One of the main reasons I signed up for my Gap credit card was to get 5% back on my clothing purchases. They give this cash back in the form of reward certificates, which are issued in $10 increments. After my first billing cycle, I had accumulated $20 in reward certificates. I received the certificate in late September or early October. When I went to use it in late December, I was stunned to discover that it didn't work because the expiration date was October 31. Why would Gap send me a reward certificate that expired in one month?
Figuring it was either a mistake or a poor business practice, I wrote Gap a letter expressing my displeasure and enclosing my expired certificate. They wrote back promptly but sent me only $10 as a replacement, saying that it was not customary for them to reissue expired certificates. They basically ignored the issue I was upset about, which was that the coupon expired so shortly after the date it was issued to me.
To add to my frustration, the next reward certificate I received had an expiration date of December 2008! So it doesn't seem like Gap's policy is to send out certificates that expire faster than people can use them. If that's the case, why wouldn't they just replace my expired $20 certificate with a valid $20 certificate?
It does make a person wonder if the company might have intentionally sent out a bunch of expiring coupons, knowing that a few people would use them before they expired, most people wouldn't and would do nothing, and only a couple people would complain. The company could save thousands of dollars this way, and most people would suspect nothing, especially if the company only did it occasionally.
Between this incident and the hassle I went through last time I returned an item, Gap is starting to fall out of my good graces.
Be Careful When Returning Items Purchased With Coupons and Gift Cards
Sneaky Coupon Tricks
How I Get Coupons For Organic Products
My Thoughts On The Gap Store Credit Card
Never Pay Retail: 10 Things You Should Never Buy At Regular Price