Big Dunce of 2011 #3: Barnes & Noble

A few weeks ago I received a Barnes & Noble gift card as a thank you from a student. It was a totally unexpected and unnecessary gesture, and much appreciated. The other day I was organizing my desk and came across the card, so I decided to use it before it got lost. I picked out a couple of books from the Barnes & Noble website, but as I was going through the "check out" process the computer told me that the card's balance had been exhausted. That wasn't possible so I called customer service. The woman who took my call checked the card number and informed me that the card had never been activated. I pointed out that was an oversight of the store clerk, that she could see very well on her computer the card had not been used, and that why didn't she just credit me the $25 and let me pay for my books. Impossible. The person who bought the card would have to go to the store where the card was purchased with her receipt to get the problem fixed. I explained that was ridiculous, that I wasn't going to bother the person who gave me the card, that it was highly unlikely the receipt had been saved, and that, in any case, that was putting an unfair and unreasonable burden on the customer for a mistake made by the store. Tough luck! So I asked to speak with a supervisor.  The next person gave me pretty much the same story. I explained that the situation was akin to thievery, but they weren't interested. I've tried email, but so far I've only gotten two machine generated responses that are really insulting. This is BAD customer service and creates the impression of a horribly run corporation.

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