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just got this email:

The team at Plastic Jungle would like to thank you for your participation in our gift card programs over the past seven years. Since 2006, Plastic Jungle has been a leader in providing you with great deals on gift cards in a secure marketplace.

As our business has grown and evolved, we have seen that the greatest potential for Plastic Jungle’s long-term success is in working directly with our business partners. As a result, we will no longer be buying and selling gift cards at www.plasticjungle.com. This change is taking place effective today.

With this transition, there are a few important things you should know. First, all orders currently being processed will be honored with the same guarantee of service and safety that we have upheld for seven years. Second, our website will be available to allow you to access your account and retrieve gift cards until November 1, 2013. Third, Plastic Jungle will continue to offer gift card exchange services to customers through our partners. Finally, our customer service desk will remain open during this period to answer inquiries and resolve any concerns. If you have any questions, we encourage you to visit our FAQs page or contact Plastic Jungle Customer Success at customersuccess@PlasticJungle.com.

Thank you again for being an important part of the Plastic Jungle family over the past seven years. We appreciate all of your support as we begin this exciting new mission as a company.

All the best,
The Plastic Jungle Team

Member Summary
Most Recent Posts
daw4888: Absolutely. At the start of the business we swapped out cards all the time. It made things a bit safer becaus... (more)

GiftcardZen (May. 14, 2013 @ 9:09a) |

Welcome Aaron (GiftcardZen).

I sold some restaurant gift cards to GCZ in 1Q. I had a bunch. I called the bulk seller line... (more)

kmully (May. 14, 2013 @ 9:21a) |

CB: Cash Back
TCB: Top CB site, offers better CB than FW

sabalan72 (May. 14, 2013 @ 9:22a) |

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Oh. Snap.

well that sucks

just got this email:

Us monkeys at Plastic Jungle would like to condemn you for your rape of our gift card programs over the past seven years. Since 2006, Plastic Jungle has been a leading victim in providing you with great deals on gift cards in an easily-exploited marketplace. F*** you.

As our business has grown and evolved, we have seen that the greatest potential for Plastic Jungle’s long-term failure is in working directly with our customers. As a result, we will no longer allow you bastards to be buying and selling gift cards at www.plasticjungle.com. This change is taking place effective today.

With this transition, there are a few important things you morons should know. First, all orders currently being processed will be honored with the same guarantee of service and safety that we have upheld for seven years, even though you don't deserve it. Second, our website will be available to allow you to access your account and retrieve gift cards until November 1, 2013, even though you have abused us into oblivion. Third, Plastic Jungle will continue to offer gift card exchange services to customers through our partners, but we have no intention of dealing with you a-holes directly. Finally, our customer service desk will remain open during this period to tell you all off. If you have any questions, we encourage you to keep them to yourself.

F*** you again for being an important part of the murder of the Plastic Jungle family over the past seven years. We appreciate all of your support as we begin this exciting new mission of escaping from y'all.

All the worst,
The Plastic Jungle Team

So what happened? Were they not profitable? They were probably the largest giftcard site

Of all the sites, PJ was the most difficult. If they didn't have the best price, plus click through Cash Back I'd never use them. Nearly every transaction was a problem. Their CSR's recommendation was to 'buy fewer cards with less frequency'--not usually the best business model.

PJ was however always prompt when I had an issue with the value of a card--I'd typically have a refund within minutes.

I know many have horror stories about pj, but all in all I did okay with them, able to unload many gift cards for cash after turning in credit card bonuses. It will be an option I will miss. And yes there are others that do the same thing, but none I have found have as many online redemption options.

they probably over expanded when the volume of this business is really only enough for a <5 person operation.

They seemed to be overtaken by CardPool awhile back. PJ hasn't had decent GC inventory in over a year.

I will miss some good deals they had, especially with Cash Back, since CardPool offers, but never actually pays Cash Back.

avalon6 said:   So what happened? Were they not profitable? They were probably the largest giftcard site

I'd guess margins were too thin. Besides staffing they had to buy gift cards, send prepaid envelopes, verify the balance, sell them, ship them, and lastly service any issues.

This coupled with unscrupulous sellers, charge backs, and CC fees, would slowly eat away at their seed funding.

They were also often at the mercy of the stores themselves, who could decide to devalue their GC at any time.

I remember Old Navy GC's were especially devalued at one point, due to an influx of them at below retail price. If you checked their site at the time, they had a massive stockpile of those cards. It must have been costly to just sit on all those cards, after paying ~80% of their value for them.

I'm guessing this was their goal anyways, to become big enough and recognized to be able to work with retailers directly, seems like they finally did that.

Plastic Jungle was hit and miss for me. I did get some nice deals in their early stages. Their limited descriptions gave me headaches, I bought a gift card once and received merchandise credit (could not be used online), at the time their was no way to communicate with the seller before hand. PJ did offer me a full refund, so no big loss.

avalon6 said:   So what happened? Were they not profitable? They were probably the largest giftcard site
My guess?
Target Gift Cards happened.
you could purchase them for 9% off (after CB), then turn around and sell them for 8% off (after CB)....
That was a good few months.

rlaw said:   avalon6 said:   So what happened? Were they not profitable? They were probably the largest giftcard site


I remember Old Navy GC's were especially devalued at one point, due to an influx of them at below retail price. If you checked their site at the time, they had a massive stockpile of those cards. It must have been costly to just sit on all those cards, after paying ~80% of their value for them.



Hehe, good times. Between them and cardpool my dad and I sent them over $5000 in Old Navy/gap cards. That was in connection with an American Express rewards promotion where those cards were half off (after the amazing 100K and 75K creditcard bonuses that hit the same day gave us tons of points). I don't think the going rate for Gap cards ever recovered.

imbatman said:   avalon6 said:   So what happened? Were they not profitable? They were probably the largest giftcard site
My guess?
Target Gift Cards happened.
you could purchase them for 9% off (after CB), then turn around and sell them for 8% off (after CB)....
That was a good few months.

F. M. L.

I noticed just yesterday or the day before that on PJ's site, if you went to sell a card it would direct you to cardcash.com.

And here I would have thought that massive fraud would have been the killer.

Here's the problem with any gift card that can be used online:
Joe sends the gift cards to PJ and receives payment. PJ sells the gift cards to Jane.
Someone else then uses up the balance on the gift card. Jane complains to PJ that she received the card with a $0 balance.

At this point it's impossible to determine who is the victim and who is the criminal. Did Joe give the number away after receiving payment for someone else to use? Did Jane give the number to a friend to use before reporting the problem? There's really no way to know and the only real option for PJ would be to refund Jane and eat the loss.

I think I sold them about $1500 in SBUX GC's that had no value by the time they tried to flip them. F*ck you Eric Chen!

jewsus said:   I think I sold them about $1500 in SBUX GC's that had no value by the time they tried to flip them. F*ck you Eric Chen!

How did you do that?

milkandcookies said:   jewsus said:   I think I sold them about $1500 in SBUX GC's that had no value by the time they tried to flip them. F*ck you Eric Chen!

How did you do that?


Link

Hey guys I don't know for sure why they went under, but might be able to answer any questions about the industry (Full disclosure, we're a competitor: Giftcard Zen). The industry has a TON of fraud, but it can be navigated. I don't think it was fraud that did them in. Margins are tight, but that shouldn't have been it. They had a lot of cash, having raised $23.4M from venture capitalists. (source: http://www.crunchbase.com/company/plastic-jungle). Venture capital can make things fuzzy from an external/public point of view, because a company can look fine even if on the inside they're losing money, sometimes quickly. I'm new to FatWallet, but happy to answer any specific questions about the industry.

Plastic Jungle was the one that seemed to delay payments beyond their own estimates. Cardpool worked better for me (although giftcard zen being on FW is a nice thing to have).

GiftcardZen said:   Hey guys I don't know for sure why they went under, but might be able to answer any questions about the industry (Full disclosure, we're a competitor: Giftcard Zen). The industry has a TON of fraud, but it can be navigated. I don't think it was fraud that did them in. Margins are tight, but that shouldn't have been it. They had a lot of cash, having raised $23.4M from venture capitalists. (source: http://www.crunchbase.com/company/plastic-jungle). Venture capital can make things fuzzy from an external/public point of view, because a company can look fine even if on the inside they're losing money, sometimes quickly. I'm new to FatWallet, but happy to answer any specific questions about the industry.

Does anyone sell gift cards to your site? Whenever I compare on giftcardgranny y'all are usually the lowest payout with no Cash Back portal offers.

How do you reduce the fraud?

Even on the most basic level it seems riddled with trust issues.

A receives gift card. Resells it to B.

A could send empty card to B.
B could claim card received from A was empty.
A could send card and then use the code themselves a few days later to spend balance.
B could use the card and claim the balance disappeared.

I know PJ managed to get a system of basic verification for many GC's set up. I think it was just setup for sites that allowed online checking of GC's balances.

I'd assume in general retailers themselves don't really like GC resellers as they facilitate people actually using their cards and not collecting dust elsewhere. Would they let you have access to transaction information? Who takes the hit in cases of fraud?


fish
Disclaimer
GiftcardZen said:   Hey guys I don't know for sure why they went under, but might be able to answer any questions about the industry (Full disclosure, we're a competitor: Giftcard Zen). The industry has a TON of fraud, but it can be navigated. I don't think it was fraud that did them in. Margins are tight, but that shouldn't have been it. They had a lot of cash, having raised $23.4M from venture capitalists. (source: http://www.crunchbase.com/company/plastic-jungle). Venture capital can make things fuzzy from an external/public point of view, because a company can look fine even if on the inside they're losing money, sometimes quickly. I'm new to FatWallet, but happy to answer any specific questions about the industry.Guess what's for dinner tonight?

Fresh fish.

I sold upwards of $1k to GiftCardZen a couple weeks back for the first time, on a card for which they were tied for highest payout with one of the other lesser-known sites. I got the sense from the experience that they're a pretty low-budget operation, but they paid out as promised pretty quickly.

jewsus: Yep, people buy and sell with us. Check again on GiftCardGranny, you'll see our payouts are quite competitive. We'll look into listing with FatWallet.

rlaw: You're 100% right, the entire industry is all about trust. We've found that the best way to reduce it is to verify the identity of the people buying or selling with us. The occasional transaction does go wrong, in which case we work with the merchants (some will share transaction/location information, some won't) to see what happened.

gloreglabert: Thanks for giving us a try. We are constantly upgrading our processes & systems, but if there's anything specific you felt could be better please let me know!

GiftcardZen said:    We'll look into listing with FatWallet.

Hopefully it is an enticing CB to buyers and sellers, take a look at TCB for listing too.

To answer the continual question: a valid CC is required (at cardpool for example), for eGC's while plastic GC's get mailed in and are thus, verifiable.

Weird, I'm still getting New Cards Available emails from pj.

Did anyone get one of those "The site's security certificate is not trusted" messages @ Gift Card Zen? If so, did you just ignore it & go to the site anyway?

CKritiv1 said:   Did anyone get one of those "The site's security certificate is not trusted" messages @ Gift Card Zen? If so, did you just ignore it & go to the site anyway?

using firefox, did not get that message

GiftcardZen said:   jewsus: Yep, people buy and sell with us. Check again on GiftCardGranny, you'll see our payouts are quite competitive. We'll look into listing with FatWallet.

I looked at other gift cards. Sorry I jumped the gun. I only try to sell SBUX giftcards because I got them for really cheap! Once you guys offer 80% I'll sell.

GiftcardZen said:   Hey guys I don't know for sure why they went under, but might be able to answer any questions about the industry (Full disclosure, we're a competitor: Giftcard Zen). The industry has a TON of fraud, but it can be navigated. I don't think it was fraud that did them in. Margins are tight, but that shouldn't have been it. They had a lot of cash, having raised $23.4M from venture capitalists. (source: http://www.crunchbase.com/company/plastic-jungle). Venture capital can make things fuzzy from an external/public point of view, because a company can look fine even if on the inside they're losing money, sometimes quickly. I'm new to FatWallet, but happy to answer any specific questions about the industry.

Giftcardzen.com : Here's the business idea for you:

1. try to get in-between to enable any GC to get locked up with your ownership that is transferable (say via a PIN that owner can change) to others.
2. Then you can be the go-between when seller transfers control to you
3. you shift ownership to buyer only on verification of receipt of the balance by buyer.
4. Fraud eliminated

Step #1 is of course the killer for commonizing the major GC issuers, hopefully not many but corner major few and you are set!

sabalan72: Thanks, will do. Do most CB sellers have proof of purchase for their cards? It seems like a different segment of the industry than we usually see. (Eg. someone gets several cards through points, sells them to a GC site for cash + Cash Back)

CKritiv1: We'll look into that. Any more details on where/how you saw that message that would help us track it down?

jewsus: We pay less for Starbucks because it's the merchant we've seen the most fraud with, by far. Here's how it happens; someone steals a credit card, walks into Starbucks (or Arby's or wherever, usually a restaurant chain of some kind) and says "I'd like to buy as many gift cards as I can with this." The clerk often doesn't know or care what's happening, and they walk out with 8 x $100 in cards, which they sell to a GC site. If you're getting Starbucks through a contest and have proof of how you're getting them, I'm happy to offer you 80% for them.

invisible: Interesting idea thanks. If I understand correctly, you're suggesting that we would pay for the cards once the card was bought (and used?) by the buyer? If they used it successfully, you're right that it would cut down on fraud. Most people selling cards to us want to be paid quickly though. For cards that sell quickly maybe that wouldn't be a problem. I'll think about this more thanks.

GiftcardZen said:   sabalan72: Thanks, will do. Do most CB sellers have proof of purchase for their cards? It seems like a different segment of the industry than we usually see. (Eg. someone gets several cards through points, sells them to a GC site for cash + Cash Back)

CKritiv1: We'll look into that. Any more details on where/how you saw that message that would help us track it down?

jewsus: We pay less for Starbucks because it's the merchant we've seen the most fraud with, by far. Here's how it happens; someone steals a credit card, walks into Starbucks (or Arby's or wherever, usually a restaurant chain of some kind) and says "I'd like to buy as many gift cards as I can with this." The clerk often doesn't know or care what's happening, and they walk out with 8 x $100 in cards, which they sell to a GC site. If you're getting Starbucks through a contest and have proof of how you're getting them, I'm happy to offer you 80% for them.

invisible: Interesting idea thanks. If I understand correctly, you're suggesting that we would pay for the cards once the card was bought (and used?) by the buyer? If they used it successfully, you're right that it would cut down on fraud. Most people selling cards to us want to be paid quickly though. For cards that sell quickly maybe that wouldn't be a problem. I'll think about this more thanks.


There are a number of places you can buy a gift card.. with a giftcard. Like AMC. If you bought an AMC giftcard from someone, you could walk into an AMC and use that giftcard, to buy another giftcard.. and thus eliminate the ability of the original seller to use teh balance of the original giftcard.

GiftcardZen-I saw the security certificate warning around 7-8 am EST while searching on my smartphone (not iPhone). Now that I'm on my laptop using Google Chrome I'm able to access the site w/no warning or problems. Thanks!

daw4888: Absolutely. At the start of the business we swapped out cards all the time. It made things a bit safer because the original seller couldn't use it, but it didn't scale (you can't do that as you grow, we'd spend all our time running around town and it didn't protect us from cards bought with a stolen CC. It would still be canceled if the original was bought fraudulently.

CKritiv1: Thanks that helps a bunch. We'll look into it more today.

Welcome Aaron (GiftcardZen).

I sold some restaurant gift cards to GCZ in 1Q. I had a bunch. I called the bulk seller lines for all of the companies. Aaron from GCZ was the only one who picked up. Good conversation. Would sell to again. (In fact, about to drop some in the mail today.)

I started avoiding PJ because of horrible customer service so no loss for me there. I've had good luck with Cardpool and GCZ. Real humans work there that actually pick up the phone. From there it comes down to price, and I understand why it fluctuates so much.

GiftcardZen said:   sabalan72: Thanks, will do. Do most CB sellers have proof of purchase for their cards? It seems like a different segment of the industry than we usually see. (Eg. someone gets several cards through points, sells them to a GC site for cash .

CB: Cash Back
TCB: Top CB site, offers better CB than FW



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