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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.




When Customer Feedback Catches What’s Falling Through the Cracks – Update


Last week I shared a personal story about an experience I had with a major retailer, as it illustrated a great way for follow up on feedback can catch what might be falling through the cracks when it comes to customer issues/complaints. You can read the entire story here before you read the update on my experience….


As I left it, I had received a feedback survey via email asking about my experience with the customer service rep. Unfortunately, I had not had an experience because my inquiry went unanswered. I completed the feedback survey and explained the entire situation. I was hopeful that someone would read this and help me out.


Unfortunately, as of today, I have not gotten any type of response, and my issue remains unresolved. However, I have received several emails from the company, alerting me to specials, new products, and other promotional material.


I guess this is one issue that will go unresolved. I’m left to wonder if there are people on the other side reading the responses to the feedback surveys, or if this is just too busy of a time for them to properly staff that department. Perhaps they only look at the quantitative data without reading the comments? At any rate, it’s been an interesting experience, and one that drives home my point about using follow up with feedback/inquiries/complaints to make sure there are no issues going unresolved. This is a good example of what can happen if there is no quality control in place within a customer feedback department, and a good reminder for companies to continually review their processes in this area.