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Published on October 26th, 2010 | by Janine Popick

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Avoid These Gift Certificate Blunders

In light of the looming holiday season where many businesses will offer gift certificates both online and off, I’d like to mention two specific gift certificate-related blunders (imo) that happened to me recently. Comment below if you have your own so all of our businesses can learn from each other.

Kiva Rats You Out

First of all I love the idea of Kiva. Kiva empowers individuals to lend to an entrepreneur across the globe. By combining microfinance with the internet, Kiva is creating a global community of people connected through lending. And normally these entrepreneurs are in impoverished countries. It’s brilliant really. And I was lucky enough to have a very good friend give me a $100 Kiva gift certificate for my birthday about a month and a half ago. Pretty cool on both fronts.

So a few days ago I got an email from Kiva reminding me to use my gift certificate. I will, I just haven’t gotten around to it. But unbeknownst to me, Kiva sent my good friend an email telling her that I hadn’t used it yet!

Gift Certificate

Dear Kiva, I will use this, but I have an entire year so will you be sending my friend monthly reminders as long as I don’t use it? A bit overkill in my opinion. I understand Kiva wants me to get the money to these worthy businesses, but a reminder to me is all I really needed.

Bliss Emails Your Credit Card Info!

This one is the worst offense I can think of. My friend Sarah has been working really hard. She’s a chef at a famous restaurant here in San Francisco. So for her birthday I decided that she needed a spa day badly. I didn’t have time to get to the Bliss Spa, so I purchased a gift certificate from their site and figured they’d be able to send her a GC by email.

The spa day was a hit! But, Sarah was horrified when she got the gift certificate in her email. Why? Because Bliss Spa includes your credit card number on the gift certificate!!

This is bad for a number of reasons the worst of which is that email is not secure so sending credit card information via email is not a good idea whatsoever (and the reason why when you do get an email with credit card information most business use only the last few digits of the credit card.)

Bliss Gift Certificate

Got any gift certificate no-no’s you’d like to share?

© 2010 – 2012, Janine Popick. All rights reserved.

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is a contributing author for VerticalResponse.



3 Responses to Avoid These Gift Certificate Blunders

  1. mbts says:

    I love Kiva but I think they missed the boat on this one too. Don’t ever, ever make me look bad.

  2. I think gift certificates are great too. Lots of people already have too much junk, and gift certificates make a great gift, especially if you give a certificate for something consumable. At my area of business, I have gift certificates printed on postcards and have them ready to give out to customers.

  3. Mitch Tarr says:

    I love Kiva but I think they missed the boat on this one too. Don’t ever, ever make me look bad.

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