Miles to Memories is reporting on what sounds like has been an extended outage at gift card resale site Gift Card Mart. A message at the top of the Gift Card Mart site notes that they are temporarily unable to buy or sell gift cards, and according to the comments at Miles to Memories this has lasted for quite some time. It may be a temporary outage — that’s what Gift Card Mart is saying — but the outage is obviously a cause for concern.
Shawn reached out to the owner of Gift Card Mart for a statement. See the Miles to Memories for the full statement, but here’s an excerpt:
We initially suspended customer gift card sales under the assumption that it was a short-term necessity while we fixed some underlying technical issues; however, after a few days, it became increasingly likely that the outage was going to take longer than expected.
Again, according to the comments, this situation has continued for several weeks already.
Gift card reselling was a huge avenue for manufactured spending for quite some time and those who were even remotely interested in that avenue as recently as about a year ago are no doubt familiar with the demise (disappearance?) of The Plastic Merchant and may find this news about Gift Card Mart concerning.
While I have known people who have sold to Gift Card Mart, I have never personally done business with them. I did get into TPM for a while and my gosh do I count my lucky stars for having the downright luck to have stopped when I did. Meeting folks who were much less fortunate on that really turned me off from gift card reselling, hence my lack of familiarity with Gift Card Mart. Truthfully, I’d thought about getting back into it a few times this year and Gift Card Mart is a site I’d have likely looked to get into if I had. At this point, I’m glad I held off.
Further details are slim at this point. There’s one comment at Miles to Memories from someone who claims to be owed a payment and another theorizing that the issue could be a cutoff from credit card payment processors. I’m sure there are plenty of other theories one could conjure — but it bears mentioning that it certainly could just be a technical issue as the owner of the site says.
However, I thought it was worth reporting this latest gift card resale issue for those who are considering testing those waters. It is a good reminder and warning not to get in over one’s head. While gift card resale can obviously be a good way to increase spend and earn rewards, you should take measures to mitigate your risk, one of which should be spreading it over multiple resale avenues. My lucky light bulb moment with TPM was when I realized that I was essentially handing over a large sum of cash (in the form of gift cards) to a stranger under the promise of being paid later (a blog commenter equated it to extending your credit to a stranger — almost like handing that person your credit card). That’s essentially what a merchandise re-seller is doing as well, and merchandise resale can certainly be a profitable and positive endeavor. Gift card resale no doubt can be as well — as long as it is done with reasonable precautions.
I hope that this issue at Gift Card Mart is temporary and I further hope that nobody has been or will be negatively impacted.
H/T: Miles to Memories