Imagine going to the store to use some gifts cards and ending up handcuffed, headed to the police station. That's exactly what happened to one woman at a local store. NY1's Susan Jhun filed the following "NY1 For You" report.
Ilona Klaver had no idea when she walked into the Best Buy in NoHo, she would leave handcuffed in the back of a police car.
"I felt like I was a criminal, even though I didn't do anything," Klaver said.
The 24-year-old went to the store to purchase a DVD player with three American Express gift cards -- presents from her dad and brother. Two of them had a value of $100, the third worth $25.
When Klaver went to use the cards, the cashier wouldn't accept one of them because it didn't have raised numbers like the others.
Klaver says the cashier swiped the other two gift cards and accepted her debit card for the remaining balance of $180. After the transaction, Klaver says a manager came up to her and told her the gift card in question was connecting to someone else's credit card.
"I said, 'Let me call my brother,' and I called him and I got his credit card number that he bought it with cause I thought maybe that was the card number it was matching and he automatically was like, 'No that's not it, you must know someone who makes fake credit cards' and I go, 'What are you talking about?' He goes 'This is credit card fraud,'" Klaver said.
At that point, Klaver was escorted by two police officers into a security room. In tears, Klaver called her dad who told police he bought the gift card directly from American Express and gave them his credit card number but that wasn't enough to sway them.
Klaver says she was handcuffed, put into a police car, taken to the local precinct, searched and put into a holding cell for an hour.
"I could hear the cop on the other line with a supervisor from American Express saying 'Oh all three were purchased in California' because that's where my family lives and 'Oh, you make cards without raised numbers, Oh,'" Klaver said.
After that, the police let Klaver go. But on her way out she recognized another customer from the same Best Buy being brought in handcuffed.
"I said, 'Please let me talk to him, let me give him my phone number if he wants to discuss the matter' and he said, 'No it's different, they were MasterCard gift cards' -- like it makes a difference. So clearly it was Best Buy's internal system or something wasn't reading cards right," Klaver said.
Klaver went back to the store to get her $300 back but says she was told she needed to call American Express. She left without her money or DVD player.
"No one was apologetic," Klaver said.
Klaver called American Express but was told the money had already been charged by Best Buy. That's when she contacted "NY1 For You."
After placing a call to Best Buy, a company spokesman released the following statement:
"We are really sorry this incident occurred and send our deepest apologies to Ms. Klaver. When the card was rejected, the employee tried to...figure out why, but mistakenly provided the card issuer with the wrong card information."
Best Buy offered to refund Klaver but she declined and is now filing suit? against the company.
Meanwhile, American Express has sent Klaver $175 in gift cards as a goodwill gesture.
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