MODESTO (CBS13) — Larry Durham said he was turned away from buying Visa gift cards, because he wanted to pay with a Visa credit card.
He said two Modesto grocery stores denied him.
Larry was attempting to buy $500 in Visa gift cards for family.
But, he said Raley’s told him he couldn’t pay using a Visa credit card; they would only accept cash or money order.
“I was flabbergasted,” Larry said. “We don’t carry $500 in cash with us!”
He said Save Mart told him the same thing.
“Why go through all this bologna if you have to give the cash [as gifts] anyway, just give them the cash,” Larry said. “What’s the purpose of the gift card then?”
We sent our undercover producer into the same grocery stores.
At Save Mart, we were told Visa gift cards can only be purchased using a debit card or cash.
“Is that Save Mart’s rules?” Our undercover producer asked.
“It’s everywhere.” Save Mart’s cashier responded.
But, we found it was a different story when we went to Raley’s.
“I can use a credit card to buy that?” Our undercover producer asked, showing the cashier the Visa gift card.
“You can, as long as you have your ID with you.” The Raley’s cashier said.
So, are credit cards ok to use or not?
Consumer advocate Joe Ridout said not every store has a no-credit card policy.
However, he said some stores have created a policy, because bad guys are buying up gift cards fraudulently on credit.
“There is a legitimate fraud prevention element to it,” Ridout said.
Also, he said some people are racking up rewards points on their credit cards, some with cash benefits.
“People are making money this way?” Kurtis Ming asked.
“Some people do, and stores are trying to prevent this and close this loophole.” Ridout said.
We reached out to Raley’s; the company told us it “…does accept Visa credit cards as payment for Visa gift cards.” But, in Larry’s case, they admitted “…the clerk made a one-time error.”
Save Mart confirmed that it does not allow credit cards to be used. They said the policy “…helps minimize the risk of credit card fraud against the company.” However, the company “…accepts cash and debit cards for the purchase of …Visa, American Express and MasterCard gift cards.”
“Well, that’s nice. Other people don’t know about it!” Larry said.
He ended up paying cash for his Visa gift cards, but thinks these stores’ policies should be posted before you get to the register.
“The very least you can do is put a sign up,” Larry said.
Visa told us it has no rules dictating how gift cards can be purchased. They said you can use a Visa or any other credit card to buy them.
Save Mart said it accepts credit cards for individual retail store gift cards, but money orders are not accepted “…for any purchase of any items at check-out.”
Many gift cards that have Visa, MasterCard or American Express logos charge fees up to $6.95.
We conducted the undercover work for this report in January.