Gift Card Alert

What I am about to explain to you is not a joke. In fact the hidden write up is not known to most of us who received a Visa or MasterCard gift card for Christmas. Don’s daughter says the ‘paper’ that comes with the card was folded about 12 x’s and was unreadable (print waAAAAY too small).

We went out to dinner with Don’s daughter, Carole, in Penticton and used the Visa gift card she and her brother, Trevor, had given us for Christmas. The bill was $9.00 more than the amount of the card, so Don told the server he would pay cash for the balance as well as the tip. Fine. Right? Not so.

The server returned and told us the card was declined. Okay, a little embarrassment here but we paid and left. We double checked the receipt that Carole had (thank goodness) and it showed she has paid the activation charge of $6.50. When we got home Don kept trying to check it out on-line and it kept coming back as invalid.

Next morning, after several calls to Carole (now back in Vancouver) and we were now going to send the card back to them and see if the store would honour the transaction even though the numbers on the receipt and card weren’t matching. Don got through to someone (FINALLY) who told him the phone number on the card was for the USA not Canada and gave him the correct number to call. This he did and it turns out: LISTEN AND LEARN HERE. The deal is the card  automatically takes a 15% “gratuity” before you actually get to use the card. So….

If you tip the server/or service they are getting it twice.  Here it goes again.

  1. activation charge at time of purchase (differs depending on dollar amount)
  2. 15% charge taken before any charges applied to card
  3. another ‘fee’ if you will, taken when you tip.

If it is a gift card say, to the Bay, or Bentley Luggage that is good. No extra fee taken here.


Best way: Don’t use the Visa or MasterCard gift cards. The only winner is the one who takes the card not uses the card.


1 thought on “Gift Card Alert

  1. Did some research on this. It’s called “Tip Tolerance”. What is happening is that Visa automatically adds an “authorization” of 20% at the time of submission at a restaurant.

    It doesn’t get charged to the card, it’s only an authorization. If the Amount + the 20% is over the card limit, it will get declined obviously, because the card itself has a fixed limit.

    This site explains it perfectly. Once you understand, it’s OK.

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