Some Online Sites Allow Consumers to Swap Unwanted Gift Cards
or to Sell Them in Cyberspace Mae Anderson December 28, 2006 - 3:19 p.m.
NEW YORK (AP) -- A number of online sites have cropped up in recent years that allow consumers to swap unwanted gift cards or to sell them in cyberspace.
Sites like swapagift.com, cardavenue.com and plasticjungle.com have all reported a surge in traffic over the last year. Cardavenue.com's chief executive Robert Butler says his site receives about 5,000 offers a month to trade gift cards for other retailers' cards or to sell them, up fivefold from a year ago. Swapagift.com Chief Executive Michael Kelly says several thousand people look at his Web site on a daily basis, about 30 times the number from a year ago.
Consumers who buy gift cards in the secondary market may be able to find a better deal than buying a card from a traditional store. Those selling an unwanted card also can get some cash that would have been lost by storing the card in a drawer and forgetting about it.
The Web sites charge users a flat fee of about $3 or $4 or part of the cards' value to list cards to sell or swap. Plasticjungle.com has waived its fees, however. Shoppers typically log on to a password protected site and then post a description of their card, including the remaining balance.
The vibrant secondary market for gift cards is a testament to just how much value shoppers place on these pieces of plastic. The National Retail Federation expects shoppers to spend a total of $24.81 billion on gift cards this holiday season, up from $18.48 billion last year.
Still, many shoppers are nervous about buying gift cards from the secondary market. According to a survey conducted by consulting company Accenture, 60 percent of respondents said worries over fraud would prevent them from purchasing a previously owned gift card from a source other than a known retailer.
Card-swap sites say they have security and verification measures to protect swappers. Plasticjungle.com, for example, verifies card balances and purchase dates and institutes a 10-day hold on cards in case they have been bought by someone using a stolen credit card.
But the National Retail Federation, the industry trade group, says people should buy directly from the retailers themselves.
"We don't condone it," says National Retail Federation spokesman Scott Krugman. "When you're buying from a third party, you can never be fully confident that you're dealing with an authentic gift card. Buying gift cards with a stolen credit card is one of the biggest scams running right now on online auction sites. The safest way to purchase a gift card is to purchase through the retailer directly."
KIZER & BENDER think it might be worth your while to visit to these websites to see if giftcards from your store are being offered for swap ...