Aussies are being warned to think twice before buying Australia Post Gift Cards as presents this Christmas with hundreds of claims saying they fail to work as promised.
Frustrated customers have lashed out against the popular Mastercard gift card online calling them "useless" and "horrendous" with some even labelling it a "scam".
One customer Alyssa*, from Melbourne, Victoria, told Yahoo News Australia they're a "huge rip off" and said they barely work in any stores, despite claims they can be used "wherever Mastercard is accepted". She claimed she tried at Coles, Woolworths, Bunnings and Aldi and even various online stores, all without success.
"I don’t know who is benefiting from this scam, and it’s very much a scam. Probably not intentionally, but what I want to know is why [Australia Post] haven’t withdrawn these bloody cards," she fumed. The card is a "horrible present to be buying for someone", she added and urged others not to purchase them in the lead-up to Christmas.
Hundreds experience similar issues
Hundreds more share Alyssa's frustrations and have vented online, urging others not to buy the cards. The Australia Post Gift Card has racked up 232 reviews on Productreview.com.au and has been given a measly 1.2 stars out of five. Of the 232 reviews to date, 210 are one-star.
"It says it can be used online and 'seems' like it can be used anywhere a Mastercard is accepted, but like everyone else, I haven't been able to use them on any online sites, which is a real shame," one person wrote.
"This card is absolutely useless. Do not buy this card," another complained. "I received this card as a birthday gift. It has $50 loaded on it. I have tried using it at Bunnings, Coles and various other stores. DOES NOT ACCEPT the card. What a waste of time and money."
Another said the "card will not work no matter what I do" and claims it's been "rejected at every merchant I’ve tried". They also claimed Australia Post "refuses to help", and "refers me to MasterCard who act clueless".
'Perfect gift' for 'someone you hate'
Alyssa, who chose to stay anonymous, works for an engineering company, and each year at Christmas, staff are treated to a $250 or $500 Australia Post Gift Card. To date, the company has spent almost $25,000 on what they thought was the "perfect present", but many remain unused.
The 43-year-old has been purchasing the cards for both staff and clients since 2019, but she's only recently learned they "don't work" after someone finally told her. She has since stopped buying them.
"People have been too embarrassed to say 'hey, the card doesn't work' so they just go unused, "she explained.
Convinced some could have been "using them wrong" she decided to try them herself. That's when she discovered they "rarely work" before complaining to Australia Post.
"I went out and made myself a guinea pig. I tried them online, I tried them in stores and all different places. Sometimes the cards would work but the majority don’t," she said. In fact, Alyssa guessed that around 8 or 9 out of 10 didn't work, or "you make a $20 purchase and that’s it" the remaining amount was gone.
"It’s humiliating when you rack up all these things then you go to the checkout and the card doesn’t work. Then you’ve got to put it on your own card which you might not have been budgeting for," she said.
"The only person I would buy one of these cards for is someone I hated. Honestly, if you don’t like someone this is the perfect gift."
Australia Post responds to customer complaints
It's understood Australia Post has not been made aware of any issues regarding the cards, and customers are encouraged to seek help if needed.
"Every year, Australia Post sells a significant number of prepaid Gift Cards, from major retailers, cinemas, online stores and more," a spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia.
"The Australia Post Gift Card by Mastercard allows customers to load and use cards for online, over the phone, and in-store purchases wherever Mastercard is accepted," they said. "There are a small number of merchants that choose not to accept prepaid cards for payment."
Solution to frustrating problem
Some customers have found a way around the problem and said to use the Australia Post Gift Card to purchase a different one, which works, according to some.
"I used the funds from my Aus Post gift card to purchase another gift card through Gift Card Exchange. There are a few options to choose from. I bought an Amazon e-gift card which I then used successfully for my Amazon purchase," one explained. "I'd recommend doing this if you’re after online shopping."
"I just used a $400 Australia Post gift card to buy a Coles supermarket gift card for $400 via the Coles website. So to those others here who found you can't use the card *in-store*, you CAN still use the gift card to buy other gift cards online," another said.
*Name has been changed
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