MacDonalds Gift Cards - Blatant Rip-Off

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Bill Cowmeadow, Mar 3, 2005.

  1. Bill Cowmeadow

    Bill Cowmeadow Second Unit

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    I, along with thousands of other people rec'd a gift card for MacDonalds at christmastime. One minor problem, none of the Macdonalds I've been to will accept it. most have never heard of the cards...

    This seems like an un-ethical business practice to me, especially for a national chain. Or maybe it's a new business model, sell the card, but only allow them to be used in a couple of places. Great profit making potential.

    I'm somewhat pissed at MacDonalds for this little scheme.

    What do you think?
     
  2. LanieParker

    LanieParker Supporting Actor

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    I stopped eating out at fast food places, but I know that Burger King (who I thought was much better than Mickey D's anyway) will take any gift card from their company even if it has a different location on the card.

    I also know of someone else who is having trouble redeeming cards at Mickey D's.

    My advice, don't eat there.
     
  3. Leila Dougan

    Leila Dougan Screenwriter

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    I dunno, sounds like the typical franchisee-opt-in policy most chains hold. Now, why a lot of the franchises in your area do not accept the cards is beyond me. Maybe all the McDonalds in your area are owned by the same franchisee?

    I'd be more upset at the person who gave me the card for assuming that I'd even want to eat there.

    But I do empathize with the fact that you received a gift you cannot use. Why not head to http://www.mcdonalds.com/contact/contact_us.html and give 'em a piece of your mind?
     
  4. Jason L.

    Jason L. Second Unit

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    I worked for 4 years for a man who owned a Domino's Pizza franchise in a very expensive place to do business - Long Beach, NY.

    It was always a problem when Dominos ran nationwide advertisements or coupons - say two medium two topping pizzas for $11.99. These nationwide promotions just weren't designed for locales like ours.

    As a franchisee, he wasn't mandated to honor these promotions - and he didn't most of the time. He said that he would take a loss or make nothing on these deals.

    On the flip side, it would just piss off people who couldn't understand why they couldn't get the deal they just saw on TV or the coupon they had. As a result, our customer base dwindled over time to the point where he had to close the business and lost everything.

    There wasn't a really good solution to this, but I would have bit the bullet and given the customer what they wanted.
     
  5. BrettB

    BrettB Producer

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    Just curious, who gave you the GC? They live near you? Have you asked where they bought it?
     
  6. Bill Cowmeadow

    Bill Cowmeadow Second Unit

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    I got the card in Washington state. I live in California. I don't think it should make adifference to a national chain like MacDonalds.

    Thanks Leila,
    I just sent them a nasty, but respectful message.
     
  7. LarryDavenport

    LarryDavenport Cinematographer

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    The McDonalds on the Ave in Seattle used to have a sign out front saying they didn't offer the Dollar menu or any of the buy one get one free ads you'd see on TV. They eventually ran out of business.

    I had a sisimiliarroblem at the Johnny Rockets in the U-Village. I got really terrible service and complained to their corporate headquarters. I was surprised when they wrote back and gave me about a half dozen coupons for a free Rocket Double, fries, and Memediumrink (worth about $12 each). When I took one in to redeem, they told me that the offer was from corporate, and they (the U-Village branch, and all branches in Seattle) were franchises and they wouldn't honor the coupons. I wrote back to corporate, and I got the exact same letter and coupons in the mail.
     
  8. chris_everett

    chris_everett Second Unit

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    It's one thing to not honor a sale, or even coupons, but gift cards are generally considered "same as cash". I'm suprised that McD's won't honor them. I would not be suprised if corporate told them they had to.
     
  9. Paul_Medenwaldt

    Paul_Medenwaldt Supporting Actor

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    Maybe you want to make sure the person who gave it to you wasn't scammed. Does the card say MacDonalds or Mcdonalds? [​IMG]

    I'm not sure if Mcdonalds in our area are handing out cards or are still doing the certificates. I remember back in the 80's my family drove from Minnesota to New Jersey. We stopped in a suburb of Pittsburgh at a Mcdonalds. When I went up to order I asked for a McChicken and they had no idea what a McChicken was, even though it had been out for a few years in Minnesota. And over the years as i've traveled i've seen Mcdonalds with Hot Dogs, Pizza and other menu items that are not available in my area.

    Each area of the country seemd to have different menus and I would assume different policies regarding gift cards and gift certificates

    Paul
     
  10. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    Never heard of McDonald's gift cards. Most still don't take credit/debit cards, so they'd have no way to electronically process a card.

    Sounds like it was a local franchisee innovation and probably only good at those restaurants.

    EDIT: They're currently only testing this in a few markets. From the McDonald's website FAQ. (Did no one think to look there? [​IMG] )
     
  11. Joe Szott

    Joe Szott Screenwriter

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    It's a great idea for the chain that actually sells the card, terrible for the one that redeems it. Like if I buy a $50 card here in Denver and send it someone in New York ultimately:

    The Denver franchise made $50 and didn't have to produce a thing. Pure profit for them.

    The New York franchise didn't get the $50, but has to produce $50 worth of food. Pure loss for them.

    Now if all the gift card money went to corporate McD, then it would be a wash. But since it looks like this isn't the way they do it, it sounds like a major pain in the rear all the way around.
     
  12. SteveA

    SteveA Supporting Actor

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    Joe:

    I don't think that's how gift cards are handled by large retailers. I'm no accountant, but I remember hearing a lot of complaining during the holiday season about so-called "low sales number" by retailers because all the gift cards they were selling would not be counted as sales until they were redeemed. Until redemption, they would be counted as a liability on the company books. That leads me to believe that the store honoring the gift card receives compensation.

    Anyone with a retail background care to shed a little more light on this subject?
     
  13. Bryan X

    Bryan X Producer

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    I am an accountant and SteveA is right. When the store sells the Gift Card, a liability is recorded (along with the receipt of cash). When the Gift Card is redeemed, the liability is reduced and a sale is recorded.

    In this example, the Denver franchise would not recognize any revenue (sale) at all for this transaction. The New York franchise would.
     
  14. Bill Cowmeadow

    Bill Cowmeadow Second Unit

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    And this goes to heart of the matter. My relatives who purchased the gift cards have made a donation to the chain, and I, the recipient of the gift card can't redeem it.

    Yes, I could keep it in my wallet untill I find a MD's that will take it, but most people would discard it after it was rejected at a couple of places.

    A total scam, wrapped in the "testing this in a few markets" propaganda.

    I bet every card given to a person whom cannot redeem them has been discarded.

    I hope someone who bought and gave cards files a class action suit. MD's knowingly ripped them off.

    Bill
     
  15. Kyle McKnight

    Kyle McKnight Cinematographer

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    Does it not say anywhere on the card about being valid at participating locations? That would surprise me if it didn't. There's no reason someone should sue over this.
     
  16. Paul_Medenwaldt

    Paul_Medenwaldt Supporting Actor

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    I agree with Kyle, there certainly is no reason to sue over something so minor.

    Alot of places test market certain products before they go nationwide. I'm still not sure how Crystal Pepsi got by the test market.

    What if someone were to send you a shirt which included a gift receipt from a store that is not in your area? What if that shirt didn't fit you? I think this example fits this situation. We all get gifts we can't use or even want and most of the time we thank the givers and move on.

    Bill
    The best thing to do in this situation would be to either keep the card until its available in your area to use, send the card to a relative where the cards are accepted or let the person know who gave it to you that the cards are not accepted in your area and return the card and let them use it, have them send you something equal in value, like gift certificates.

    Paul
     
  17. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    If you read further down the FAQ, it provides options for people who may have been given cards, but cannot redeem them, to convert them into regular paper gift certs.

    Otherwise they suggest holding onto them as they will not lose their value and "it's only a matter of time" until all McDonald's restaurants are converted.

    So stick it in a drawer and a year or so from now...free food! [​IMG]
     

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