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N4T Investigators: Gift cards not a gift for some businesses - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

N4T Investigators: Gift cards not a gift for some businesses

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Every time Rachelle Bronson sees someone getting ready to pay with a gift card she gets a little nervous.

Mostly, because the last one alone cost her nearly $250.

"Ya know it's just hard. It's very hard to try and stay open and keep going when you have a small business and you lose money on things like this," said Bronson.

Bronson owns Sticky's Smoke Shop. She says what's happening is that more and more people are paying for products with what turns out to be stolen gift cards.

When Bronson rings them up she says the cards process normally, but then - sometimes weeks later - the cards get reported as stolen and Bronson is out however much was spent.

"There's no way to protect myself from these gift card thefts. We called them (credit card providers). We specifically asked them what can we do to protect ourselves from this threat. Their answer to us was I don't know. It's your problem.

News Four Tucson Investigators contacted Visa and MasterCard about Bronson's problem.

In an email response MasterCard says they have systems in place to deal with these so called "chargebacks".

"Protective measures are in place to prevent merchants from accepting or being responsible for gift card fraud," said a MasterCard spokesperson.

"Merchants have the right to "chargebacks" which enables them to dispute and fraud charges that they deem unfair. The fraudulent charge is then re-evaluated by the merchant, the merchant's bank, MasterCard and other involved parties and the decision could be partially or fully reversed." 

Bronson says she has tried to contest the fraudulent gift cards.

"They say oh fill out this dispute but you never win it," said Bronson.

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