Ohhh, a gift card, you shouldn't have... really.
January 2, 2014 5:40 PM   Subscribe

I received a gift card to a major retail store for Christmas from a family member. I am extremely grateful for the gift, but would prefer not to shop at this particular store for ethical reasons. What are your experiences with "gift card exchange" web sites?
posted by mrrisotto to Shopping (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
You can get a better rate selling the gift card on craigslist for cash if you're patient. Meet the buyer at the store in question where a cashier can verify the card amount.
posted by hamsterdam at 5:56 PM on January 2


I sold an Urban Outfitters (I'm in my 30s and really can't wear those clothes without looking ridiculous) gift card on cardpool last year with ease and success. If its for a local store, maybe try Craigslist?
posted by Nickel Pickle at 5:57 PM on January 2


I am extremely grateful for the gift, but would prefer not to shop at this particular store for ethical reasons.

Uhh, the shopping's already been done. Now you just have to collect whatever you want from them, free of charge. Now if their ethical violations are severe enough where you refuse to even step into their store, that's one thing, but trading the card for cash isn't going to affect their bottom line at all.
posted by dhammond at 6:30 PM on January 2 [29 favorites]


Regift!

Like dhamond said, the money is already theirs. Give the card to someone in need. Assuming it's a department store or clothing retailer: You know the "Giving Trees" that go up every Christmas and are decorated with the names of underprivileged children? Contact the organization that puts up those trees and see if there are any children still in need.

Or put it in a library book.

And kudos to you for shopping ethically.
posted by possumbrie at 6:45 PM on January 2 [5 favorites]


Read up on their return policy. Find out what you can get away with buying and exchanging for cash. [Computer software or DVDs are probably not those things.]
posted by oceanjesse at 6:45 PM on January 2


Uhh, the shopping's already been done. Now you just have to collect whatever you want from them, free of charge. Now if their ethical violations are severe enough where you refuse to even step into their store, that's one thing, but trading the card for cash isn't going to affect their bottom line at all.

This is not really true if the alternative is getting the card into the hands of someone who shops at the store anyway. The gift card will presumably offset some of that person's ordinary spending in that case.

I've sold cards outright before and would recommend that over trying to arrange a swap.
posted by payoto at 6:56 PM on January 2


Sell it on eBay or in person (note, don't purchase gift cards in person - there is a LOT of gift card fraud out there and retailers WILL track you down months after a transaction when they discover a card was purchased fraudulently - they are not all that sympathetic to the explanation "but I purchased it from someone I found on craigslist")

Odd note on selling gift cards on ebay - I recently got a huge refund from a retailer I shop from irregularly. I would have used the refund, but it would have taken 2 years or so. So I listed it on eBay...at the face value PLUS the cost of the ebay and paypal fees (you can figure out what they are here). Despite the fact that I was selling the gift card for something like 10% over retail, I sold it within two months.

Still can't figure that out, but gift cards sell over face value regularly.
posted by arnicae at 7:05 PM on January 2


An Alula "cash for your gift cards" kiosk appeared next to the Coinstar machine at my local supermarket recently. Their website is cagy about what they'll pay: "usually around 60-85% of face value".
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 7:59 PM on January 2


I've used CardCash 3 times. - quick, easy, no fuss.
posted by Sophie1 at 8:26 PM on January 2


You may be able to cash out at least part of the amount, by law, as follows:

California, as mentioned, will allow for gift card refunds under $10.
Colorado, Maine, and New Jersey allow gift card refunds under $5.
Rhode Island and Vermont allow gift card refunds under $1.
Massachusetts allows gift card refunds under $5 if 90% or more of the card's original value has been used.
Montana will require businesses to refund gift cards that hold under $5 only if the card's original value was more than $5.
Oregon does allow refunds for gift cards under $5 after one purchase but only under very specific circumstances. (The circumstances include if the gift card was given to you or sold to you for less than its cash value as a promotional offer from the business, if the provider uses services complying with the Federal Communications Act of 1934, or if the gift card was redeemed to an online account.)
Washington allows gift card refunds under $5, but only right after making a purchase in which the gift card total comes to less than $5 (from what I understand from the legalese).

posted by alexei at 9:21 PM on January 2


You may be able to buy one token thing, and get the rest in cash.

Many years ago, I got a $50 gift card for Lands End. Now, at the time, there was absolutely nothing that I wanted at Lands End. So, I bought a barrette for $2, took the $48 in change as cash, and went next door, where I used the cash to buy a Swiss Army Knife. I still have that knife.
posted by spinifex23 at 10:16 PM on January 2


Does the store you don't want to shop at sell gift cards to other places?

I recently used a Sears gift card to buy a restaurant gift card because I couldn't find anything at Sears I wanted to overpay for.
posted by Broken Ankle at 7:58 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


"Still can't figure that out, but gift cards sell over face value regularly."

Because it is a way to launder money.

That said, yeah, craigslist. But expect wary folks and what not -- does the card have the scratch off bit on the back still intact ? Is your goal to make as much as possible, or just get rid of the card and have something to show for it ?
posted by k5.user at 8:43 AM on January 3


There is an online thing called GiftCardZen.com that lets you buy and sell them.
Edit: Just checked and they offer 28$ on a 35$ value card.
posted by BrodieShadeTree at 9:10 AM on January 3


Another alternative is donating it to a food bank or other charity. They will be extremely grateful.
posted by stoneweaver at 12:14 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


On the possibility of donating it to charity, maybe you could donate to a charity that particularly counters the activities that cause you to have ethical issues with the retailer ie if it's sweatshop labour find a charity which campaigns to improve conditions or supports sweatshop workers. That way the effect of the money spent is counteracted.

If you would prefer not to donate the full amount you could sell the card and donate some of the proceeds.
posted by *becca* at 1:42 PM on January 4


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