A Chino, California Walmart customer claimed that he was sold four $100 Vanilla MasterCard gift cards that turned out to be Starbucks gift cards with no value. KNBC 4 Los Angeles reported that Ken Mumper purchased the cards as Christmas presents for his four children, and returned to the Chino Walmart when the swap was discovered. Ken left one of the four gift cards unopened to prove his case to the Walmart manager. He told the station, “And she opened it and sure enough another Starbucks card.”
The manager admitted that they knew there was a problem with the gift cards they were selling and said they would pull the cards from shelves, but she refused to issue a refund and told the customer to call the Vanilla MasterCard distributor.
“The fact they were aware there was a problem and they weren’t willing to take any responsibility for it was quite frustrating,” said an understandably aggravated Mr. Mumper. He called the distributor and spoke to them for several hours but was directed back to Walmart. Ken said, “These large corporations sometimes don’t, don’t care…Their interest only is in the almighty buck.”
KNBC 4 investigated the same Walmart location where Ken purchased his tampered gift cards and saw that not only were the same gift cards being sold, but found that cards they bought were also tampered with. Despite heeding the warning label on each reading, “If tamper evident, do not purchase,” and opening the undamaged packaging, they found evidence of tampering in four out of four prepaid Vanilla MasterCards they purchased.
Two were $25 Walmart gift cards with no value, one was an American Express gift card with no value, and the fourth was a used Vanilla MasterCard gift card with a value of $.02. When the station attempted to get a refund from Walmart over the next few days, they were denied.
Walmart also directed KNBC 4 to the Vanilla MasterCard distributor. When they spoke to an executive at Vanilla MasterCard, they denied the tampering happened at the distribution level, and told the station that it would have happened at the local level after the gift cards were delivered. For now the problem seems isolated to this one Walmart location in Chino, California, and the executive said that they have set up a hotline to field calls from those potential victims and vowed to refund their money. Those who feel they were victimized by the fraud should call 877-770-6406 and have their card packaging, receipt and the card they received.
As for Ken Mumper, he said his purchasing habits will change, “We’ve always bought at Walmart but if they won’t stand by their product and carry on like this during the holidays with a return then as far as I’m concerned I’m finished with the store.”
Video and more info: KNBC