Posted by Chuck on March 29, 2016
Shopping

Published on March 29th, 2016 | by Chuck

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Keeping Track of Gift Card Orders on eBay

There were recently a number of changes with regards to gift cards on eBay, and we’ve updated the post: eBay Gift Cards and their Limitations to include the most up-to-date information regarding buying and using gift cards on eBay.

If you play the eBay gift card game, it’s vital to do extreme record keeping of the process, else you may end up losing gift card balances for many different reasons which we’ll discuss here.

Weird eBay Checkout System

Ebay has a strange way of using up eBay gift cards input at the time of checkout. Instead of simply using them up in the order they are entered by the customer, they use up the card with the lower digits first and then the card with the higher digits.

If you have one gift card number 123456789 and a second gift card number 123456788, they’ll use up the later first since it’s a lower number and then the former. What’s important here is the digits of the card number, not the balance that’s on the gift card.

I’d venture to guess that there huge amounts of unused eBay gift cards due to this factor alone as it creates confusion over which card is used up and which isn’t.

Look closely on the checkout screen to see which cards are being used up and which is leaving a balance for a future purchase and mark this down in your records. In the past, Paypal would show which gift card was used in the transaction details, but that info doesn’t show for me anymore; be sure to verify it before submitting the order.

Tracking the Item to the Gift Card

If you return an item or otherwise get a refund for an item purchased on eBay, the refund will often go back on the gift card that was used to make the purchase. It’s necessary to keep all those old gift cards until it’s clear that they aren’t needed. It’s also important to know which gift card was used to purchase which item so that you can trace the refund to the gift card.

(It used to be possible to check this link to see which gift cards are attached to your Paypal, but the link doesn’t work for any new gift cards that were used since beginning of March.)

Similarly, just yesterday, a reader had a case-in-point where he ordered a gift card for the promo that was going on then, and – apparently – the item went out of stock during the time it took to place the order. This resulted in an unanticipated balance remaining on the eBay gift card he used to make the purchase.

Once again, it’s important to keep record of the gift card, and to know what it was used to buy, for cases that the funds get returned to the card.

Cancelled Orders

Another thing to keep in mind is cancelled orders.

If you buy lots of third-party gift cards on eBay, you’ll invariably bump into cancelled orders. This is particularly true with Paypal Digital Gifts e-gift card purchases which don’t always go through. It sometimes errors out immediately, before you have a chance to input any gift cards, yet other times it lets you pay and errors out on the final Submit Order step.

If you’re using an eBay gift card to buy the third-party gift card, keep track of which gift cards you’re using, and wait until the order goes through completely until you mark them ‘depleted.’

Ordering More than the Limit

Another problem I bumped into recently is ordering more gift cards than the limits allow.

Whenever eBay offers a discounted deal on gift cards, there is almost always a limit to the quantity which can be bought at the reduced price. What happens if you max out on the limit and then try ordering more the next day or a week later (from the same sale, same eBay item number)?

Previously, whenever someone tried going over the limit, the system would not allow them to add the item to the cart at all; you’d get an error message at the initial step. However, recently the system will sometimes allow the item to be checked out and it won’t error out at all. Yet, after the order seems to have gone through fine, you’ll see in the order details something about ‘payment has not been received for this item.’

Since you are past the limit, they weren’t able to process the payment, and thus ‘payment has not been received.’ You won’t receive any notification from eBay at all that the order didn’t go throught, and you don’t check it out closely you’ll literally have no idea.

My System

I bumped into a bunch of these problems myself recently, and thus I updraded my tracking system to make sure no gift card balances get lost.

  • All eBay gift cards get input in a spreadsheet with the info of where and when it was purchased, as well as the gift card balance
  • After placing an order on eBay using gift cards, after the order actually goes through (no errors, etc.), I color in the gift card number to signify that this is a depleted gift card (personally, I always use some shade of light-pink to signify that a gift card is depleted)
  • I add in the item and date that the gift card was used to make it tracable, in case something goes wrong which results in a refund from eBay

I have a few other things I do as well, but these are the basics to keep it simple.

Note that even if you do your best, there are a few reports on this Slickdeals thread of the eBay system eating up gift card balances for no reason, e.g. on cancelled orders and the like. I have not found this to be the case, but it may happen occasionally.



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Frank
Frank

I order 5x toys rus, 5x babies rus from PPDG and the payment has gone through. But never actually received emails with card information. After 5 days and several phone calls with Paypal, the order is canceled. Is it some sort of new strange things going on with PPDG?

PPDG Headaches
PPDG Headaches

I have 1K in PPDG orders from 3/23 that haven’t been fulfilled…

Ugly
Ugly

I have not received my TRU/BRU either. If they are not going to send them, I wish they would just go ahead and cancel right away my eBay bucks will no longer show maxed out, allowing me to max them out with the current 10x.

Ugly
Ugly

What phone number did you call? Just the main customer service for PayPal? I didn’t find a phone # for PPDG.

Thanks in advance

Nil
Nil

10/20 % cash back today for other items/ fashion- which is ‘yuuge’. Thanks for all the heads up.

Nil
Nil

Meant to say eBay bucks.

Thomas
Thomas

Very helpful.
Thanks

Beth
Beth

tried to use the 10% Bucks on gift cards, though the shopping cart says I’ll get Bucks totallin 10%, when I proceed to checkout the Bucks drops to 2%.

Robin
Robin

I also had that problem, but you just have to keep trying till you see the 10% at checkout.

Matt
Matt

Mind sharing the spreadsheet template?

SteveX
SteveX

You should add more to the cancelling part. I’ve now had 2 times where I had a failed GC purchase. Seller eitehr sent wrong gift card or not activated appropriately. Both times the seller refunded my money. Of course I used ebay GCs to buy those cards. So, Paypal refunded to the ebay GC that was used, not to my CC or my Paypal account. That was REALLY hard to deal with since I spread them out over several cards.

I found that you can use Paypal orders to see what GCs were refunded, but make sure you look them up and re-add them to your list or they can easily get lost..

Dan
Dan

Looking up the Paypal transaction used to work for identifying GCs but now since the change to unlimited eBay GC usage, the Paypal transaction shows a cryptic code representing the gift card and not the actual number. Its really an awful system

SteveX
SteveX

I haven’t had one reimburse since those changes. But I did notice in new purchase they don’t show..

I wonder how that will work next time. It was a pain to figure out last time but doable, may have to add GCs used to spreadsheet or something in case or refund.. Or maybe in new system they credit account, will be interesting to see.

Either way, prob should mention it somewhere in post as it’s definitely going to trip some people up when it happens.

Max
Max

Do we still need a paypal account to pay using ebay gift cards
since they are not attached to paypal account any more

Daniel
Daniel

Can anyone verify if buying GCs on Gyft.com – with Chase Ink and Paypal will still trigger the Chase Ink 5% back?

Patrick
Patrick

Does eBay still limit 3 discounted gift card purchases per account?

Randy
Randy

I’m finally getting around to cleaning up my Ebay mess. Hopefully you’ll see this post. So are you telling me there is no longer a way to check for unused balances on old (missing) cards that were connected to Paypal?

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