Gift Cards. Don’t you just love them?
It’s nice to get or even give gift cards, isn’t it? They are a really quick and easy gift choice for those special times like holidays and birthdays etc., but did you realize that there is approximately $3 Billion worth of unused gift cards that just go to waste every year?
The money or value on those cards just goes straight back to the bank or retailer who issued the card in the first place. CardPool, a company founded in 2009 seems to be trying to change that reality. In this CardPool review, we will try to determine whether this company is the best thing for unused gift cards or whether they are just playing a gift card scam card.
Let’s jump into it.
What is Cardpool?
Cardpool is a gift card exchange service that was the result of founders Anson Tsai and Timothy Wong’s belief that no gift card should ever be allowed to go unused. The company was their solution to the billion-dollar problem of unwanted gift cards.
The company changed hands in 2011 when it was sold for $19 Million when it was sold to Blackhawk Network Holdings, a privately held company operating in the prepaid, gift card and payments sector. Interestingly enough Blackhawk themselves have now been acquired by Silver Lake and P2 Capital Partners.
That’s quite a bit of acquisition so far in the fairly short history of Cardpool. But hold on, there’s just so much more for you to learn in this review. We’re going to take a dive into this pool and take a look at all the good, and the bad too.
How does Cardpool work?
The Cardpool gift card exchange works both ways, meaning that Cardpool buys gift cards, but it also sells them. Operating sort of like how a broker would.
If you have unused gift cards that you would like to sell to make money, you can sell them to this gift card exchange. According to the website, you could get paid up to 92% cashback on your cards. If on the other hand, you want to buy gift cards then Cardpool says you can save up to 35% on gift cards for your favorite store.
Sell unwanted gift cards
If I wanted to sell my gift card for cash online all I would need to do is go to Cardpool.com. Once there I would need to enter the store or business name that the gift card is from. Then the balance on the gift card (if you know it). Finally choose to receive a cheque for the card.
I could also opt to take an Amazon gift card instead of cash and if I didn’t know the balance the system would give me a website to go to and also a number to call to get the balance on the card.
There’s another way to do this if you need cash now and don’t want to have to wait on a cheque.
There are Cardpool machines littered all over the country. So all you have to do is find the nearest Cardpool kiosk and bring along all the cards you want to sell. Scan the card or swipe it and the machine will show you a cash amount that you will be paid.
If you’re cool with what is offered then you need to verify your identity with your government-issued ID and accept the cash offer, then go to the store’s service desk to collect your cash.
That’s it. Cash in hand.
Buy gift cards
This is also simple to do. To buy a gift card go to the Cardpool Buy Cards page and select the card you want using the store name, gift card types or categories. Once your card is selected you will see the discount percentage you are receiving on the card, the original price, and the discounted price you are going to pay. Just hit buy now, and complete the purchase.
Cardpool Mobile app
Yes, there’s now a mobile app that you can use as well, but sadly it’s only available for iPhone users. Android users aren’t invited to this pool party. At least not yet. The app gives you the ability to take Cardpool with you wherever you go. Allowing you to buy and sell cards wherever you are.
Cardpool referral program
Here’s another cool thing about Cardpool. You can refer your friends to buy the discounted cards and earn a $7 Cardpool discount code for each one. When each of your referred friends makes their very first card purchase you earn that $7 discount, and what’s even cooler. That friend can get $7 off of their first purchase of $25 or more when they sign up with your referral code.
How could they refuse?
Another cool feature. If you buy a gift card today and decide not to use it immediately, it will remain valid and have the exact dollar value as at the time of purchase for one entire year from the date of purchase.
Furthermore, if you cannot redeem a card for the exact amount specified at the time of purchase, then you should contact support for a Cardpool refund on that card.
Sounds wonderful so far, doesn’t it? But the truth is that as with so many other things in life It ain’t all sunshine and roses.
Let’s look at some of the Cardpool complaints
I think with any business that has dealings with customers there are bound to be some issues arising from time to time. It’s basically impossible to please everybody and with any system, there will be hiccups on occasion.
However, when there are too many reports, too many disgruntled customers, then something needs to be done to address the situation or the company suffers big time. Losing credibility, and also losing customers. Situations like that if left unchecked can result in the business failing altogether.
Customers report not receiving Cardpool payments
Apparently, quite a few customers have allegedly been having problems receiving their payments for cards sold to the company. The latest such report was made just a few days ago by this person who says they sold a gift card and was told that they would receive the money for the card in 1-4 business days.
After 6 days they still had not received anything so they sent an email and was told a response would be forthcoming in a few days. 6 days later there still was no response.
Unavailability of an app for Android mobile phone users
The app has not been made available for Android phone users and there is no mention anywhere on the site of any plans to make it available for android phones.
Cardpool customer service issues
More customer complaints about unsatisfactory customer support. Reports that all the support team does is promise to escalate the issues, reports of unanswered emails and unreturned telephone calls, etc.
Cardpool refunds capped at $1000 for each user
Once the user has received refunds to the tune of $1000 they cannot receive any more. With one gift card having the potential to be valued at $500 like one of those for AirBNB. That $1000 max is not looking very good.
Business is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau
A check of the BBB website revealed that Cardpool had not received accreditation from that organization.
Is Cardpool safe?
With all that we have seen about them from this Cardpool review, we have to ask the questions “is Cardpool safe?” “is Cardpool legit?”
These are not easy questions to answer. On the one hand, we see it as a business that really fills a need and on the website itself, there are some good reviews from customers who are apparently satisfied with the services they received. On the other hand, there are clearly quite a few disgruntled customers out there who have been given a raw deal.
In my own humble opinion, i believe that this is a legitimate business that for whatever reason has been going through a rough patch lately. They have issues with their customer services, their quality control mechanisms and also in the area of fulfillment. These are problems that they need to address, and quickly if they do not want to end up as another failed business remembered with a plaque by the wayside of the e-business superhighway.
Thinking of online business?
Were you thinking of buying and selling gift cards to CardPool as a business? Or maybe you already are? Well, i hope i haven’t given you second thoughts with this Cardpool review. As i said i do think that they are a legitimate business. Albeit with a few problems.
There are quite a few alternative gift card exchanges out there as well. If you want to take a look at them. There’s this one called Raise, but they seem to be getting their share of customer complaints too. Then there’s Gift Card Spread, Gift Card Granny and CardCash.
I’ve seen a few customer complaints regarding Gift Card Spread but it appears they have a better customer service section.
My question though would be. If someone wants to make money online, or even offline why worry with the hassle of buying and selling gift cards for a few dollars? It seems to me that the ones who really make the money in this business are the gift card exchanges themselves. Not the person who’s got a gift card or two to sell.
I’m not knocking this though, because a dollar is a dollar anyway that you can earn it. Legitimately that is.
But i want to invite you to take a little look at my number one recommendation for earning money online. It just could possibly make you some decent money.
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Did you like my Cardpool review? What do you think? Is it a scam, or is it the best thing for unused gift cards? Let me know what your thoughts are in the comment section below. If you liked the review, share it with your friends and relatives any way you see fit.
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