A LoyaltyLobby reader sent us a message on Twitter DM regarding their situation with Marriott eGiftCards purchased back in 2020.
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Here’s the message from the reader:
I am desperately need help from you or your advice! I purchased 3 x US$1,000 egift cards in 05/2020 through Marriott official website when there was 20% off sale. Then I have registered them in the online account immediately.
Due to covid, I didn’t travel much so I only used them for one night hotel ~US$100 Waterloo last year so it should have remaining balance of US$2,900 (1xUS$900 + 2xUS1,000).
Last week when I was planning for the Victoria Day long weekend trip so I logged into the account to check. It was shocked, as about U$2,500 were gone and there were three transactions in US posted to my three gift cards. I reported to Marriot Gift Card customer service line, the representative seemed familiar with this similar case for unauthorized use of gift card (I don’t know what to describe, I didn’t lose of misplace these egift cards as they were untouched since I purchased). He was soothing me follow his steps and I should be able to receive Marriott Refunds within two weeks. He said people reside international might take longer time. I was told this is the first case he handled from Canada..
Afterwards, I followed the step to report to local police in York Region and sent the online report to Marriott to escalate to back support team for investigation. Upon that time (5/19), I was told the step 1 was completed. He told me not to worry and I should get my lost money be refunded.
Today, I received email from Marriott support team and notified me that they do not response any lost, stolen gift cards as per terms and conditions. I was quite upset. I did everything I can do but I don’t know what else I can do to get my money back?
Some questions here:
1. Marriott Gift card representatives were not surprised and very experienced on handling the case when I called in. He even told me the timeline for two weeks to get refunds so I suspect more cases they received similar to this. While others can get refund why not me? Was it because I am a Canadian and can’t file a US police report? (I was told I am the first one from Canada he received the report ) I was hoping to find something online for gift cards unauthorized transaction while the cards never been lost but I couldn’t.
2. I have been keeping these egift cards secured:
a. The egift cards were purchased directly through Marriot website and delivered to my gmail account. My gmail account is secured and never had an issue.
b. I printed them out at the time I received in email and the original print outs are never been left my house.
c. I have registered all three e-gift cards in the Marriott online account as required. The online account only show partial gift card numbers and no PIN so even if someone hack to my online account they can’t not get the gift cards details and can’t use them.
d. The only place I can think is the Marriott data bleach for the gift cards system but they do not admit in public for the data bleach on gift cards info (but from my conversation with the representative they received a lot of these calls and many have received money back in two weeks)
3. I think E-gift cards vs. plastic gift cards are different. Plastic gift cards are like cash for possession. The pin is covered so I can agree more if someone have it lost physically then just like lost cash. However, e-gift cards are different. It sent through email and I have kept securely (never used). I registered. When it used by someone there is no alert (email or text) so I can act right away.
There is indeed nothing I can do to prevent this happen. I don’t know what else I can do.. the email I received today from support team Marriott gift cards was telling me no refunds and that is it! I am so lonely and so desperate too! Hope you can help me, anything or any idea may help!
I was chatting with the reader after the initial message via Twitter DMs. I also contacted Marriott’s spokesperson, who was unaware that anything unusual would occur with its branded gift cards that an outside company handles.
There were many issues with Hyatt electronic gift cards in the past that were breached left and right, but this was the first case I have ever come across with Marriott ones.
These Marriott electronic gift cards are sent through email that contains the card number and four-digit PIN. The hotel associate needs to type these in, withdraw the balance from the card, and then apply it towards the balance on the folio.
This is quite a complicated process, and international properties are not very used to it (it takes quite a bit of time when checking out).
I am not familiar with the T&Cs associated with the Marriott electronic gift cards and what procedures they have in place for fraudulently used ones.
Many of the gift cards are pretty insecure. As long as you have the card number and the pin, you can use the funds. They are not tied to any person.
I hope that Marriott or the company they use to issue these cards find a resolution to the reader’s issue.
Are there others readers who have ended up with compromised Marriott gift cards?