COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – There are many benefits to gift cards, but what do you do with an unused gift card for a business that suddenly and unexpectedly closes its doors?
Before Eric Shawger left a West Chicago suburb for Johnstown, his favorite place to have lunch was the Corner Bakery Cafe. Fortunately for him, the franchise has two central locations in Ohio.
“When we moved here and it was only a mile away in the Polaris area, I thought,‘ Hey, that’s great, ’” Shawger said.
What’s even better, according to Shawger, is that in the summer of 2021, the restaurant is running a promotion – discounts for customers who buy gift cards. Instead of giving them to family or friends, though, Shawger used them on his own – a purchase he thought would save him a little money in the long run, until one day in January, when he traveled with Polaris.
“The day I went, expecting to get a lunch, they were completely closed, and lost their driving signs,” he said.
Shawger searched online and found that the Johnstown location was also closed, meaning he was covered in about $ 65 in unusable gift cards.
“And I was thinking,‘ Uh oh, now what am I going to do? ’” Shawger said. “So, I looked at the back of the card and I called the help desk, and sadly, as you’ve heard many times, they didn’t.”
Shawger added that he was told they could not give him a refund. So, Shawger said he called the corporate office and left several voicemails, but was never heard from.
“They would have liked it,” Shawger said. “With the amount of voicemails and online messages I left behind, they would have said, ‘Here’s the $ 75 amount, more than you lost and forgive us for your inconvenience.’ But I didn’t hear anything. ”
Shawger filed a complaint with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, then called Better Call 4.
Better Call 4 reached out to Corner Bakery Cafe multiple times, but there was no response. The attorney general’s office said they also reached out to customer service, but were also not heard from.
Until late April.
Shawger told Better Call 4, and was confirmed by the attorney general’s office, that Shawger had received a refund check for the full amount of the gift card’s remaining balance, $ 64.21, from the company’s office… something that originally Shawger said he expected.
“I’m happy to just get back the money I spent,” he said.
Better Call 4 asked the attorney general’s office about protections or actions that could be taken for consumers in the same Shawger area.
It is recommended to contact the business first. If that doesn’t work, file a complaint with the State Attorney General’s Office, the two steps Shawger took. Finally, if you are paying for a gift card using a credit card, dispute the fee with your credit card company. For more information about gift cards, see the Attorney General’s website