Monday, 3 February 2014

The billion dollar scam….my two cents worth

My suspicions have been proven.  Over the years the amount of shops and services using gift cards has increased immeasurably.  Now, don’t get me wrong, gift cards are a great idea.  Some can be used in more than one location, the recipient can pick exactly what they would like, it makes it easier to buy for someone who is difficult to buy for and they make the perfect gift for someone living some distance away, so much easier to post. But I have a beef with gift cards and this goes back to the very first gift card I received some years ago… beef is that if not all of the gift is used, then the business or corporation wins….and wins big.  If one million people leave one cent on their gift card - that is one million dollars of pure profit for the company.  Then there is the fine print attached to some cards….must be used within a certain time….can’t be redeemed online….non transferrable….rules that definitely set many people up to fail which means a big win for business.

So my thoughts about the lost millions was correct….but was much more than I ever imagined after an article in the news recently that stated there was over 1.6 billion dollars of unused gift card credit in Australia.  1.6 billion dollars of pure profit that the companies have had to do no more than provide a plastic card and two minutes of salesperson income…..a good way to do business but not so good for consumers.  But how can consumers win?  Well, they can make sure they know the rules for the gift cards they receive, make sure they spend the whole amount (which usually means spending over the amount…another win win situation for businesses) and they have to remember to use them.

But what about all this extra cash….this 1.6 billion dollars??? A service or product has been paid for…shouldn’t a service or product be received??  A charity should be started where people can send their unwanted, unused and left over gift card balance so that cards can be pooled and the money used to benefit charities and those that need it.  Or imagine if companies donated even half of that profit to charity….that would be $800 million dollars….imagine how much help that would be to people in need and how much good that money could do.  Should companies be made liable for unused gift card cash or should they be applauded for good business??  Even if companies did donate half of left over gift card money to charity, that would still leave them with a hefty profit….and good karma. 

Personally I would be more inclined to support a company that donated a percentage of unused gift card cash than a company that didn’t.  And I would be more inclined to purchase gift cards from that company over others.  It would be like a gift that kept on giving…and if someone didn’t use their gift card…then at least you would know that someone needy would benefit and that it wouldn’t just go to an awesome bottom line for corporations.  I may look further into the unused gift card charity idea….something should be done…..


No comments:

Post a Comment