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Gift Certificates Buying Guide

Gift Certificates Buying Guide

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Gift certificates open up a world of shopping opportunities and are the perfect gift to get someone when the shopper is not entirely sure what that person would enjoy. Recipients love getting gift certificates and gift cards because it means they can choose any item they want as a gift. Gift certificates are appropriate for anyone and everyone no matter what their relationship or age is. Gift certificates are available for nearly every store, restaurant, or service, so finding the right one for a recipient should be a breeze. eBay has a wide variety of gift certificates to suit any person’s tastes, and getting the right one involves knowing the different types of gift certificates, understanding the limitations, choosing the right amount, and placing the order.

Get an eBay Gift Certificate

eBay Gift Certificates let shoppers share the fun and excitement of bidding and buying on eBay with their friends and family. There’s something for everyone on eBay, so shoppers can take the guesswork out of gift giving and give the gift of eBay. There are literally millions of items to choose from across hundreds of different categories, so recipients are sure to find something that they’ll love. eBay Gift Certificates are easy to buy, safe, and convenient. Some of the advantages of eBay gift certificates are listed below.

Advantages of eBay Gift Certificates

    Convenient. Anyone can buy an eBay Gift Certificate, and they don’t need to be a registered eBay user. Secure. Shoppers can pay for eBay Gift Certificates securely with PayPal (an eBay Company). Printable. A person can send an eBay Gift Certificate via email, or print it out to deliver directly to the recipient. It’s the gift giver’s choice. Personal. Shoppers can add a personal greeting that will appear on the eBay Gift Certificate. Flexible. Recipients can redeem eBay Gift Certificates using PayPal for any of the millions of eBay items that accept PayPal.

Discover Gift Certificates on eBay

Aside from eBay gift certificates, eBay also has a huge selection of gift certificates and gift cards for other merchants available. Shoppers can search for the right gift card by exploring and choosing one from the appropriate category and understanding the restrictions that the gift card may have.

Gift Certificate Categories

Gift certificates are divided into different categories. It might be hard for shoppers to think of the right merchant to select from off the tops of their heads, so getting an idea for what is available in each category can make the process easier. Also, knowing the recipient’s interests can help when choosing the right gift certificate. On eBay, the gift certificates and gift cards are divided into four main categories: Clothing, Food & Drink, Home & Garden, and Movies & Entertainment.

If your gift recipient loves clothes or wants a fashion makeover, then choosing a gift certificate from the Clothing Gift Cards & Certificates ccategory would be the way to go. Gift certificates are available for people of all ages. Popular gift cards for children’s clothing include Gymboree and The Children’s Place. Gift certificates for department stores like Macy’s, Sears, and JCPenney would also be in this category. Gift cards for stores that specialize in one type of clothing, such as lingerie from Victoria’s Secret, shoes from Foot Locker, and accessories from Coach are also available.

Food & Drink gift cards & certificates make chowhounds, lovers of fine dining, and Starbucks addicts happy. Additionally, shoppers will find gift certificates for Krispy Kreme doughnuts, dinner at Chili’s, Subway, and thousands of other restaurants, diners, and coffee shops.

Home and garden gift certificates are ideal gifts for people who love to dig in the dirt or who love do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. DIY-ers are most likely frequent shoppers of Lowe’s Hardware and The Home Depot, which are the two biggest merchants in this category. If the recipient is more interested in decorating than building, then other popular merchants include Bed Bath & Beyond, Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, and Williams-Sonoma.

Gift certificates in the Movies & Entertainment category are perfect for people who love to put on a headset and boogie, snuggle up on the couch to watch An Affair to Remember. or delve into a novel. Shoppers will find gift cards from Blockbuster and Sony Music downloads, and gift certificates to Barnes & Noble. With increasing ticket prices at the box office, movie buffs are sure to enjoy gift certificates to see movies with AMC, Regal Entertainment, and Fandango.

Although not listed on the main page for eBay Gift Cards & Certificates, several smaller categories can also be found. Other categories would include gift certificates for services like spas, pet products, or professional photo shoots. Shoppers might also be looking for gift certificates for travel, sporting goods, baby products, and computers in this category.


When purchasing a gift certificate it is important to check what restrictions exist. Some gift certificates are only valid in certain areas or may have short expiration dates. Before finalizing a purchase for a gift certificate, make sure you look for expiration dates, valid locations, and any other restrictions.

Evaluate Expiration Dates

Some gift certificates have no expiration date. Others have a specific time frame in which the recipient must use the certificate. Certain gift cards will charge a maintenance fee if the entire amount is not used within a certain amount of time. In these instances, the recipient may lose some of the money on the certificate if they do not spend it in time. Shoppers should make certain they know the expiration date and that the recipient will be able to use the gift certificate in the allotted time.

Look at Valid Locations

Some gift certificates are location-specific, meaning they’re available at a specific store location in a specific state. Shoppers should make sure to ask if a gift certificate is location-specific, or shop for gift certificates valid in the state where the recipient lives by clicking the states name on the eBay Gift Certificates category.

There are some non-U.S. gift certificates available on eBay from British Airways and stores in the U.K. and Ireland, as well as Norwegian Cruise Lines and resorts in Jamaica, but shoppers should make sure the recipient of an eBay Gift Certificate resides in the U.S. or Canada, the only two countries that will currently redeem them.

Choose the Right Amount for a Gift Certificate

Choosing the right amount for a gift certificate is just as important as selecting one from the right merchant. Some occasions call for more than others, and there are some instances in which the amount can be too high. First and foremost, the shopper should not purchase a gift certificate for more than they can comfortably afford to give. When selecting the proper amount, the shopper should take into account the occasion, the merchant, and the number of people that will be using the gift certificate.

Shop by Occasion

When selecting the amount for a gift certificate, shoppers should think about the occasion for which they are giving the gift. When giving a gift certificate as a wedding gift, guests should treat them the same as cash gifts. The norm would be a minimum of $100 for a single person or $200 for a couple or if the guest has a plus one. Gift certificates for children’s birthdays, on the other

hand, can be much lower. Gift cards in increments of $10 are usually much appreciated by parents of younger children.

Shop by Merchant

Choosing the right amount also has a lot to do with the merchant. Shoppers do not want to give a gift certificate in an amount that is too low to spend at a particular merchant. For example, a $25 gift certificate for Wal-Mart or Target would go a lot further than a $25 gift certificate at Abercrombie & Fitch or Gap. Shoppers should select an amount that would allow the recipient to comfortably choose an item from the store without having to worry about making up the difference.

Shop by Recipient

Shoppers should take into account who the recipient of the gift card is before selecting the right amount. Too much can make recipients feel uncomfortable, whereas too little may insult them. Likewise, think about how many people will be using the gift certificate. If giving a restaurant gift card to a family of four people, the amount should be enough for the family to be able to enjoy the meal rather than just one person.

Find Gift Certificates on eBay

Once you know what type of gift certificate you want, go to the Gift Cards & Coupons category, click the type of Gift Certificate you want, and start searching for item listings on eBay to find the one want. In order to make a successful gift certificate purchase on eBay, it is important to know the easiest ways to search and how to safely choose a seller from which to buy.

Search for Gift Certificates on eBay

If you are not entirely sure which type of gift certificate you are looking for, then narrowing down the categories is likely the best option for searching. If you have a specific gift certificate in mind, then performing an advanced search will save time by weeding out irrelevant search results.

Narrow Down Gift Certificates by Category

The categories list on the left side of each search page will help you narrow down the listings by item type. From the main Gift Cards & Coupons page, the four categories you can start narrowing down from are Coupons. Gift Cards. Gift Certificates. and eBay Gift Cards. Once you have selected your main category, you will be given several other options along the left side of the page to choose. You can refine the listings by merchant, buying format, price, and more.

Use Keywords in an Advanced Search

The Advanced Search feature allows you to be more specific with your search from the start. This is the best method for people who know what type of gift certificate they want to purchase. You can enter the words for the item that you are looking for in the search box. For example, if you want to find a $15 Apple iTunes gift certificate, type "itunes 15" (without quotation marks) into the search box. In addition to that, you can include any words you wish to exclude from the search if necessary.

Before clicking the "search" button, check the boxes that apply to your search. You can search all categories for your item, or you can select a specific category to search in. You can automatically filter out the results based on price, buying format, etc. This will save you the time of having to manually go through all of the listings.

Buy Gift Certificates With Confidence

By doing a little bit of research before making a gift certificate purchase and understanding eBay’s policies, you can be confident with every transaction you make on eBay. It is important to carefully read about the item you wish to purchase as well as read about the seller from whom you are going to buy before finalizing your purchase. You should also familiarize yourself with eBay’s policies for protecting buyers.

Know Your Purchase

Be sure that you have read the item description on the listing. This is the area where the eBay seller will provide all of the details and restrictions for the gift certificate. Some sellers may be sending the gift certificate in a code via email and others will be sending a physical gift certificate to your mailing address. If they are sending it through the mail, then be sure to include the delivery cost in the final price. If you are buying several gift certificates from one seller or spending a lot of money, make certain to ask the seller to insure the item before it is shipped. If you have any questions about the item or its shipping, you can contact the seller directly by clicking the "Ask Seller a Question" link under the seller’s profile.

Know Your Seller

Many sellers operate their eBay stores and listings much like a regular retailer. Their reputation is very important to them, and the feedback left by previous clients will help you determine which sellers are better to deal with and which ones to be cautious of. Be sure to look at their feedback rating, number of completed transactions, and the reviews left by previous customers to get an idea of the seller’s reputation.

Also like regular retailers, eBay sellers may also provide money back guarantees or returns and exchanges. Be sure to read description in the listing for any of these services, and look over the terms and conditions for them.

Lastly, do not purchase from sellers that want you to pay for or finalize the transaction outside of eBay. eBay’s programs to protect buyers, which will be discussed shortly, will not apply to you if you do this. Also, unless you know the seller personally, it is incredibly risky to send money via instant cash wire transfers.

Know User Restrictions

Just about any seller on eBay can offer a gift certificate as long as they accept PayPal and adhere to eBay’s seller policies. Look for sellers who have a proven record of accomplishment for delivering on their promises by reading Feedback comments. PayPal reserves the right to reverse any gift certificate purchase for any reason and return the funds to the purchaser’s PayPal account. Neither eBay nor PayPal is responsible for lost, stolen, or misused gift certificate codes.

Buyer Protection Programs

If the seller does not fulfill their end of the bargain and send the certificates or codes to you, eBay Buyer Protection allows buyers some shopping piece of mind. With this program, eBay will cover the cost of the item as well as its shipping costs. Make sure that the item was purchased via a bid on an auction, Buy It Now or Best Offer in order to be covered by this program. If you buy from the seller outside of eBay, then you will not be covered.


Gift certificates are popular gifts for people of all ages. There is a gift certificate out there for everyone no matter if they’re into music, dining out, movies, travel, or shopping. Knowing a person’s interests is extremely helpful when picking out a gift certificate that is right for the recipient, but it can also be accomplished by browsing through different categories to find the right gift certificate in the amount that want. eBay is a marketplace that offers thousands of different gift certificates for hundreds of different merchants, making finding the right gift certificate easier than ever.

Category: Insurance

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