Gesine Van Der Meer’s gift cards are worthless. Why won’t CardCash, the company through which she purchased them, offer a refund? And is there anything our advocacy team can do to help?
Question: I recently purchased Delta Air Lines gift cards worth $50 each from CardCash.com, a site that helps you sell unwanted gift cards. I used some of these immediately, but did not think anything of it when I held on to 10 gift cards for later use. Now my 10 remaining Delta gift cards are drained and were used by other people.
I contacted CardCash, but they were of no help and refused to refund my depleted gift cards, invoking their “45-day guarantee” policy.
However, on their website it states the following:
OUR GUARANTEE: Safeguarding and protecting our customers is our priority. Our fraud protection teams are the best in the industry and using our state of the art technology we have virtually eliminated any problems that may arise.
At CardCash, you are never dealing with anonymous online members. All gift cards are sold directly to us and purchased directly from us so you have nothing to worry about!
In the past, whenever I bought the occasional gift card in an office supply or grocery store, every gift card stated “no expiration.” I honestly did not know, did never expect, and did not read anywhere that CardCash gift cards are only valid for 45 days and that one can expect to have the balance drained from your cards on day 46.
Would you please help me get my money back? CardCash.com owes me $450.
— Gesine Van Der Meer, Gresham, Ore.
Answer: Your gift cards should have been usable after 45 days, no matter what CardCash.com says.
It’s true that CardCash.com has a warranty on its cards, which states:
When you purchase any gift card from CardCash, we guarantee you will receive the gift card. We guarantee protection against gift card fraud and unscrupulous gift card sellers when used within our 45 day policy.
We recommend you use the gift cards right away so we can fully back the cards. We guarantee that all card balance discrepancies reported to us within 45 days of the purchase date will be fully refunded.
That strikes me as a little bit of a cop-out. Why only 45 days? Can you imagine what would happen if other financial products were only guaranteed 45 days? It would be chaos!
You sent us the paper trail of correspondence between you and CardCash.com. I was disturbed by the response you received, which appears to be a boilerplate denial:
CardCash is a gift card marketplace where millions of sellers can sell their unwanted pre-owned gift cards at a discount. CardCash checks the balance at the time of the listing. Statistically only a very small percentage of our cards have issues where the seller used the gift card or it got canceled after we have checked the balance at the time of the listing. The percentages are kept very low because of all the proprietary fraud technology and KYC measures CardCash has working behind the scenes.
Buying from any Marketplace involves the classical Risk vs. Reward decision. Consumers shopping on a marketplace can save up to 35% but will at times receive cards that are invalid or have a balance discrepancy. This is not something we can control. However, in order to make our customers feel a bit more comfortable we offer a 45 day buyer protection guarantee. CardCash encourages all of its customers to use the cards within that time period and if they encounter an issue to immediately let us know.
Huh? CardCash is knowingly selling cards that might be worthless? How can they get away with that?
I’m glad you posted your problem to our help forum. We maintain an open forum — and send cases like yours to it because solving the problem in public helps others in a similar situation and, most importantly, puts companies like CardCash.com on notice that they can’t hide behind the fine print in their contracts.
And guess what? It worked.
You followed the advice of our forum advocates, who recommended you contact state regulators to file a complaint. You did, and CardCash.com cut you a check for $450.