This week, JB Hi-Fi began sending out texts to customers who had pre-ordered PS5 and Xbox Series X and Series S consoles. There’s been backlash for a number of reasons, including the revelation that gift cards won’t be an acceptable form of payment.
Other frustrations have included some customers being bumped from launch day delivery due to the sheer volume of orders. There has also been some confusion around when some customers will receive their consoles. However, this has been an issue across a number of online retailers.
The first round of texts from JB Hi-Fi went out on October 5, which was a public holiday in New South Wales.
“Your spot in the queue for your PS5 Console pre-order is confirmed! We’ll SMS you soon with a link to pay your remaining console balance. Pay by Mastercard, Visa or PayPal. Gift Cards not accepted. More info: https://jbhifi.com.au/2020consoles,” one of the texts read.
— Peter Anderson (@zerogeewhiz) October 4, 2020
Customers on social media were quick to declare that no such restrictions regarding gift card payments were disclosed at the point of sale. JB Hi-Fi did not say whether this was accurate when Gizmodo Australia contacted them.
The landing page sent to customers via text reiterates the lack of gift card payments available. However, the retailer’s gift card terms and conditions doesn’t state that there is restricted usage on certain products.
The original pre-order pages for the consoles don’t mention these restrictions either.
Unfortunately for customers who were planning on using gift cards to pay for their next-gen consoles, time may be running out. A fresh round of texts that went out on Wednesday implied that customers only have a few days to pay for their pre-order, otherwise they’ll lose their place in the queue.
“Great news! Your PS5 Playstation 5 Console pre-order is ready for final payment,” the text reads.
“Be quick and don’t lose your spot in the queue! Link expires Sunday 11 October 11:50pm (AEST).”
How can I lose my spot in a queue I’ve already paid for, @jbhifi?
— Peter Anderson (@zerogeewhiz) October 6, 2020
There has been some speculation that JB Hi-Fi is not accepting gift cards in this instance due a system bug, but that is yet to be proven.
When Gizmodo Australia contacted JB Hi-Fi for clarification this was the response from a customer service spokesperson via email:
“We can confirm the pre order payment can only be updated via Mastercard, Visa or PayPal as advised in the sms sent to you.
“Unfortunately gift cards are not be accepted as a payment method for this pre order via the link we send to you. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
According to consumer advocacy group CHOICE, JB Hi-Fi could be in hot water for not accepting gift cards.
“Gift cards are meant to operate like cash. Any onerous restrictions on gift card use have to be clearly explained at the time of purchase [of the gift cards],” Julia Steward, Head of Policy at CHOICE, said to Byteside.
“JB Hi-Fi is at real risk of breaching the consumer law here by misleading customers about gift card terms and conditions.”
And as per the ACCC’s website: “Businesses must clearly state: all conditions and restrictions on use of the gift card.”
According to customers, this was not the case when they put down deposits for the next-gen consoles. As for JB Hi-Fi, it didn’t answer this question when asked.
Gizmodo Australia has also reached out to the ACCC for comment.