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Poor Target – First A Breach, Then No Gift Cards


It seems when it rains, it pours.


You’ve very likely heard of Target’s breach of credit and debit cards used at their retail stores just following the Thanksgiving holiday. The retailer has communicated the issue very publicly, and has been working on pinpointing exactly what happened. Banks and credit card companies have been issuing new cards to those who may be affected, and it seemed like this was on its way to being a memory for the retailer.


And now this.
Reports today indicate that, during the holiday shopping season, gift cards may not have been rung up correctly, with the wrong code used. The result? Shoppers who received Target gift cards under their tree this year are finding that they are not valid upon reaching the checkout lane. The phone lines are again swamped, with customers getting different information – some appear to be told to call the number on the card for assistance, while others are saying that they can bring in a gift receipt for the gift card purchase and the issue will be fixed.


Target learned from its first issue and is working to increase capacity on the call center to work through issues and resolve customer complaints. They are also said to have sent clear instructions to the stores on how to activate the affected cards. Based on news reports, this has affected approximately 40,000 gift cards purchased.


I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I’ve gotten gift receipts for gift cards ever. Maybe they meant that you can ask the gift giver to provide you with the receipt showing that they purchased the card to get it properly activated. It’s a good thing I didn’t give any Target gift cards as gifts this year, because I’m not always great about keeping receipts.


I feel badly for Target, being hit with two major issues within weeks of each other. It seems that they learned from the first experience, though, and are quickly handling this newest issue so there is as little fallout as possible.