Gift Card Zen Frustration & Risking It “All” on Gift Card Rescue

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Gift Card Churning Follies

Update: Gift Card Zen has responded as to why they cancelled. Details here in the follow up.

As many readers of the site know, I have been selling more and more gift cards lately. With the sheer number of deals around lately, it makes more and more sense to buy and sell gift cards. I know it is not for everyone, but it seems to work within my schedule and tolerances. That isn’t to say there aren’t some frustrations.

Gift Card Zen Frustration

gift card zen delay
Haha. You will receive this if they don’t cancel your order after two days of waiting.

As part of one of the eBay sales, I purchased $250 in TGI Friday’s gift cards for $200. A few months ago just about every re-seller would purchase these cards at around 80%. Of course a few eBay sales later and there is more supply on the market and thus rates have dropped. Gift Card Zen is currently the only company still paying 80%.

After receiving my cards from this last sale, I immediately popped up the Zen website and entered in the card information to sell them. Unlike other re-sellers where the transaction takes place right away, Zen has you input the information and then you wait. In my case the wait was a little over two days and then they suddenly rejected the sale.

gift card zen delay

The email I received didn’t give any reason for the rejection and I did follow up with them, but have yet to hear back. (The balances are in tact.) This is frustrating, because they are basically giving themselves a few extra days to reject a sale for any reason they want.

This puts you at a significant disadvantage if the market for a specific gift card changes quickly. With other sellers, once you enter in the information they have committed to purchasing the cards at that rate as long as everything is correct. The waiting period with Zen is troubling and because of it I don’t think I will be selling to them anymore unless their rate is significantly higher.

Thankfully I already had a package heading out the door to Cardpool, so I sold the cards to them and opened the package and added the cards. I will make $2 less per card overall, but I know the cards are now sold and don’t have to worry about Cardpool backtracking on me.

Gift Card Rescue Test

gift card zen delay

The other day I wrote about the Phillips 66 gift cards and how Gift Card Rescue was paying 92% for them. Based on a dismal Reseller Rating I was hesitant to sell cards to Gift Card Rescue, however I ultimately decided to give them a shot in the spirit of sharing my findings with all of you. (The bad reviews seem to mostly be on the buyer’s side.)

Yesterday I sold the cards on their site and today they went out in the mail. (I didn’t need to wait days for them to approve the sale like with Zen.) Since Gift Card Rescue is located on the East Coast, it should take a little while for everything to go through, but I should be able to report back within a week or so. I actually anticipate a smooth transaction, but you never know!


This was just another fun afternoon in the gift card game. I don’t hate Gift Card Zen, but their waiting period can be dangerous, especially if market conditions are changing rapidly. I have sold to just about every other major company and have never had an issue. Not a huge deal. Live and learn. Hopefully after my experiment with Gift Card Rescue they can fill in for Zen on my list of companies to sell to.

Shawn Coomer
Shawn Coomer earns and burns millions of miles/points per year circling the globe with his family. An expert at accumulating travel rewards, he founded Miles to Memories to help others achieve their travel goals for pennies on the dollar. Shawn also runs a million dollar reselling business, knows Vegas better than most and loves to spend his time at the 12 Disney parks across the world.

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  1. I also had an order of Friday’s cards canceled after a few days by GiftCardZen. I emailed them back to ask what was up but have noticed they dropped the price of the cards so I assume they just got too many in stock and are reneging on the order. Now I am awaiting SaveYa confirmation so I can mail them. Hate losing those extra few bucks. Will be hesitant to sell or bay from GiftCardZen in the future.

    • After seeing your message I re-checked GiftCardWiki as I didn’t recall Save Ya paying out a good rate for it. I was stunned to see that GiftCardRescue now pays 80% (like Zen used to). I sold my cards to Cardpool on Friday but haven’t actually mailed them yet. I’d hate to renege on the deal as I’d be just as bad as Zen and I would think Cardpool wouldn’t forget this in the future. The other reason I probably won’t do it is that I recall someone posting a very negative story about GCR.

  2. Had the same thing happen to me with GCZ. Cancelled my order after 3 days. Will never use them again. I emailed them about how they talk about trust and transparency…what a crock.. Will never use them again.

  3. I would like to share my horrible experience with and warn every one who is doing business with them. Reading other peoples experiences of reselling here just were delayed response or rejected the sell, so far has not had any real damage. In my case, not only reject my sell, but didn’t return my cards to me. mailed me an empty envelop with a tracking number and claimed that they returned every cards, it’s the USPS lost my cards. The merchandize won’t reissue the cards to me because they are lost by post office with all the cards in the possession of I am not complain at all that giftcardrescue canceled my sell orders, like you guys complained above. They have the rights to cancel my order. My argument is they should return the cards back to me instead mail me an empty envelop. The total value of the cards is $4700. Can you imagine a company like giftcardrescue whose business rely on packing and shipping would pack $4700 cards in a way that being able to slip out completely within the 2 days priority mail delivering process? That should disqualify their business license. So, I just warn everyone who is still interesting doing business with them, with the tracking number, they will have the prof that they have mailed your cards or checks or what ever they should mail to you. However, with the manner of their packing, you could just receive an empty envelop, with everything slipped out, no cards or checks or what ever you should get from them. Do the business with at your own risk. Hope all of you are lucky and will never suffer the same issue I had with

  4. I got my resale of the TGIF cards approved from GCZ, but it took 4 days – and then 19 days passed between me mailing them the cards and the check arriving. I’m a bulk seller at Cardpool from some Starbucks resales I did back in 2013 to meet minimum spend, so they pay straight into my bank account. ABC has been decent, and SaveYa checks come the fastest even when I have to mail in the physical cards.

  5. Gift Card Zen just cancelled my order with no explanation just like what happened to Shawn. This was after almost a week of waiting in limbo. I doubt that I will ever use them again in the future.

    • They did respond to me finally. Just as I had suspected, they cancelled it because they have purchased too many of the cards. I don’t think it is acceptable to make someone wait a few days before cancelling. Definitely not a good way to do business.

      • I agree. At least they admitted that. If I knew about their policy not to confirm the sale right away I would have never sold to them. The only saving grace was Cardpool was still at 75% like before. The rest of the places had already lowered their rates further.

  6. So not to beat the dead horse here, but I get the impression that these websites / exchanges are all horrible from customer service perspective. GCZ gives deadlines (1 business day) for responses to legitimate inquiries (bought card that was invalid) and then misses them. When I sent a follow up after 2 business days, I got a tersely worded email “reminding” me that it takes 1-3 business days. I emailed on 4th business day after still havin heard nothing. Got a response stating they had refunded my cards two days ago.

    Put two cards through at SaveYa. One was immediately processed and paid. The other hung out for four days before I called to escalate.

    Gift immediately verified the two cards k sold to them, but then took 5 days to confirm the saw and send payment. I had to call and escalate as well.

    These are all just the customer service failures I have seen in the past week and a half alone. Not to mention the 7 cards I’ve been sent that were fraudulent/invalid/non transferable except to individual named.

    These businesses kind of suck. (Funny aside- See abc gift cards buying certain cards at less of a discount than they sell them for… Too bad you can’t buy and sell them back to the same exchange)

    Last point, if someone is serious about arbitraging these, it’s going to go sideways when they get a card that has already passed through certain exchanges and can’t be sold there again…

  7. Sorry to hear about your troubles. I got my approval email from Zen this morning for my TGIF cards.

    I did have saveya reject $300 in banana republic cards claiming high risk, probably because of high supply, earlier this week.

    Keep up the good work on the blog, you have one of the few I look forward to content from.

  8. I actually had a buying issue with Raise this week that I thought I’d mention.

    Was buying a GC for use (not arbitrage or resell) from Raise for $250 @ 13% off. The next day I got an email:

    “We regret to inform you that your recent Order X has been canceled due to an issue with the gift card. While checking the balance of the gift card we were unable to verify the funds. This caused the order to be canceled…

    If you’d like to purchase another discounted gift card, feel free to take a look at our current inventory.”

    Except their current inventory shows several $250 cards.. at only 6% discounts. What gives?

    If this was airfare, I’d be filing with the DoT for post purchase price increases!!!

  9. I appreciate your insight and will stay away from them as well. I just had an odd one from I sold them 3 Babies R Us codes one night this week. The next morning I received confirmation that the balances checked out and were approved for a check to be issued. An hour later I received an email stating that due to “high risk” my cards would not be purchased. Like Zen, it seems this was an out for their abnormally high pay-out percentage. Risk was a poor excuse considering they had my credit card to back-up the sale.


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