Longtime lurker, first-time poster. I'm hoping for a bit of advice, or even a take on whether I'm in the wrong or not.
I performed a shop at a local brewery for ACL where I basically just had to visit the retail store within the brewery, get help from an employee, and then make a small purchase. I performed this same exact shop in Feb, and it was pretty straightforward. The first time I performed this shop, I sent an email to the generic ACL support email asking for clarification on whether gift cards were an acceptable purchase or not. No one responded, so I went ahead with the shop, bought the gift card, filled out the report, and the shop was accepted.
Last week, I performed the same exact shop, and it was rejected because apparently a gift card is not an acceptable purchase. I responded back saying that I asked about this in the past, no one replied, and my previous shop was accepted. She says that guidelines change all the time and maybe it was acceptable in the past, but not anymore. I look up the guidelines for that shop, and the last time they were revised were Oct 2021. I performed these shops in Feb 2022 and Jul 2022. In theory, nothing should have changed. Again, she responds saying that ACL can't be expected to email all shoppers to let them know when exceptions to shops change.
I understand where ACL is coming from, since a gift card might not technically be a retail purchase, but I feel like I did my due diligence in this case and asked beforehand. But, oh well. Luckily, I can afford to be out $20, and it's not a big deal. It's just frustrating because of the principle of it all. End rant.
I do not know how long you have shopped for, but in my many years, I do not think that buying a gift card has ever been an acceptable purchase. Perhaps the editor from your February shop was sloppy and did not notice.
Yes, it sucks that if you did a shop and got accepted and paid, that if you did it again the same way, it is now invalid.
I will say ACL is pretty good with clear and well-written instrx/guidelines. Did you scan for key words? One thing I always do is scan for "gift" "cash" "coupon" because I want to see if anything is mentioned.
Did you try calling ACL? I don't think it's okay to say "you never responded" so I'll just go with that I wanted. There have been times emails don't go thru for whatever reason. Technology is not 100% perfect.
I'm not sure what the return policy is, but what if you bought something and returned it later? I'm guessing the guidelines state you cannot do that. But what's to stop someone else from returning your gift to them "wink...wink"
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/05/2022 08:22PM by hbbigdaddy.
I like ACL just fine, but they are known to be sticklers. Some people like them, and some just plain don't. Even though the guidelines generally say you can't return whatever on a shop involving a purchase, if they (or anybody else for that matter) rejects your shop, it is not going to be used, and the shop is off. So I'd return that purchase, if it is even allowed, and get my money back. It would grate me to lose money on a rejected shop as well.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/05/2022 10:33PM by GinnyLynn.
As a self-employed independent contractor, you are a business woman. You must have had at least an inkling the card was not a retail purchase, you later conceded the point, or you would not have sent the initial inquiry. Not receiving a reply, you assumed that non-action was permission to proceed and you luckily profited. Predicated upon that good fortune, you repeated your action and failed to be successful. I agree with the MSC's decision to withhold payment.
Thanks for the comments everyone! I essentially agree with what you've all said. I've been shopping for about 4.5 years at this point, and this was the first time something like this has happened, so it was a little disappointing, but I'll live. I'm just going to let this slide and move on. I can use the gift card to buy myself a couple beers and relax this weekend