Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Amazing True Story of the $500 Gift Card

There are a couple of blogs I started reading when I got into the couponing thing. One of them, Life as Mom, has a great Frugal Fridays feature I always enjoy. Back in July, one of the links in that feature took me to Nicole's Nickles, and I began reading about her experience with online offers.

If you're even a little bit interested in doing an online offer or a $500 gift card or some other prize, you MUST read up first. Start with these:

In addition to those posts, I read every comment and FAQ I could get my hands on, and then I took the plunge.

On July 26, I created a new GMail address, sat down with my spreadsheet, and took about 2 hours to go through and complete my offers. I followed every rule -- copied and pasted all terms of service into a monster document, printed screenshots, whatever, and I carefully noted all cancellation dates.

The next 10 days were hard. My silver offers approved the next morning. Gold came a few days later. And then, right at the 10-day mark, my platinums approved. I printed, filled out, and mailed my paperwork.

At that point, Mr. WG became suspicious. A W9? What the heck for? Well, I'm a freelancer, and I fill them out all the time for my clients. It's reportable income.

I mailed my paperwork with delivery confirmation. I tracked it online. When I saw that it had arrived at the "pick up point," I waited, and two weeks later I emailed to ask them why my status hadn't changed. I got an email back telling me that they needed additional information -- they claimed my info didn't match up with my claimed info, and I needed to send a copy of my driver's license to prove I live at my address.

I faxed over the requested information with a detailed letter within an hour. By then, Mr. WG was in agony, convinced my identity was being stolen.

Two days later, my status online was updated to reflect that my gift had been processed and would be sent "within 6 to 8 weeks." And then, a week or so ago, FedEx dropped off my $500 gift card.

And that is the story.


Shosh said...

what were the offers you had to fulfill? and are you sure your identity isnt being stolen right now? a $500 gift card is really tempting, but i always worry that it's too good to be true.

DESJ and Company said...

Tell us more.
Hee hee it's me and Shosh, the bargainaires extraordinaires, harassing you :)

Jessie said...

this is fascinating... I've never actually gone through with signing up for everything and then remembering to cancel. The whole process seems daunting..

Ellen Seidman said...

Wow! A whole new world for me, I've never even bothered to try for any of that. But, yes, I'm a little suspicious, too.