eBay Drops the Axe on Gift Card Usage & Implements New Limits

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ebay gift card limits

eBay Gift Card Limits

Ah eBay. Truly one of the most difficult companies to like. I mean they do provide opportunity for good deals from time to time, but they often make life hard for buyers and even sellers. Let’s not even mention when they do crazy things like zero out your eBay Bucks balance for no reason.

One of the few positive developments on the eBay front these past few months has been the elimination of a hard limit on the use of eBay gift cards. Previously gift cards were tied to your PayPal account with a rolling limit. A few months ago gift cards switched over to a new system where they were tied to your eBay account with no limit except $1,000 per transaction.

A New Limit In Place

Unfortunately that has now changed. Yesterday I received the following tweet:

After investigating gift cards terms on eBay’s site (which were updated on July 15, 2016), I found the following:

During the first 90 days after registering an eBay account, no more than a total of $1,000 in Gift Cards may be redeemed. For eBay accounts greater than 90 days old, no more than a total of $2,000 in Gift Cards may be redeemed over any 60-day period.

This is a bad development for those of us who purchased large quantities of goods on eBay. Being limited to $2K per 60 days could be a huge drawback. Fortunately there is one sort of silver lining. Since eBay gift cards are tied to your eBay account, you can skirt this limit by having multiple eBay accounts. Whether this is allowed is another story. Take a look at what the eBay site says about it.

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On one hand it is alright to have multiple accounts, but if you open up multiple accounts to avoid limits or other restrictions then you are breaking the rules. I suspect no matter your motivations, if eBay thinks you are doing something wrong then they will ban your accounts, so this probably isn’t a good idea. Tread lightly as they say.

Conclusion

The deal universe giveth and taketh away. I personally am a little bummed by this new limit on the use of eBay gift cards, but it isn’t the complete end of the world I suppose. At least they still allow you to use eBay gift cards to purchase other gift cards, but who knows how long that will last.


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8 COMMENTS

  1. Have to adjust my old spreadsheet, at least the look-back time period is shorter! I have to run the Paypal report to see if the card data is still broken out easily. The math is mixed here, can do $6,000 in 180 days versus $5,000 (extra $2k per rolling year). But the shorter time/amount limits short-term purchases.
    I source for resale a lot of merchandise on Ebay and the discounted gift cards were gravy, never figured those (or Ebay Bucks/portals) into profitability calculations.

  2. Was worried by the title of the post but I never do more than $500 a month. The gas gift cards are great. Discounted ebay gift card turned into a discounted gas gift card gets you 10-15 percent off plus 5 points per dollar on the ebay gift card. Lots of points and saving without any reselling.

  3. I used to use eBay GCs to stack. About a year ago, they stopped working. I googled around and found I hit the limit. No worries, I wasn’t overexposed on them. Ever since then, I haven’t been able to use the GCs with any frequency or reliability. I had $150 in GCs left from the block a year ago, and I was able to use $50 about a month ago.. but the $100 won’t tie to anything. I just get the “We could not apply this code” on every order I try. Any ideas?

  4. And how are we to check our status? Is it retroactive or is it beginning yesterday? As usual, more questions than answers with ebay.

  5. I wonder if some enterprising class action lawyer could sue eBay. It seems to me that once you purchase a card, the issuer has no right to change the terms. After all, what if, after you purchased it, eBay decided you could only use it to pay for 50% of your order? That’s not the GC you bought.

    • “Subject to full terms and conditions at http://giftcard.ebay.com/terms-conditions
      Printed on the back of the physical card and likely the same as digital terms. This allows them to vary the terms as needed. May be some case law that precludes this behavior, but good luck with that. Arbitration is among the terms you accept by purchasing and using the cards.
      It should be no surprise that they have returned to similar terms that they had before spinning PayPal back off. The grace period, if you will, allowed them to get the systems up and running to track and restrict things. I suspect the new bullion restriction is an AML issue to keep the Feds happy.

  6. Whelp, for an instant, ebay was a better deal than amazon for the same priced items. You could get 1 mile at united or american, AND 2 miles from mileageplus x AND whatever credit card you wanted to get the points on (lets assume 1.5 membership rewards). so 4.5 miles per dollar. But now thats limited to only 2000 every 2 months. I’ll gladly have unlimited earning potential at amazon (or get 5% back with the store card)

    eBay is one of the least customer friendly websites out there. For a few weeks, I was purchasing 3k a day there for my company. I cringed everytime though, cause if any problems ever come up, eBay doesnt have your back. And if you use gift cards, well there is no credit card chargeback option.

    Less grey hairs with this option off the table I guess.

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