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A Southern California family claims gift cards they bought at a Walmart in Chino turned out to have zero balances. Gadi Schwartz reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 6, 2014.
When Ken Mumper opened his prepaid Vanilla Mastercards that he was going to give as gifts to his family, he found Starbucks cards instead.
Not only were they the wrong cards, when he checked the balance on the cards, each one was blank.
Mumper took them back to the Chino Walmart – even left one unopened for the store manager to check.
“And she opened it and sure enough another Starbucks card,” Mumper said.
The Walmart manager told him that store officials were aware of the problem and yanked all the cards off store shelves – but the manager also said it wasn’t their fault and refused give him a refund.
“The fact they were aware that there was a problem but they were not willing to take responsibility for it was quite frustrating,” he said.
The store manager told him to call the Vanilla MasterCard distributor and after several hours on the phone he was told to go back to Walmart.
So he did.
“These large corporations sometimes they don’t care,” he said. “Their interest is only in the almighty buck.”
NBC4 returned to the same Walmart the day after Christmas to see if the cards were still being sold and within minutes found several of the same type of cards still on sale.
They each had a label that read "If tamper evident, do not purchase." But the packaging looked normal - no tears or use.
Inside one Mastercard was an American Express card.
Out of the 4 Vanilla Mastercards, NBC4 found two blank $25 Walmart gift cards. A third card was a blank American Express card.
And the fourth card was actually a used prepaid Vanilla MasterCard with only 2 cents left on the balance.
When NBC4 tried to get its money back, it was told several times over the course of several days, Walmart would not give us a refund.
Just like the Mumpers, NBC4 was told to call Vanilla MasterCard -- the distributor to get the money back.
“We have always bought at Walmart but if they won’t stand by their products and carry on like this during the holidays with a return ... as far as I’m concerned I am finished with the store,” he said.
A company executive with Vanilla MasterCard said he thought this was package tampering not during distribution -- but sometime after delivery.
He vowed to refund people who may have fallen victim.
For those who feel they’ve been victims of fraud or do not have a VanillaCard in their packaging, they can call: 877-770-6406.
The caller should have the card packaging, receipt and the card that was in the package.