How Much Would You Pay for a $50 Target Gift Card?

If your eBay user name is lpinok, then the answer is $55.71.

This seems to defy all logic. The item description is: “Just a $50 gift card to Target … .”

Why would anyone pay more than face value?

(Hat tip: David Hansen)

mike b

Is there a surcharge on purchasing a target gift card? I know that when purchase a American Express gift card for someone, say $100, the cost of purchase is actually some x% over $100.


or maybe the bidder has a $10 off $50 paypal coupon and nothing else to use it on.


We see weird things like this in benefit plans all the time. Save $300 to increase your deductible by $200 and you would be surprised the number of people who do not do it.


AaronS (#42) -

Um, if he works at Target, wouldn't he just spend his $55.71 at work tomorrow, instead of waiting a week for the card to arrive in the mail? Plus the math still doesn't work: he's still spending more than he would spend in cash.

It was a cute thought, but that's by far the least plausible explanation.

Tim Ryan

This is even more surprising when you realize that there were at least two people willing to pay more than $50. (lpinok had to outbid somebody who bid slightly less.)

mike p

Sounds like #31 has it right.

If you're using a stolen credit card number, then you are spending a few dollars to get something that is nearly as good as cash and not in imminent danger of cancellation.

Alternatively, I suppose the buyer could have a couple of hundred $50 Target gift cards already is trying to manipulate the market so he can sell at a profit. I don't see it working, but even stupider things have been tried.


OK, here's my theory (feel free to shoot holes in it, like anyone needed an invitation to do so).

Seller is a new mom, and as a new mom received lots of lovely baby gifts. As her child has outgrown these things, she has sold them on ebay and the profits ended up in her paypal account. For whatever reason, she's found the easiest way to convert 'paypal' money to 'usable' money is to purchase gift cards. Any money spent over the value of the card just decreases the profit she made on the original sale.

Eh, it's a theory.


maybe he stumbled upon a way to smelt fake pennies- if his payment is in all pennies, the cops should raid his basement


The buyer might have a $-off or %-off coupon issued by ebay or paypal. Such coupons can be quite generous--I've gotten 30%-off coupons from PayPal.

Also, he might have gotten a gift via PayaPal, and ebay makes it very easy to spend money in a PayPal account. Many people spend money given to them more recklessly than they would "real" money.


It's probably being paid for with stolen money, ie a credit card obtained by identity theft. You buy gift cards, that way even once the credit card is shut down you still have money "saved".


@77 There's no sales tax high enough to make me give my mom a check on mother's day.

Witty Nickname

No one explicitly said they sent the question to her, so I went ahead and did it (I am sure none the less that 50 others beat me to it), if I get a reply I will post it here.

Joe T

@28: It's not uncommon for people to make small purchases on eBay just for the positive feedback, but from what I've seen they usually buy intangible items that only cost a few cents, like ebooks or coupon codes. This looks different to me.

Joel S.

Three ideas came to my mind: 1. The purchaser has built up a credit at paypal and wants to redeem it. 2. Paypal is offering a discount greater than $5.71 on purchases over $55.71. 3. The purchaser has a one-time use coupon through paypal that expires 05-13-2008 1:02 PDT.

Andrew G

It's possible that there is a 'transaction cost' for some to monetize their PayPal accounts. Buying gift cards is as close as you can get to 'purchasing money' with a PayPal account, so that might be what's happening. Doubtful, but a potential consideration.

Standish Marks

Re: #8

Very funny, Marlo, and here I thought you got shot in the last episode of The Wire


The whole fraud thing is a red herring. PayPal is quite safe and there is no incentive on the seller's side to ship prior to payment. Otherwise, what LongTimeEbayer said.


they do not charge tax for gift cards


How much is the gift card going for at I ask because Target is (or was) charging $24.99 for a 1600 Microsoft Points card (to go towards Xbox Live), whereas usually the card should go for $19.99. In fact, you can purchase your MS Points through the Xbox Live service (via your Xbox) for the face value and much less hassle.


What if he is a Target employee who already receives, say, a 15% discount? That means that the %50 will buy around $58 of Target he's still $2 - $3 to the good.


Maybe he was desperate for a "thoughtful gift" for his girl--and was willing to go the extra amount just to give her the card (as it was still cheaper than driving to town, braving weather and traffic and crime, etc.)