09-19-2010 04:34 PM
My daughter received a number of gift cards for her birthday to use to populate her new nook. She loves to read and we encourage that. We loaded the gift cards on the accounts (per the site instructions) and started making purchases.
Twice over the course of a few gift cards we had orders that failed to complete. The authorizations (which hold funds on the gift cards) system for the gift cards is faulty and cannot handle multiple transactions in quick succession. I had a very rude customer service representative attempt to explain to me the issue. He suggested that I wait at least 1 minute between purchases so that their system could handle it appropriately. He went on to tell me how credit card systems work and that they have to hold more than the amount of the purchase for any purchase.
As luck would have it, I happen to design credit card software for a living. This is the reason I was so terribly disappointed in the failure rate of gift card redemption. The great majority of point of sale transactions hold the exact amount of funds (gas stations, restaurants and hotels being the obvious exceptions). Furthermore, it is not at all uncommon for two transactions to occur within a few seconds. If the gift card solution is unable to accommodate such transactions, it needs to be corrected.
I cannot believe a company would ask me to delay purchasing items with them to make it easier for them to handle the transactions appropriately. I now have to wait for the rude customer service rep to have his manager approve them backing out the failed transaction so that I can repurchase the book. Keep in mind that a valid gift card and credit card were on the account the entire time and I still cannot even repurchase the book on my credit card until they get this straightened out.
09-19-2010 05:32 PM
Happened to me too, I entered 2 gift cards into my account that I had received and started purchasing from my wish list. I had a $50 total gift card balance that I had planned to use on books to nearly the penny but ended up having my card charged for about $15 instead, because it didn't cycle through to the next card until a couple transactions later. Very frustrating but not much I can do about it, next time I'll just have to shop slower...
09-21-2010 12:19 AM
I had the same issue. I was buying several books in a series and was clicking buy now one after another. It appears that gift card funds were approved for one book but were actually used for the one I bought right afterwards leaving insufficient funds on the gift card for the first book. Since the purchase of the first book was approved on the gift card the system wouldn't allow any other form of payment and neither I or customer service could delete the inaccessible book from my account. After a number of call to tech support, one rep suggested I add funds to the gift card. I did so at a nearby B&N, called CS and they were then able to process the order. My lesson: don't order books on gift cards in rapid succession. I found CS to be friendly, but the system they were given to work with was pretty restrictive. Can't imagine why I or a CS rep shouldn't be able to delete a failed transaction from my elibrary.
09-21-2010 11:17 AM
Interesting stuff for me to know. I just got a gift card for my birthday yesterday. I will be sure to shop slowly, which is rather silly but whatever lol.
09-21-2010 09:05 PM
I love using a loaded gift card and haven't had any issues - but I don't usually purchase more than one book at a time. I put stuff into my Wish List and purchase from there or download sample and read before purchasing - which I guess must space it out enough not to have this problem...but then a lot of the stuff I buy is a mixture of new and re-purchase of books that I originally owned as DTB's that were culled due to a lack of space.
09-22-2010 11:22 AM
Thanks for the tip. I haven't had any problems with gift cards, but then I only loaded one at a time and didn't buy ebooks in bulk. Usually one here and one there. I agree that they really should rework this system as it is very odd to tell a customer "slow down". Most of the time a retailer wants you to shop as fast and as much as possible before you have a moment to think "am I buying too much".
09-22-2010 12:04 PM
Most of the time a retailer wants you to shop as fast and as much as possible before you have a moment to think "am I buying too much".
I did think that was the whole point of offering candy at the register, or having a section titled "you might also like" when you buy from a website lol. Kinda odd but with how slow the B&N site is for me anyway I doubt my gift card will have a problem keeping up.
09-22-2010 05:22 PM
I think the gift card issues comes from loading more than one, so it has to use up one and then move on to the other, there must be a lag time there. That's where the issue came for me. I purcahsed a bunch off my wish list and when it used up the first card it charged 3 to my credit card, and then started using the next gift card after that. I was peeved because I had planned out my purchases ahead of time to not total more than the gift cards.
09-22-2010 06:22 PM
I only have one gift card that I just keep reloading. I bet if you get other cards - say as a gift...you could probably go into a B&N and ask them to combine your cards so that you only have one if it helps to avoid that in the future.
09-24-2010 01:11 PM
Thanks for posting; this is very good to know. I'll be getting multiple gift cards in a week. I'll definitely have them consolidated into one at the store.
09-26-2010 12:36 PM
If their system cannot handle running transactions through multiple gift cards they should not have the option to hold multiple gift cards. That's just poor design, very poor design. Nothing is more frustrating than to see an option and then it doesn't work correctly or at all. I would rather not see the option until it is fully functional.
I certainly hope the money B&N is supposed to be putting into electronic sales is going into making a better webstore.
09-27-2010 11:30 AM
The system has always handled nook purchases across multiple cards for me without a hitch. And I don't feel I have been making my selctions at any particular speed, either fast or slow.
The response the OP was given is unacceptable. But it seems more like an on-the-fly response to a particular system glitch that shouldn't occur too often. Some CS reps (B&N and elsewhere) dread telling a customer "I don't know" and placing them on hold. They'd rather throw out a few ideas for the customer to try, rather than leave them hanging on the line.
I'm not saying this excuses the bad service, it just helps to explain it. They were trying to be helpful. They just didn't really think it through.
I think this (and other reported incidents/anecdotes) points to a sore need for intensive additional training for many B&N CS reps on the ins-and-outs of the nook. Not everything with it is a "technical support" issue. The first tier reps really need to get better in sorting the CS from the tech issues, and be better able to handle the minor, common issues as they come up.
Just my two cents.
09-27-2010 11:49 AM
It points to either a deficiency in the gift card processing system or an abject failure in CS training. The way in which the gift cards hold funds and seems consistent with the explanation given.
I love the nook and the selection of ebooks. It is sad that such a glitch makes it harder to enjoy both. While I will accommodate this issue, how do you explain to new customers that they need to keep this in mind? How many of them wouldn't call and just give up in frustration?
09-27-2010 11:51 AM
Some CS reps (B&N and elsewhere) dread telling a customer "I don't know" and placing them on hold. They'd rather throw out a few ideas for the customer to try, rather than leave them hanging on the line.
I have noticed this with a lot of customer service reps at lots of companies. There is nothing wrong with saying you don't know if you don't lol. I will gladly wait for you to find out for me rather than hear a bunch of things that are just guesses.
Luckily, I have had no problems with my gift cards so I assume it is a glitch that doesn't happen every time.
01-15-2011 01:42 PM
I use only one gift card and have it reloaded at my BN store. The system has bumped book purchases to my mastercard twice-even with a substantial amount on the gift card. I was making multiple purchases.I go to the store and they fix it.