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Ask HN: On eBay, $50 Amazon gift cards are selling for $80-85.What am I missing?
30 points by masonic 9 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 17 comments
Here is an item I just came across: a $50 Amazon gift card at a fixed price of $85.

That in itself is not the ridiculous part; some people can be tricked into overpaying for anything once in awhile. (Lincoln: "You can fool some of the people...")

But there have already been 4 sales via this listing at $80 or $85 each!


(You can click on the Item Link to the right to see the original listing.)

What am I missing? Really clumsy money laundering?

There was a promotional code circulating for 20% off anything on eBay last week. Yes you read that correctly - 20% off anything, from any seller (got myself a new 4k monitor). Purely speculating here, but perhaps people were gaming the system by listing marked-up gift cards and buying their own listings. During this promotion eBay was paying out sellers the full amount - which leads me to the following: why was eBay intentionally taking these losses? Perhaps a last-ditch effort to temporarily boost sales on paper?

It's not coincidence that they are replacing Paypal with Adyen - I think these are indications that there's some sort of merger or acquisition in the works...

Reminds me of when Bing launched and they had a 20% or so off many retailers that you clicked from their results. One was Ebay. I must've been 17 or 18 and used my summer savings to buy silver bars from Ebay 20% off and relist them.

Not long after I noticed they severely restricted the types of discounted items.

It was 30% cash back for the first few days! I’m still using the suitcase that I bought.

They may be being used for money laundering.

Money laundering is definitely a possibility since you can buy amazon gift cards directly from PayPal. I also think some items (not necessarily these gift cards) are being used as placeholder items for a product or service (drugs, etc). For instance I saw a very commonly available $2 bottle of salad dressing go for $20 the other day. I was intrigued and saw that a lot of items from the seller had sold for mulitples of their market value.

I saw a presentation at qcon last week by PayPal about contraband detection using image recognition, the example was a rose for 650 dollars. In the image was a handgun, in front of the roses. So that is a thing, and pp certainly has efforts to stop it, I assume eBay does too.

This is interesting. I would expect eBay fees to crontradict the utility.

How much does your money launderer charge?

It's not money laundering, who would launder $300?

Stolen credit cards, online bank accounts, PayPal accounts, etc are available for purchase. Not everyone is as rich as you where $300 is something to laugh at.

I think you are using different definitions of laundering. turning drug money into legitimate money in a bank account is not really useful for these small amounts, but turning stolen goods into cash is.

For what you lose on each one, you can make up for in volume.

Some buyers are using crypto via a third-party to buy these items on eBay. They use the Amazon GC afterwards to buy online services or buy a product to ship to their home country.

eBay seller has to pay a hefty commission to eBay so that is part of the expense. Seller mails or sends eCode. Both can be risky because the buyer can refute that it was received. Post office even with signature confirmation is not always recorded correctly. UPS & FedEx Signature Require is expensive to use. You also have dishonest "buyers" that will submit a chargeback claim to the credit card for fraud (card does not work, etc). There's a myriad of expenses and risk to the seller.


Buy gift card from random ebay person.

Pay for something that you'd rather keep secret using gift card.

Reduced chance of getting caught?

e.g. https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/pages/gift-card-paymen...

You can buy amazon gift cards at almost any retail store, with cash.

That's even less trackable than a payment to an eBay seller.

That does not apply in the non-US world (Maybe also EU, I don't know if they are being sold there)

So yes you can sell your Amazon Gift cards; there's a market place for people selling used cards.


Why else would you spent 500$ for a 300$ Gift card so you can get the card now to turn around and sell it for 250$

The profit!

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