Online Gift Card Repurchasing: Reliable or Not?

March 27th, 2013 by Leave a reply »

gift cardMost people buy gift cards for others with the mentality the recipient will be able to find something they like – but unfortunately that optimistic perspective isn’t always reality. Plenty of people receive gift cards they know they won’t use or flat out don’t want, but don’t know what do with them. While asking friends and family if they’re interested in purchasing an unwanted card is an option, a number of websites offer gift card purchasing and reselling services.

How it Works

Sellers: Say you’ve won a $100 Cabela’s gift card from a drawing at work, but you don’t like Cabela’s and/or don’t live near one. Although you could spend time browsing their online selection, you’d rather have money instead. So, you find a gift card buyback site. They might offer you $80 or $90 for the card, so you decide to send it in and you get a check in return. Note that most sites require sold gift cards to be worth at least $25. Some sites even offer Amazon credit or let you trade your gift card in for another one.

Buyers: You’re looking to save some extra money on purchases and heard about gift card resell websites. You decide to check one out and notice you can get a KMart gift card for 10% off retail price, which essentially is the same thing as saving 10% at the store – only the gift card is treated as cash, so you can use other coupons on top of that for even more savings. You purchase it and wait for the plastic gift card to come in the mail or the eGift card code to come to your email inbox.

The Issues

The ease of ordering items online where you don’t have to physically swipe the card makes this process a little sketchy. For one, let’s say someone sells their gift card to one of these sites but writes down the number on the back before sending it in. The buyback company checks the balance. Then, the seller gets their check and watches for the card to be sold. Once they see it’s sold (or guess when it’s sold), they spend the gift card online. The new buyer of the card gets it, goes to use it, and the balance is zero.

Of course, some gift cards require that a PIN number is entered in order to use them, and most of the time that number is under a scratch-off surface. If that surface isn’t disrupted, there’s probably less of a chance the card will be compromised before the new seller is able to use it.

And sure, there probably are ways to tell if someone has cheated the system. A lot of the gift card resell websites touting themselves as reputable have been featured on national news networks and offer testimonials on their website. While that’s fine and dandy, it’s important to remember they are publishing their own testimonials, so there definitely is room for lots of bias there.

BBB and Other Reviews

We do think this concept is a great idea, so what we’ve decided to do is compile a list of the different websites along with their BBB rating and useful information so you can make an educated decision should you choose to use these services. While plenty of people post reviews online just to complain, the BBB process takes a little more work and it is a pretty credible source.

BBB rates businesses on a traditional grading scale from A – F. On each company’s BBB page, you can click on “Complaint Details” to see more information about the problems reported.

1. Plastic Jungle

Plastic Jungle is one of the most popular websites for gift card buyback and discount gift card purchasing, especially since they offer e-Gift card codes in addition to plastic cards. They are a BBB accredited business and have been since 2009.

Their current BBB grade is an A-. However, they have a record of BBB complaints, with 273 closed by the BBB in the last 3 years. According to their BBB page, some of the issues are as follows:

  • When redeeming purchased gift cards, the balance has been 0 or lower than expected
  • Sellers have not received their payment on time
  • Customer service has been slow to respond to issues and inquiries
On Reseller Ratings, their average score based on 100 reviews is a 3.5/10. Some reviews stated they were told the cards were fraudulent or stolen, even 12 months later.
PJ does offer a 60 day gift card guarantee for amounts up to $1,000, and promises refunds to customers who do not receive their payment on time or who receive a gift card with a zero/lower balance that was promised.

2. Gift Card Rescue

On their homepage, Gift Card Rescue boasts the popular news stations they’ve been featured on such as ABC and CBS. They also have a 60 day money-back guarantee and cover up to $1,000 like PJ does.

However, Gift Card Rescue’s time frames are a little different. For one, they say they are not able to “investigate or refund claims reported after 10 days” for missing cards. In addition, after receiving the gift card, customers have 7 days to make sure the balance of their card is correct.

Unlike PJ, they are not BBB accredited, and their current BBB rating is an F based on 54 complaints. The BBB page also notes their “failure to respond to 3 complaints filed against business.” There are 6 documented instances where the customer has not been satisfied with their response to the complaint, and two instances where they failed to resolve the complaint issues.

On Reseller Ratings, their average score based on 4 reviews is a 2.5/10. Some reviews stated they took too long to ship out the card and had an absence of customer service.

 3. Cardpool

Cardpool’s 100-day guarantee definitely rivals the 60-day guarantees of the two previous retailers. However, just like the previous two retailers, they have a $1,000 limit per customer.  Sellers can receive a check or Amazon credit. They also have been featured on a number of news media outlets.

Cardpool has been BBB accredited since 2012 and they have an A- rating based on 61 complaints, 56 of which have been closed in the past 12 months. The highest number of problems have been under delivery issues and problems with product or service.

On Reseller Ratings, their average score based on 4 reviews is a 3.75/10. Some reviews stated they took too long to ship out the card and had an absence of customer service. Some of the customers said they did not receive a payment, received a card with no balance, and had issues getting customer service to respond.

4. Card Cash’s homepage also contains a large section showing the news media outlets that have featured them. It is important to point out they have no return policy whatsoever. 

According to their BBB page, they’re also part of ABC Gift Cards. They have been BBB accredited since 2008 and have an A rating based on 86 complaints. The largest number of complaints are related to problems with their products or service. There were 9 instances where customers were not satisfied with their response.

On Reseller Ratings, their average score based on 5 reviews is a 0.01/10. Some reviewers said they took too long to send payment and did not respond to emails or phone calls. 

When to Buy Direct

The myriad issues we’ve presented related to these services might be enough for you to dismiss them entirely, but maybe not. If you’re selling a gift card, you might have better luck than if you are looking to purchase.

Based on our research and the guarantees for the companies listed, there are instances where buying the gift cards directly from the companies is a better option:

  • The gift card amount is less than $25
  • You or the person you’re buying the used gift card from might not use it soon after purchase (especially within 60 days)
  • You’re buying an eGift card
  • You want assurance the gift card will work and/or do not have the time nor the patience to deal with customer service should something go wrong
  • The gift card will be for a large amount, that is, $1,000 or more

Overall, while saving money is great, it might be worth it to be safe and buy a gift card directly from the company you’re interested in. And, we can’t help but add you can make new plastic gift card and eGift card purchases from our website. 

If you’ve had experiences with any of these companies, feel free to let us know in the comments!

About is a portal to the web's eGift cards promoting greener gift giving and reducing the use of wasteful plastic.


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