Got a gift certificate or gift card that doesn't quite fit? Just in time for the season of returns come websites that enable you to swap, sell, or purchase holiday castaways.
Log onto CertificateSwap.com or SwapAGift.com and see if they have your size. The sites enable you to buy a gift card outright with a few bucks shaved from the face value, or swap cards with another recipient of a white elephant. Recent deals on CertificateSwap include a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card for $20, or a Home Depot card loaded with $25 in cash for $22.50.
Still, this newfangled phenomenon just puts another spin on the hassle of returning unwanted gifts. Sure, you're not waiting in line at the mall. But reading the fine print may take just as long.
Like online auctions, the sites depend on the honor code. Feedback systems are in place to narc on bad seeds. To avoid getting blacklisted, confirm the amount on any card you wish to sell (call the toll-free number on the back of the card) and make sure that the gift is transferable.
Listing your certificates is usually free, but once it sells you'll get a bill for the convenience. CertificateSwap slaps on a processing fee of 7.5% of the sale price (not the face value). Sellers are reimbursed 75 cents for shipping. SwapAGift charges a flat fee of $3.99 for each certificate that sells.
Other fees may apply as well. If you do not wish to use your sales riches to purchase something from the site, you may be charged a processing fee for requesting a check or PayPal payment.
For those who decide it's just not worth the hassle, there's always the fine, old-fashioned art of re-gifting. Just remember to cross out your name on the card.