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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, December 27, 2003

Plenty of places to pass along your unwanted gift card

By Becky Yerak
Chicago Tribune

You're the sort of person with yellow Post-it notes on your computer, the type known to scrawl a phone number on your palm.

A friend buys you a $50 gift card to Franklin Covey, seller of calendar planning pages, binders and other productivity tools.

You obligingly gush, "I can buy two years' worth of refill pages." In reality, your mind races to whom you might "regift" the certificate.

Help is on the way.

Internet sites are available to help dispose of gift cards not on recipients' wish lists.

Swapswop.com lets users buy and sell gift certificates, as well as books, CDs, DVDs and Playstation products.

Two other sites are devoted to gift cards alone.

One is Swapagift.com. The other is Certificateswap.com, which debuted earlier this month.

In midafternoon on Christmas Day, there were five Sears gift certificates on Certificateswap. By late afternoon yesterday, there were still five.

Swapagift had one Sears certificate.

"We've only been up a few weeks," said Cameron Johnson, the 19-year-old founder of Certificateswap. He used to unload his unwanted gift cards on eBay.

His site has been getting about 10,000 page views a day and currently has more than 350 gift cards for sale, of which "several dozen" were posted Friday, he said.

Buying on Certificateswap is free.

As for the sell side, it's free to list a certificate. But if and when there's a taker, then a 7.5 percent processing fee on the sale price is levied.

Among the disclaimers on the Web site: The Roanoke, Va., business can't be held liable if there's a problem with the accuracy of a listing or a hitch in the ability of sellers to sell an item.

Here's how it works: A buyer purchases a certificate. Certificateswap escrows the money and then alerts the seller, who is asked to confirm the deal.

Once the sale is confirmed, the seller receives the purchaser's address and must ship the certificate within 24 hours. If the seller can't ship within 24 hours, then Certificateswap asks that the seller "decline" the sale. If the seller doesn't confirm the sale within 48 hours, the deal is canceled.

After the deal has been completed — the buyer says everything went smoothly, or 30 days have passed and the buyer hasn't lodged a complaint — the seller gets paid.