Over the past year, hundreds of you have asked Whistleblower for help. While we can’t investigate each tip, we want to share more of what you tell us. In 2009, we started publishing a few tips each week to stimulate online discussion and create ways for our readers to help each other. Unlike our news stories, we have not verified this information. If you have a tip, send it to whistleblower@startribune.com.

One thing that really irks Whistleblower readers is worthless gift cards. One woman had been waiting to use a gift certificate for a Minnetonka massage business, but by the time she called to schedule an appointment the storefront was shuttered and the voicemail said the owner had died. The voicemail was full and no one responded to a letter she sent requesting a refund.

It turned out that the business was a franchise of a local chain. When the woman checked in with another location to see if they would honor her gift certificate, she was told that she would still have to pay half the cost of the massage. “I suppose that is nice of them, but it’s not a deal for me,” the woman wrote to Whistleblower.

Is there any way to get reimbursed for an orphan gift card?

Update: Whistleblower received a call from a woman who said she is a former employee of the business. She offered to give the customer her massage.

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