Dosh suspending some accounts for gift card purchases

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Doctor of Credit reported this morning that some Dosh app users have had their accounts suspended for making many gift card purchases. This is really unfortunate and isn’t a particularly customer-friendly way for Dosh to have handled this.

Dosh is a popular cash back app for card-linked offers. You sync your credit cards (Dosh encourages you to sync multiple) and then automatically get cash back when you shop at participating retailers. For example, I’ve “accidentally” gotten cash back at places like Advance Auto Parts and Dunkin’ without even realizing that they had offers available. Unlike Amex Offers or Chase Offers (or some Rakuten in-store offers), there is no intentional opting in or out of Dosh offers, Dosh just monitors your account for qualifying purchases and pays out cash back.

Dosh has long offered cash back at some retailers that sell gift cards. For example, they have offered cash back at Office Max for a long time now. While Dosh prohibits earning cash back on gift card purchases, they don’t provide a mechanism to turn their cash back on or off, so I guess users are supposed to either unlink and re-link cards before and after they intend to buy gift cards and/or not link credit cards that they might use for gift card purchases? There really isn’t a customer-friendly mechanism for handling this.

Unfortunately, rather than just claw back or void out cash back earned from gift card purchases, Dosh has suspended accounts of people they feel have abused the system. To be clear, not everyone who purchased gift cards has been suspended, but some have been. The word on the street is that you need at least the majority of your transactions to be non-gift-card purchases in order to be safe from suspension. I have no idea whether that’s true.

While Dosh does have this covered in their terms and it is certainly their prerogative to do business as they wish, I’m surprised they didn’t instead just either block gift card cash back or stop offering 2% at places where they see a lot of gift card purchases (or stop offering it at those stores for those people who are obviously buying a lot of gift cards, etc). There are a lot of ways to have solved this without suspending people who may have otherwise still been happy to use the app.

A key takeaway here is that it’s always a good idea to periodically cash out your cash back. I’ve been doing a better job of making a habit of that from the various cash back apps and shopping portals so that I don’t lose out if a company goes out of business or there is a freeze like this one.

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A. Non

Most of my activity has been at Office Depot for $398.90. I don’t hit those very hard, maybe just 3x purchases during a week when there’s a $15 off $300 promotion running.

They flagged my account earlier this month when I attempted to withdraw. Upon correspondence, they reactivated my account for withdrawals (I’ve withdrawn the entire balance since all were old enough to be eligible for withdraw). I see Office Depot 2% is no longer listed; I had previously favorited Office Depot and so I can still click on that favorite listing and be notified that the store does not currently have any offers.

All in all, that was a somewhat reasonable outcome. But they could have saved heartburn and effort on their part if when they identify you as potentially taking advantage of their non-enforcement, simply remove Office Depot offer from your Dosh account. Oh well.

bob

What did you tell them to get reactivated? They want receipts and other info over a similar amount of maybe 3x uses.

A. Non

Their initial response to my contacting them was to say if I had made a lot of purchases that were actually not gift cards, they would accept itemized receipts as evidence. They made no statement to me about wanting to see large amounts of other purchases.

I declined to offer such evidence but stated that I purchase items at stores all the time based on the value of the store’s pricing of those items, and it’s largely a matter between Office Depot and me if they want to sell something at a compelling price. And that I made such purchases prior to registering some of my credit cards with the Dosh app, and had continued to make such purchases, and I should not have to change my purchase behavior based on specific restrictions that Dosh wanted to impose. And if they want to change something going forward in response to their observations, such as such purchases no longer earning cashback, then as long as they announced those future changes, that would be fair, but retroactive changes were unfair.

I didn’t really expect my message to result in anything useful, but I’m pleased that they released my existing balance for withdrawal.

Dan

I go to Office Depot a lot for my office supplies, including copies. My Dosh activity shows that in the 2nd half of last year I did 6 transactions of $398.90 at Office Depot, 33 other transactions at Office Depot (most less than $20), and one or two non-OD purchases. Then, in Jan 2022 I did the Sam’s Club membership offer, and when I tried to cash that out, Dosh suspended my account for gift card purchases. They reinstated it after I sent them a letter explaining how their reasoning didn’t make sense, but the result is that I’ll unlink my card when I make gift card purchases and re-link it when I make other purchases.

BML

Account got suspended, majority Office Depot cashback, sigh… you won’t notice until you try to transfer out!

Kelly

how do they know what you are purchasing…do the get level 3 data from office depot now?

Nate

I would assume that they see that during our usual stints a good number of buyers have repeating $398.90 or 394.90 purchases.

Nate

All of my dosh rewards (and P2) were earned at OD/OM. Accounts remain active.

Philco

The accounts look normal until you try to transfer out. Just FYI.

Nate

I appreciate the heads up. Currently I have no way to test this as all of our accounts have a balance that’s less than $1. Knowing that, I’m concerned about spending anything and expecting to get dosh CB.