New eBay Gift Card Purchase Rules: What You Need to Know When Buying Discounted Gift Cards on eBay

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eBay Gift Card Purchase Rules

eBay Gift Card Purchase Rules

I often cover eBay gift card deals on Miles to Memories and over at Frequent Miler’s Quick Deals. Unfortunately lately many readers have run into problems when trying to purchase these gift cards. It seems that eBay and PayPal have a number of rules in place to restrict purchases. Today I want to talk about PayPal Digital Gifts (a popular eBay seller) and new rules put in place on gift card purchases. Hopefully this post will help those of you who have run into issues when trying to buy discounted gift cards.

PayPal Digital Gifts & Why They Are Attractive

eBay Gift Card Purchase Rules

PayPal Digital Gifts is probably the largest seller of discounted gift cards on eBay and they often have the best deals. For example, right now you can purchase a $200 Sears gift card for $170. When you combine this deal with eBay Bucks and portal rewards then the savings is even greater.

Purchases from PayPal Digital Gifts also earn 5X Ultimate Rewards points when you pay with a Chase Ink card via PayPal. For example on the Sears deal above you can earn up to 8% in eBay Bucks (targeted), 2% in portal cashback and 5X Ultimate Rewards on top of the discount built in. For many, that sort of discount is very attractive.

PayPal Digital Gifts Rules

Up until this week PayPal was limiting buyers to four gift cards per ten day period. Thankfully that limit seems to have been removed and it is now possible to purchase an unlimited amount of gift cards from them. Many people are still running into issues though. A common problem I have heard of is people being asked to verify their PayPal account over and over again in a loop. After verifying a few times I finally made it out of the loop, but others weren’t so lucky.

A New Daily Gift Card Limit

In addition to the PayPal Digital Gifts limit, it seems eBay has a new limit of their own. Yesterday a reader reached out to me because his buying privileges had been temporarily suspended after buying gift cards. Specifically this is what he saw when he logged into his account:

eBay Gift Card Purchase Rules

This reader then called eBay and went through the process of getting transferred to a senior rep so they could investigate the error code above. After taking some information, the rep called my reader back and gave him the following info:

  • eBay is now limiting the number of gift cards you can purchase in one day for some people. (See the comments since others haven’t run into this restriction.)
  • If you encounter the code above, your account should reset at midnight and you should be able to purchase more cards.

It isn’t evident if this new daily limit applies to only discounted gift cards or to full price gift cards as well. All we know is that eBay and PayPal continue to throw wrenches out there to slow gift card purchasers down and it is resulting in many frustrations.

Using eBay Gift Cards

Another restriction that was lifted this week comes to using eBay gift cards to pay. Previously you were limited to using no more than $5,000 in eBay gift cards per rolling six month period. That limit has now been lifted and the only limit is $1,000 in eBay gift cards per transaction. You can also not use more than 8 eBay gift cards to pay per purchase.

Takeaways

Here are a few takeaways to keep in mind when buying or using gift cards on eBay:

  • There is no rhyme or reason to what eBay and PayPal does. Thankfully it seems that many of the restrictions for buying gift cards have been lifted, but some people are still running into issues.
  • If you end up having your buying privileges temporarily restricted due to purchasing too many cards, then your account should reset a Midnight Pacific.
  • You can now use up to $1,000 and 8 eBay gift cards per purchase. The $5,000 limit per six months has seemingly been removed.

Conclusion

For many, dealing with PayPal Digital Gifts and eBay for gift card purchases simply isn’t worth the hassle, but the recent positive developments do help to ease the pain. I’m happy to see some of these limits lifted and now I wish they could fix their system to get rid of the many errors people run into.

Do you have any data points or insights you have learned the hard way? Please let us know in the comments!


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28 COMMENTS

  1. I thought I was just going crazy. Last fall I was buying $1000s of sw gift cards during ebay bucks multiplier days. Starting in Jan I was restricted to $200 per day! I still can buy more than $200 from ppdg

  2. I was able (after many errors and verifications) to purchase 12 GC”s yesterday in one transaction. However, it’s now been 24 hours and I haven’t received ONE code. My CC was charged the full amount (pending, obviously) but everything seemed to have worked based on emails and what’s in my ebay account. Not sure how I managed it though and I wouldn’t call it a success until I have all 12 codes.

    • I am having a similar experience after purchasing (8) Sears gc’s — (4) x $100 and (4) x $200 — in one transaction on March 14th. I called PayPal Digital Gifts this morning, and was told that they will escalate the matter to their support team, but warned that they may have to cancel and refund the order since they are not receiving any codes from Sears. Based on the fact that the $100 denomination of the same gift card(s) are still listed on eBay, albeit at regular price, perhaps they are fabricating this information to shift the blame to Sears as they choose not to fulfill the order. Have you received your redemption codes as of yet?

      • I did get my codes yesterday morning around 6am. I hope you did too! I would have been pretty upset since the discount is gone as well as the ebay bucks offer.

  3. That’s not correct for all accounts. I was able to buy 6 gift cards(4 Sears+ 2 Kmart) yesterday from PayPal Digital.

  4. Yesterday I bought 3X$200 Sears GCs and a few minutes later bought another $200 and 3X$100 Sears GCs. My account seems fine.

  5. I was able to get 4 X $200 Sears and 4 X $100 sears yesterday, but only after *many* attempts. Constantly stuck in verification loops with PayPal (asking to send code to my cell or automated call over and over again at every step of the process). Called both PayPal and eBay, reps couldn’t see anything wrong with my account. Tried to get 4 X $50 Kmart yesterday, but got an error saying my account couldn’t be verified (with no option for two factor authentication given). Was finally able to do Kmart an hour ago, but again only after ALOT of verification texts.

  6. During the first $20 off $100 promo a couple of days ago I put a $25 GC, a $50 gc, and a $27 item in my cart. PayPal transaction appeared to go through with the $20 discount. The next day I hadn’t received any confirmation of my purchases. Checked EBAY and it only showed the purchase for the $27 item. Same thing with PayPal, was only showing purchase of $27 item (but was given $20 discount). I had purchased 4 gift cards in the previous 10 days. EBAY and PayPal were acting pretty glitchy during that promo. But after reading post, the gift cards were probably removed because of the 4/10.

  7. Apart from the verification loops, I’ve been getting a problem where it will show my 100 eBay digital gift card as applied (the purchase price has gone from 200 to 100), but it is still taking 200 out of my PayPal balance. This is probably because I’m at the 5k limit for eBay digital gift cards but I never had this particular problem before. I also did have the buying limitation show up after I bought 3 $100 gas cards and tried to buy a tablet next.

    • This happened to me too. That’s why my question is, is it possible to set my paypal to charge my credit card automatically instead of taking it out off my checking account?

      Thanks!

      • There has been discussion about “cleaning” a card after you purchase it. The idea is to take the GC you bought to the retailer and have them “cash” it out for another of the same value, then you have a “clean” card. In other words the past holders of the card / code you bought don’t have any value left on that code.

        It would seem that when you purchase some cards from Raise and Cardpool they generate a code for you to use vs sending you the card. In reading the fine print I get the feeling they have “cleaned” the card that was sold to them using some system.

        If we could get access to such a system for cards that we bought but were not the first purchaser this could help stop fraud in its tracks.

        Just a thought. New business idea?

  8. Many of us resell gift cards at the popular sites but I’m now finding out that egift cards will not be accepted for sale at some sites. One for example is Saveya. The want plastic. Are others finding this an issue and what are some solutions? No reason to take small loss of sale without getting the 5X form Ink.

    • That is a shame since SaveYa used to be the most electronic friendly. I think it is going to be harder for people selling without a bulk account. It seems many of these companies are huge victims of fraud and thus are cracking down.

  9. 1. Saveya is a joke. I was “shut down” after trying to BUY ONE card, unreal. Of course no reason given for security reasons.

    2. The endless loops and random numerical codes are nonsense and even the escalation tech help can’t figure them out. They have asked me to try and check out on the Ebay Canada and Australia sites, then they manually credit the Ebay bucks, total hassle and many hours on phone calls.

    3. Isn’t there any other way to buy directly from these vendors than through Ebay? I can’t imagine they appreciate the experiences the customers have to go through.

    4. Has anybody had experience calling or emailing anyone at Saveya or other sites that have “shut you down” to ask for reconsideration or a phone interview to iron things out?

    • Not that this helps, but I got shut down just the other day by Saveya as well. I was bummed because I was selling through them exclusively. I had sold about $1,000 total and bought about $500 in maybe a 6 month time frame. They said it was a ‘third-party’ compliance issue. This is bizarre because I obviously didn’t sell them fake gift cards and never had any trouble with the cards I bought. Mostly I don’t understand how they shutdown legitimate customers with some volume and still have a business. They might be getting pressure from the government on money laundering is the only thing I can think of.

  10. Just a heads up, those eBay gift cards are still processed through your PayPal account. This means that you can be shut down by them for possible money laundering…. If you do get a warning or shut down, you can tell them that you are manufacturing spend and offer proof of purchase. This is what I did and have had no problems since, although since some phone agents don’t necessarily understand the reasoning, so this is not always guaranteed.

  11. Last week was a frustrating experience to say the least. I think you summarized it well when you wrote “There is no rhyme or reason to what eBay and PayPal does.”

    I had temporary buying restrictions on two eBay accounts (under different names). My guess is I hit the PayPal 4/10 rule. Both were in fact reset at Midnight (I tried shortly after). BUT when I tried a second card I received the same restriction notice. NOTE: These two cards after midnight were both from PPDG (Kmart).

    Fast forward to the next day. The issue I had earlier now went beyond just verification loops. I actually had an email notice from PayPal requesting that I change my password to re-gain access to my account. (something about suspicious activity and to protect my account). What’s funny is after changing my PW and logging in, I still had a little notice on my alerts that my account was limited until I could resolve an issue. When clicking it I’m brought to the resolutions page where nothing is even listed. I have since been able to buy on this account without issues. Note that I used the same computer and same internet (at home) so they couldn’t of flagged my account for anything related to PC/IP address.

    Under the $5k/180 day rule, I had 2 of my 3 accounts maxed out. Naturally I tried to buy gift cards using eBay codes to test out this new no-cap rule. Just when I thought eBay couldn’t get screwier they continued to surprise me. For no rhyme or reason, when applying a gift card it would apply random amounts on some orders and full value on others. None of these were for PPDG and the order was in fact not even for daily deal items.

    Example: try to buy a $150 card and apply eBay $200 code, and it applied $29.43. I thought ok, maybe I’m still stuck under some $5k rolling cap and I had $29.43 left? Nope. I even verified that I was completely tapped out (had about $6 cap space). So that wasn’t it. I gave up on this account and decided to try another.

    On another account (wife’s eBay and her PayPal) when trying to buy the same $150 gift card , with again $0 cap space under the old rule, I tried to apply the eBay gift card that was not used from the example above, and the system informed me that the gift card was linked to another eBay account! Despite not being used, it was now locked to the other account. So now I had to make a note of this because PayPal doesn’t track new gift cards used since the change. I then tried a different eBay gift card (not linked or used on any other account) and that one applied the FULL $150 cost.

    Out of curiousity I tried to do another order of this same card and on the same account and applied another $200 eBay gift card and it only applied some randomly weird $99.xx. I then tried removing the $150 and applied a $100 gift card and this time it applied the full amount. I didn’t proceed with the purchase but I have no doubt that now this gift card is linked to my wife’s eBay account too. Fun fun! After placing this order I just walked away from the PC and haven’t touched eBay since; needed a break from the madness.

    There really is no rhyme or reason to any of this and I wish I could say I’ve gained any insight into what does and doesn’t work. Feels like the more you try to understand about it, the less you do. Similar to the common wisdom of the more you know the less you think you know. If we thought it was confusing before, anyone dipping their feet into eBay arbitrage/sourcing better put their game face on and be ready for a battle.
    One idea may be to create crowd-sourced polls with varying options to see just which problems people are having. I’d be curious to know the results. One thing we do know is eBay and PayPal keep it interesting.

  12. well said Anthony…. really is no rhyme or reason re. Ebay/Paypal at the present juncture…. the more we think we comprehend, the more we don’t….

    Shawn, think you should re-title your original post…. You had thought you had discerned uuuUUUge new ebay rules…..

    Really? And we/you know this because of the insight of one rep…..

    If it really WAS/IS a RULE, a REAL one, then why the *&%$*(#)@( don’t they put it in writing?

    Ebay ought to be the poster child for how to get straight F’s from the better (er, worse) business bureau.

    • FYI I was the reader he was referring to in this post. We are all in the midst of discerning what these new rules are. Posts like these and everyone adding data points help create a bigger picture of what’s going on and hopefully make it easier for others. That’s really what this community is built on wouldn’t you agree? I’d say that was the point of this post — help paint a picture of what’s going on with eBay/PayPal and to shed any insight we may have at this time. There’s really nothing else we can do at this point other than continue to add the puzzle pieces together. With the eBay and PayPal split, the water gets even more muddy and the dirt has yet to settle.

      As far as ebay putting it in writing, I think this is a classic case of the left arm doesn’t know what the right one is doing. During my call with ebay, no one knew what was going on. The senior rep (who didn’t sound outsourced) was pretty candid about the situation as being fluid and that she and others in the office didn’t even know what changes were made. She had to put me on hold to dig deeper before she was able to find what I’m guessing is some memo of sorts (sounded like she was reading something) and told me to wait until after midnight.

      I suspect we’ll see more random data points when the next ebay bucks promo rolls around, which is likely this next week.

  13. This buying restriction keeps kicking in and limiting my account when I buy too much from PPDG. It stops me from being able to buy anything at all on ebay. Not just PPDG’s stuff. I am buying ebay gift cards at their full rate and not discounted or anything like that. Pretty crazy that ebay is actively trying to stop me from buying.

    The error message has since changed from what you posted. I will try to capture it next time it happens to me.

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