited 7 months so I figured thats long enough for the
slowest of rebate processors). The rebate was sent within 2 weeks of
contacting the BBB.
University of ***ia, Dept of Chemical Engineering