Gift Card Churning Follies
Update: Gift Card Zen has responded as to why they cancelled. Details here in the follow up.
As many readers of the site know, I have been selling more and more gift cards lately. With the sheer number of deals around lately, it makes more and more sense to buy and sell gift cards. I know it is not for everyone, but it seems to work within my schedule and tolerances. That isn’t to say there aren’t some frustrations.
Gift Card Zen Frustration
As part of one of the eBay sales, I purchased $250 in TGI Friday’s gift cards for $200. A few months ago just about every re-seller would purchase these cards at around 80%. Of course a few eBay sales later and there is more supply on the market and thus rates have dropped. Gift Card Zen is currently the only company still paying 80%.
After receiving my cards from this last sale, I immediately popped up the Zen website and entered in the card information to sell them. Unlike other re-sellers where the transaction takes place right away, Zen has you input the information and then you wait. In my case the wait was a little over two days and then they suddenly rejected the sale.
The email I received didn’t give any reason for the rejection and I did follow up with them, but have yet to hear back. (The balances are in tact.) This is frustrating, because they are basically giving themselves a few extra days to reject a sale for any reason they want.
This puts you at a significant disadvantage if the market for a specific gift card changes quickly. With other sellers, once you enter in the information they have committed to purchasing the cards at that rate as long as everything is correct. The waiting period with Zen is troubling and because of it I don’t think I will be selling to them anymore unless their rate is significantly higher.
Thankfully I already had a package heading out the door to Cardpool, so I sold the cards to them and opened the package and added the cards. I will make $2 less per card overall, but I know the cards are now sold and don’t have to worry about Cardpool backtracking on me.
Gift Card Rescue Test
The other day I wrote about the Phillips 66 gift cards and how Gift Card Rescue was paying 92% for them. Based on a dismal Reseller Rating I was hesitant to sell cards to Gift Card Rescue, however I ultimately decided to give them a shot in the spirit of sharing my findings with all of you. (The bad reviews seem to mostly be on the buyer’s side.)
Yesterday I sold the cards on their site and today they went out in the mail. (I didn’t need to wait days for them to approve the sale like with Zen.) Since Gift Card Rescue is located on the East Coast, it should take a little while for everything to go through, but I should be able to report back within a week or so. I actually anticipate a smooth transaction, but you never know!
This was just another fun afternoon in the gift card game. I don’t hate Gift Card Zen, but their waiting period can be dangerous, especially if market conditions are changing rapidly. I have sold to just about every other major company and have never had an issue. Not a huge deal. Live and learn. Hopefully after my experiment with Gift Card Rescue they can fill in for Zen on my list of companies to sell to.