Today’s moment of gift card FAIL

Over the last year, I’ve accumulated several “one-shot” Visa credit cards in the form of “gift cards” and manufacturer rebates. I decided today would be the day I’d try to spend some of these. I went to one of my favorite online shopping destinations,, picked out some items, and went to go pay with these cards. This should be no big deal, right? Right???

Handful of Visa cards.

So, I picked out an item that I couldn’t pay for with a single gift card. No problem, I’ll just tell Amazon to charge two of these cards and that would be that, right? Only, I discover that I can only choose one credit card to pay for the transaction. Ha, ha, this must be a joke, right? It’s 2009, you can’t expect me to believe that the company that basically pioneered e-commerce hasn’t figured out how to implement split billing?

Out of disappointment, I decided to locate the same item on, where I discovered that they also only allow you to choose one credit card as payment. I did notice that both Amazon and allow you to use multiple site-specific gift certificates to pay for an order, so I decided to work around the problem by ordering a gift certificate for $50, the value of one of my Visa gift cards. I chose email fulfillment, figuring that I’d soon receive the necessary information by email to redeem my card and be done.

How can an e-product be “on backorder”?

Estimated ship date: Back Order???

When I received my order confirmation email from, this is what I saw. Try to appreciate the moment of WTF I experienced as I tried to believe what I was reading. An emailed gift certificate was on back-order??! Are you kidding me? What, did they run out of electrons or bytes in the warehouse?

I tried to attribute this to some bug in their order confirmation email process, so I waited for an hour for a second email, which would never arrive, containing the gift certificate. Finally, I gave up and went back to and cancelled my order.

Does do any better? I’m not sure. I just noticed this fine print on their gift certificate order page:

* Note: For security purposes, e-mail gift cards and printable gift cards may go under a 24-hour review process while payment information is verified.

I don’t know what to do, at this point. Have any of you been in this situation, trying to make a purchase using multiple credit cards? Should I just bite the bullet and purchase these gift certificates and wait 24 hours? Are there any better solutions? Please, help me out, leave me a comment with your best suggestions.


  1. I redeemed an electronic gift certificate from Amazon within 24 hours of purchase when I found The Gift for the intended receipient. That was only one gift certificate and it was purchased with a credit card already on account with Amazon. I suspect their fraud system worries more about what you want to do: make multiple gift certificate purchases with multiple previously untested payment sources. Also, the Visa you used for the Best Buy certificate might still have the $50 locked, which could show up in their fraud system and further make you look Suspicious.

    As usual, your two best options are (1) do it and see what happens or (2) call them. I called Barnes & Noble because their website could only accept up to four gift cards and I had six. They were able to concatenate the balances into one card and give me the new number over the phone. I’ve never called Amazon, but if you do, I’ll be interested in hearing about the quality of their telephone customer service.

    Good luck,


  2. I hate to go back to the 80s here, but can you phone in an order with multiple credit cards?

  3. I’m an old fashioned type of lady, you might not like my advice too much, but in these financially strapped days, you can’t get much value from online “new retail” shopping experiences no matter what the marketuing gurus try to sell you.

    The better values lie in the antique malls, vintage and used shops, thrift stores (YES! the really nice ones like Unique,Value Village, and some large chains) accept credit cards, the gift cards, and will be more than happy to work with you! You’ll be able to find new books, and I mean NEW, with barely handled covers, maybe 1-2 weeks off the retail store shelves!

    ( Clothing still with tags on them, items in sealed boxes, gifts, candles, cards, stationery,jewelry (sterling silver and gold-where do you think I find antiques to re-sell?) and you meet some helpful sales people in the process.

    Why, in the world, would you want to experience the frustration of being confused, having your cards rejected, having a simple transaction go haywire, and not even have a pleasant experience come out of it, after the 30 minute investment of your time?

    Get out of the house, and enjoy those funny cards, get them redeemed at a place where you can get some “value” out of them! You might even be able to buy tons of holiday gifts for friends and family and “save” even more!
    (hope this wasn’t too offensive-I’m such an old bag lady,lol!)

    • Unfortunately, I’m a geek and the kind of things I want to buy aren’t readily available in brick-and-mortar shops. Otherwise, absolutely, I’d just take these cards out and use them – definitely!

      Thanks for the comment.

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