GiftCard Mart Comments on Demand Letter Sent to Some The Plastic Merchant (TPM) Sellers

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GiftCardMart Letter to TPM Sellers

GiftCard Mart Letter to TPM Sellers

It has now been over two months since we broke the news that The Plastic Merchant was bouncing checks. The company and its owner have been radio silent since an email stating he was having health problems went out on June 6. Unfortunately I don’t have any new updates about TPM or its owner, but you can follow what we do know here.

GiftCard Mart Letter

As part of their business, apparently The Plastic Merchant (TPM) sold batches of cards to other companies. One specific company called GiftCard Mart is sending out letters to some people who sold cards to TPM. Here is a copy of the letter courtesy of The Flight Detective on Travel with Grant.

GiftCardMart Letter to TPM Sellers

Statement from GiftCard Mart

I reached out to Gift Card Mart this morning and gave them the opportunity to provide an official statement about this. Here it is:

GiftCard Mart (GCM) is the safest gift card exchange with unmatched low fraud rates. Using industry leading risk management and loss prevention tools and sourcing our cards only from our thoroughly vetted Volume Partners, our customers come back to us again and again because they know that they can count on our gift cards to work and have the correct balance. So naturally, we take asset protection exceptionally seriously. 
Though I am unable to comment on the specifics of certain letters we sent out recently, I can confirm the authenticity of the letters posted today.
We understand that a lot of people have unfortunately suffered losses as a result of the demise of The Plastic Merchant (TPM) and it is an incredibly difficult situation for all involved. However, we purchased the cards in question in early April and have confirmed that TPM bought and paid for them approximately 8 weeks before any TPM payment issues developed. As such, our legal pursuits are limited solely to assets where title and ownership were indisputably transferred to TPM and subsequently to GiftCard Mart.
We are capable of and fully intend to pursue the unlawful theft of any of our assets. Given the nature of these digital assets, it is challenging for us to proactively identify every affected gift card, so we highly encourage all that are involved to contact us immediately and identify any cards we have not yet identified so that we may preempt any to-be-determined card issues.
Though this TPM issue is a large, complex problem, we want to assure all of our customers on both the buying & selling side that it will not jeopardize our financial stability, nor inhibit our mission to become the highest quality gift card exchange in the United States.

My Thoughts

Before I say anything, let me state the obvious. I do have opinions about this but they are personal in nature and nothing I say here should be taken as legal advice. I am not a lawyer nor will I pretend to be. I have also had a positive bulk selling relationship with Gift Card Mart for 3 years. With that said….let’s talk about this.

There are a couple of important things that are pointed out by GCM. These iTunes cards were sold to TPM in January – March, 2018 which is a time when TPM was apparently making all payments. In other words, the person who sold these cards to TPM should have been paid for them. In my view ownership was transferred.

I buy and sell a lot of gift cards and personally would not have ever thought to liquidate cards for which I had been paid. I actually think it is a moral issue, but it seems to me to be a legal one as well. (Again, not a lawyer.) Much digital ink has been spilled with analogies so I’ll spare you trying to find an equivalence to this, but if I sell something and am paid for it and then it’s sold to someone else, I don’t have the right to take it back. That’s the way I see it.

A Bad Position

GiftCard Mart and people who have lost thousands of dollars with TPM are both in a bad position. This really sucks. Everyone will have their own opinion on this (share yours in the comments), but I have to say if I was in GCM’s position I would probably do the same thing. They seemingly own those cards and they believe the funds were taken.


Like I said before, this whole situation really sucks for everyone involved. I do believe people who took funds or re-sold cards for which they had been paid are in the wrong, but again that isn’t for me to decide. Either way, I know GiftCard Mart to be a good company and I will continue to sell to them and occasionally purchase cards from their website as well.

What are your thoughts about this whole situation? Please share them in the comments!

Shawn Coomer
Since 2007 Shawn Coomer has been circling the globe with his family for pennies on the dollar. He uses that first-hand knowledge and experience to teach others how to achieve their travel dreams for the least amount of money possible.

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  1. It seems to me that Michael C Dean of The Plastic Merchant (scammer) and this Gift Card Mart might be in this somewhat together, or Gift Card Mart knows something that we don’t know. Why would they have all the seller information? Something is not adding up, especially when all the sellers received zero communication. The money is somewhere.

  2. Shawn , you have left out lot of information.

    1) How did GCM got the information from TPM
    2) Did GCM sent any proof , that these cards were liquidated by the original sellers and not the TPM( A fraud who could have sold it to multiple sources on the back , GCM itself , or the GCM Buyers )
    3) How GCM verifies the payments have been made by TPM to the sellers and are actually paid
    4) Did GCM sent any proof that these cards were actually sold on the specific dates?

    I am in no way related to this. But if you are going to write an article think from both the sides and write a neutral article , instead of just saying it ” I am neutral “

    • I am neutral as in I don’t have that information. Leaving it out doesn’t make me any less neutral. I have no affiliation with either company other than selling to them both at certain points. Their information sharing and business arrangements are not something I am privy too.

  3. I believe TPM and GCM are one of the same scammers who stole money from sellers. We all know that Mike and Jake are best friends.
    During TPM meltdown, Mike was supposedly in the hospital and couldn’t even send an email to sellers, and the rest of his stuff, incompetent. Meanwhile, GCM staff were commenting in every TPM related article, slack, WhatsApp, FB etc to (1) state to sellers that Mike is really hospitalzed and will come back to make all sellers whole (2) to scare sellers off from recouping their losses throwing legal terms in. Meanwhile, GCM obtaining confidential seller info from Mike (who is under the cover of “hospitalized”). Lat’s face it, GCM and TPM are both theives cooperating with each other!!!! Good for anyone that recouped their money from such thrives and there’s no legal action GCM can take against sellers, since there is no contract between GCM and sellers. GCM can have a dirty lawyer send letters to sellers to scare them, but they have no leg to stand up in the court since there’s no contract between GCM and sellers!!!

  4. My two cent is, Gift Card Mart has an contract with TPM and not TPM’s sellers. So the right course of action is for them to go to Gift Card Mart and from their TPM goes to their sellers. I doubt there is enough evidence for Gift Card Mart to go after TPM sellers, as they have to prove the seller is the one who redeem them, not anyone else. Given the cards have been in multiple hands (GCM customer, GCM, TPM and TPM sellers), basically this is a finger pointing battle. For example, it is easily argued that TPM may have sold the same card to two vendors and database issues do exist.

    TPM sellers have no relationship nor contract with Gift Card Mart. And TPM sellers need proof that their GCs was actually sold over to GCM in order to work with them.

    I am curious, if anyone have TPM’s contract with their sellers. I am wondering if TPM is allow to disclose their sellers information to other vendors such as Gift Card Mart. That may be a privacy violation there on TPM’s part also. As I recall from the contract, if a GC is bad, TPM would charge the sellers not their vendors. So even if a card is bad, the contact outlines TPM would be the one managing it, not GCM.

    • @penny this isn’t a contract case. This is a civil theft case. It doesn’t matter if people have a relationship with GCM or not. GCM is owner of the cards in question (sellers were paid by tpm, there is no disputing this) and the digital assets were stolen by the sellers. The seller will have suit filed against them using this Minnesota statute if they don’t settle up.

      And the sharing of info by Michael Dean (tpm) is big privacy breach. I’m not aware of any clause in T&C allowing for that, but honestly that’s the least of people’s worries that sold to Michael Dean.

      • more than a privacy violation. Rather evidence of collusion, or a plaintiff cutting a deal with one defendant to go after another defendant with deep pockets. A form of fraud actually.

    • Penny if I sell you a car that I end up not paying for and the guy I got it from takes the car back are you cool with that? Or would you be trying to get it back even though he never had any contact or contract with you? GCM hasn’t even gone that far even though he legally could. In this case the original guy was paid for the car but not the boat a month later. The original owner couldn’t find the boat so he took the car that you purchased from me.

      This is all outlined in the UCC 2-403. GCM has “good title” to these cards. TPM had voidable title and the original seller passed that title to TPM when they voluntarily uploaded the cards. Anyone that tries to redeem or resell title other than GCM is committing fraud regardless if they ever had title to the cards.

      If you can’t believe the law works this way then here’s why you wouldn’t want the way some TPM sellers see it. If the cards or any goods were resold 50 times before the first guy realized he wasn’t going to be paid and he reclaimed the goods then you could potentially have 50 court cases or settlements as each person goes after the person they bought it from.

  5. What about the cards they bought from TPM where the checks bounced, and GCM resold them and they were used by the buyer. Will GCM be reimbursing the original sellers for cards they should not have been entitled to resell? GCM is going to be opening a huge can of worms for themselves if they actually proceed. How much did GCM steal in May based on their own logic?

    • Exactly Marc. If gcm decides to die anyone, there should be full discovery into what gcm has stolen from innocent tpm sellers, as well as all communications between gcm and Tpm leading up to the debacle.

    • In those cases the seller should file suit against tpm for lack of payment. When cards were uploaded to tpm title was transferred. They were then sold downstream. Whoever they were sold to were legal owner.

      Whether or not a seller was paid has. No effect on the transfer of title.

      By your logic raise or any other site had “stolen” from original seller.

      • Nope, by GCM’s own standards, title was not transferred upon uploading cards to TPM. Title was transferred upon payment by TPM. You can link to whatever you want. Trying reading the actual letter instead. It’s pretty cut and dry what they are claiming. Not really sure how you can misinterpret that.

        The converse logically is therefore also true. Since TPM never paid for the cards, GCM does not acquire title by paying TPM for it, and had no rights to resell them and keep the proceeds.

          • I understand that, and that’s not the point of my post. The point is that GCM likely sold a bunch of cards in May for which the original seller was not paid and which GCM is keeping the money. They are trying to have it both ways. Thats the real issue. They are demanding restitution for cards that they legitemitely owned, but not returning funds they received for cards they did not legitimitely own.

  6. Where is the evidence that TPM transferred title to gcm? And where is the contract between Tpm and gcm, as well as all communications between TPM and gcm? I agree with the comment above that gcm is trying to present itself as an innocent party but they have provided nothing to back up anything in their letter. Plus if I am a tpm seller I had no relationship with gcm nor any knowledge that my gift cards would be sold to gcm. This letter is lots of nonsense. Good luck to gcm if anyone calls their bluff and gcm actually decides to litigate. Discovery will be a mess.

    • In this specific situation GCM is the victim. The cards in question were paid for to original seller. GCM was Legal owner of card. The seller then stole the card in a ham handed attempt to settle an unrelated debt. It’s pretty cut and dry.

      If these were cards that weren’t paid for, then maybe it would be murkier, but that’s not the case here.

  7. How does GCM know the identities of those who sold the gift cards to TPM? Sounds like TPM colluded with GCM to give them this info in order to get a pass on liability. At the very least, GCM is guilty of colluding with an entity that defrauded them in order to go after a deeper pocket, a firm of fraud in of itself. At the very worst, GCM and TPM are the same entity working together to rip off gift card resellers. If I had been defrauded by TPM and found it necessary to offset my damages by using self help measures, the last thing I would do is lift a finger to help a colluding 3rd party like GCM.

      • Shawn, ask yourself, how did GCM know where to send the demand letters? Imagine the conversation. How it went, and what was given for the information. (Love your column btw)

      • Here’s my version of the conversation.

        TPM: “Hey Bro, going out of business, I just screwed a bunch of sellers out of their gift cards, but don’t worry, the last batch of cards I sent you, I acutally did pay for, so they’re good.”

        GCM: “Dude, the last batch is worthless, all those guys you screwed on the other batch drained this batch in retaliation. You owe me bro.”

        TPM: “Dude, I’m broke, I snorted all the money and don’t want to pay you regardless. How about if I give you the names of the sellers and you go after them in exchange for giving me a pass?”

        GCM: “Sounds good bro. I should be able to collect from those idiots. I won’t come after you if you cough up their names, even though you owe to money too.”

      • 3 other legal doctrines at play here. (Or why GCM is SOL)

        1. Clean hands

        2. Claim of right

        3. Privity of contract

    • Based on my understanding, GCM “compelled” TPM to turn over the information, most likely by threatening legal action. That only tells them who sold the cards to TPM. They then are making the assumption that the person who sold the cards to TPM are truly the ones who liquidated the funds and not TPM or someone else.

  8. How much are they asking to be paid? I mean are they asking for let’s say 100 iTunes card or 100 dollars or amount they paid to tpm?

  9. How does GCM know that it was the original seller that drained the cards? Perhaps TPM did, or perhaps a hacker or scammer brute forced their way to steal the codes. Would Apple in this case be sharing information to TPM about the identity of those who redeemed the cards?

    If the original seller got paid for the cards and then also turned around and redeemed them, then I agree that it is theft, despite the fact that TPM might still owe them for other assets. I think it’s fair for the sellers to only to to recover losses and redeem cards for which they had not been paid for.

  10. Since GCM has lawyer and means, perhaps GCM can help the sellers recoup their money from TPM as a group lawsuit. This would be a community service and ensure that all are protected.

    • How utterly idealistic and unrealistic. Sounds like you subscribe to the “from each according to their means, to each according to their needs” philosophy.

      • Yes, and what an awful philosophy that is! How DARE she suggest doing something to make the world a better place!

        • It’s been tried before, and no, it did not make the world a better place, quite the opposite. Perhaps you should do some history reading.


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