If you haven’t read Ulta, The Nightmare Before Christmas Part 1, you can catch yourself up HERE to find out how I got into this sticky predicament. Okay, onto the continuation of my story:
I am counting my lucky stars that my US-based friend is a regular Ulta shopper, and she graciously agreed to try and make the purchase for me. She sat down to fill up the virtual shopping cart as I sat there waiting on bated breath.
It. Did. Not. Work.
WTH! She got the exact error message that I did. “We are experiencing difficulty processing your order. Please try again later or use another payment method.” So much for completing the order from inside the US. What is wrong with this damned gift card?!
So here I was, placing yet another Skype call to Ulta Guest Services. At first, the representative was saying something about how the site is strict about the billing address needing to match the credit card’s billing address exactly. But then I reasoned that that shouldn’t even factor into this particular transaction, seeing as I am using a properly loaded Gift Card. (Even the e-mail response of their customer service representative informed me that my gift card is a-okay.) She, then, asked how many times I attempted to place the order using the gift card in question. 2-3 times. Then my friend must have also tried some 2-3 times on her end. She proceeded to tell me that the transaction requests probably got backed up, one-after-the-other, on the gift card. It must have automatically locked, and I would have to wait at least 48 hours to attempt another purchase.
So to recap: It probably didn’t work on my end due to placing the order from outside the US. It probably didn’t work on my friend’s end due to the card already locking itself by then?
At this point, you can probably imagine the frustration I am feeling. This happened over a span of two days, and the crazy sale I wanted to buy stuff from was well and truly over. I had no further use for the gift card anymore and was looking to explore refund options. But here’s the kicker: They cannot issue refunds over the phone. I would have to haul ass to an Ulta branch to speak with the store manager. I would apparently have to show receipts and the credit card as proof.
Seeing as it is physically impossible for me to personally go there and show my credit card, my friend agreed to bring the gift card on her next visit to the physical Ulta store. She even offered to buy the gift card from me, if she is able to make a purchase at the branch using it. I was more than happy to send her the gift card and a screencap of the receipt from Paypal.
We are basically enacting a scene from Ulta Gift Card’s own FAQs section:
I want a printed eGift Card to present to someone as a gift. How do I do this?
Simply personalize the eGift Card for your recipient, have it sent to yourself, and then print it. To do this, enter your own email address in the “Recipient’s Email” field. Enter your recipient’s name and your personal message on the gift card preview, and complete the transaction normally. You will receive an eGift Card alert via email. Follow the instructions in the email to retrieve your eGift Card, and then choose “Click to print this page.” The resulting printout may be presented as a gift to the recipient.
In a nutshell, the scenario is that of a foreign friend/relative purchasing a gift card for a friend in the US. Since the gift card is supposedly activated, then she should have no trouble coming in to the store to make a purchase after the 48 hours have elapsed. If it is still not possible to use the gift card, I don’t see why she cannot demand to get a refund (or at least a replacement gift card), going back to the reasoning that the gift card is as good as cash and the Paypal transaction was perfectly legit and went without a hitch. If someone gave you an active and verified gift card with money in it, I don’t see why they should make a fuss over where the payment for it came from.
To be continued…