Thursday, January 15, 2009

The $15 Gift Card That Isn't: MYPOINTS $15 FTD GIFT CARD promotion is scandalous

I buy all of the Apple computers for myself and my customers through MYPOINTS.COM. I combine this with a VISA rewards program. It usually ends up kicking 7% of the purchase back to me. I recently had this experience with MYPOINTS.COM customer service and thought it was worth sharing:

I have been a member of the "read emails and shop online to get rewards" website MYPOINTS.COM for more than 5 years now. I have cashed in well over $2000 worth of rewards for gift cards over the years. Usually, each year around late October or early November, I cash in my points to get gift cards to do my Christmas shopping or to gift the cards as Christmas presents.

This year, I decided to cash in my points for smaller denomination gift cards to give to my teenage daughter because of a promotion that entailed receiving a "$15 FTD gift card" with every point redemption. I purposely used my points at a significant loss versus combining them to receive multiple "$15 FTD gift cards". No where on the MYPOINTS website is this promotion explained other than just this graphic on each page:



At each redemption confirmation page - you get a confirmation that you are going to receive your free "$15 FTD gift card" along with other cards redeemed.

I'll repeat, I purposely made my redemptions for lower amounts. I wanted to get enough cards to hopefully send my wife a nice bouquet of flowers to her work on her last day before her holiday break. Instead of redeeming for (2) $100 cards, I got (5) cards valued at $120 total ... a loss of $80 - but I figured I'd get $75 worth of FTD flower love.

I got the gift cards in during the first week of December - it was just a piece of black cardboard with "$15" and FTD on it. On the reverse is a website address:

http://www.ftd.com/ftdgift


So, essentially ... a website anyone can go to.

Well, here's the rub, I now had (5) of these cards with no way to combine them - the gift card - which is really just a direction to a promotional page - just has "flowers on sale". The page appears to have flowers that are normally priced at $29.99 - for $14.99 for example.



If one goes to FTD.COM - those same flowers are $19.99 - HUNDREDS IF NOT THOUSANDS OF coupon sites offer $5 to $10 discounts at FTD.COM. This means, if I just google a bit, I can find a better deal.

I emailed customer service on December 17th, 2008 as follows:

Hi,

I recently made a few orders for gift cards - excited about the advertised "BONUS" of an "FTD Gift card".

I purposely made smaller gift card purchases to get multiple cards.

I received a few of my gift cards the other day in the mail.

The "BONUS" is NOT a gift card - it is a website direction - where essentially ANYONE - even if they do not have a mypoints account can go. If I do try to use the "Gift Card promo" - it actually only amounts to $5 off as the prices have been jacked up with no promotional discounts applied ... a discount that is available essentially year round from multiple sources.

Example - instead of getting the $19.99 bouquet for $4.99 - one gets it for $14.99.

The $19.99 bouquet is on sale - but not on the www.ftd.com/ftdgift page.

So, not only is the promo not a value to the customer ... but the words "gift card" is misleading and makes
one think that the cards could:

A) Be combinable
B) Be a full $15 to the customer
C) Be of ANY value to a Mypoints customer.

I thought I would pass this along and just say that I am totally unsatisfied with this particular promotion and FTD AND
MYPOINTS should be ashamed.

Regards,
Philip Smith


No response. (Other than an automated "We got your email and will answer shortly" email)

I emailed again on December 29th, 2008.

No response. ((Other than an automated "We got your email and will answer shortly" email)

Finally, on January 7th I get this response from MYPOINTS customer service:

Dear Philip,

Thank you for contacting MyPoints Member Services.

We are sorry to hear that you are not happy with this free FTD gift. However, please keep in mind that this was given to you free of charge. It is MyPoints way of thanking you for being a loyal MyPoints member.

Since there is no code attached to the free $15 FTD Gift Card, you may use the same card multiple times. Therefore, you may go to the website listed on the free $15 FTD Gift Card as many times as you like to get a $15 discount on your FTD order. We apologize for any confusion!

Thank you for your participation in the MyPoints program! Please let us know if you have any more questions.

Sincerely,

Jermina M


I emailed again:

This reply did not answer my question at all.

There was no value in the card whatsoever ... it is a common discount ... that if one researches ... can get a better discount.

It is NOT a gift card as advertised ... a gift card means I receive the full value on the card and if I have multiple cards I can
combine them. This is not the case. Please address this issue properly and now address why it took 3 weeks to respond.

Thank you
Philip Smith


I received this response this morning:

Dear Philip,

Thank you for contacting Member Services.


We apologize if this promotion caused you any confusion. However, this was a free gift and we can not offer anything else. Thank you for your understanding.

Best Regards,

MyPoints Member Services


I feel so yucky!

I also emailed this complaint to The Consumerist and my attorney general.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

You'll find similiar problems with the $25 restruant.com gift cards. $25 dicount on a meal of $30 or more. limit 1 card per party -every 6 months!

fixyourthinking said...

At least restaurant.com certificates are full value discounts ... that being said I got "surprised" the first time I used one of those ... another restriction ... you cannot pay for the gratuity as you can with most gift cards AND 20% is automatically added.

Anonymous said...

I was burned by MyPoints too. They have a huge screaming banner that says "Receive a FREE $15 FTD Gift Card with every redemption!" on top of their site, but they don't go into details.

I would recommend everyone who gets burned by this submit a complaint to ftc.gov and your local attorney general. It is ILLEGAL for them to use phrases like "gift card" and "gift certificate" and to deliver something that does not work like a real gift card. I would save the email correspondence as evidence. A smart lawyer would have a very lucrative class action lawsuit on his hands.

MyPoints and FTD are owned by the same company (United Online), and obviously they are trying to scam us into using their company.

I know what I'm doing to get back at them: I'm using Upromise.Com and 1800flowers.Com (both are FAR superior companies at what they do that don't cheat their customers!).

Anonymous said...

"Both state and federal law prohibits the sale of gift cards and certificates in a deceptive manner, so it's illegal for sellers to conceal conditions, restrictions or fees."

This is from http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/press_releases/2008/1114_gift_certificate.shtml

Unfortunately, I'm afraid FTD and MyPoints is going to get away with it. When I surf the Web, it looks like a lot of people are getting duped.

Anonymous said...

Bitch, Bitch, Bitch what is the big deal about the company owning each other??

Safeway owns Vons, Albertsons owns Sav-On, Pepsi owns Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Frito Lay etc, etc.....

CompareRewards said...

I got my "$15 FTD gift card" in the mail last week and was also disappointed. The link is open to the public and it's not a stackable discount. I think it was misleading also.

FWIW, I have a contact at MyPoints and forwarded him the link to your post and asked for his comments. I hope that at the VERY least, he'll refund to your MyPoints account the points that you forfeited by taking multiple small redemptions vs. one larger one. Personally, though: I think they owe you a $75 FTD coupon code.

Appreciate your posting this and hope it draws attention to a very messed-up situation over at MyPoints.

fixyourthinking said...

thanks ... It does deserve a better response and more attention.

fixyourthinking said...

To Bitch, Bitch, Bitch:

Because collectively they should know better. Whoever thought of this promotion / collaboration should be fired.

Anonymous said...

I have a similar problem with it, I also choose to redeem my points for smaller amounts and I chose 6 gift cards for walmart for my three children and I only recieved one "giftcard" for ftd.

Anonymous said...

MLF - I got 1 of those "My Points" $15 off cards, and thought, " Great !! I can send my sister a Thank You gift for all that she does for our Mother and I and never complains "( we are both disabled and living on fixed incomes ). Then I went to the Net to use it, and fourtunately found this page. Thank You all for saving me money I don't have to waste. I will find another way to Thank her.

Anonymous said...

Hi,
I also got burned with several FTD cards I was going to use them to get my Granddaughter some flowers on Valentines Day. Very disappointed with myPoints have been a member for over 5 years.If anyone is going to do anything with this legally, count me in.

Anonymous said...

I agree! This was a very deceptive and worthless scam at best. I'm sure that it went something like this: "Hey let's sucker all the MyPoint idiots into buying flowers from us for Valentine's day" I feel very deceived and feel that MyPoints should do something to make this situation right.

Anonymous said...

You got this right!!! I too am very dissappointed in the way Mypoints has made us all think we were getting 15 dollar gift cards. I am not happy with this at all. I have been a member for 5 years and was saving points for gas cards and starting making smaller purchases to get some extra flower gift cards boy did i screw up. Found i could just go and goggle and find the same coupons, shame on mypoints!!!

Anonymous said...

I, too, must admit to being burned by MYPOINTS -- thinking I was going to purchase flowers with my two cards..and quickly discovered the link and cards being neither a special promo for loyal mypointers nor a good sale!!..I also cashed in my points for lower ended rewards to get these cards..bummer. perhaps this was a ploy to GET people to get rid of their higher points??

fixyourthinking said...

I haven't thought of it that way. The more I think about it though ... the more that seems plausible ... getting the people with 20,000 or more points to be duped into cashing out points at lower values as a "financial decision" ... I honestly think this should be investigated and then turned into a class action lawsuit.

Anonymous said...

i am so glad i found this site while searching for the free ftd $15 gift site,i never found a
special site as i thought it would be but i did find lots of comments
about the card,i have 2 of them and had planned to send my friend a really nice flower and card,she's going through a really hard time right now and i thought the flower would be a pick me upper for her,i guess she will not get the flower after all,this is so sad that they sent the gift cards this way,what a bummer

Anonymous said...

FTD rewards, what a joke try to go to the website and mcafee lites up my browser defender lites up & other warnings too. can't stack the cards, overpriced stuff.

fixyourthinking said...

Interesting ... I would imagine that's because there is a cookie access and wipe so you can't earn bonus points as described.

Anonymous said...

So much for saving on sending my father-in-law funeral flowers! It's bad enough I can't get bereavement fares anymore from the airlines!

Sandy said...

"WOW" I was going to use the card also. Than I read these commments. This gives me a different outlook at "MY POINTS" I thought they were honest. So disappointing.

Anonymous said...

MyPoints is part of a larger organization that includes FTD online and they are now huge SPAMMERS. Look at the bottom of every BonusMail you receive. In many of them in teeny tiny print, it says you have to opt out of future emails from this advertiser. Suddenly you are on all kinds of email lists you didn't opt in for PLUS many of these are sleazy companies that quickly sell your email address on. Opt out that is snuck into very fine print is not best practices for advertisers and makes BonusMail a huge pain in the ass because you have to check every email, even if it's not one you would click thru on, otherwise you'll be stuck with SPAM. Complain long and loud and especially make a complaint at FTC.gov. Every spam email you receive should go to SpamCop. Maybe when their advertisers get their IP addresses blocked for SPAM they'll change their completely shady business practices.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to thank you for telling this story- I just randomly came accross it while looking up FTD because I was going to order that same reward from Mypoints, and it sounds like if I had sone so I would be stuck for my mother's day gift to my mother. I am sorry to hear of what happened to you and SO HAPPY you shared it. Thank you for preventing others from getting duped into the same loss of points/worthless "reward"!!!