How to unload your unwanted gift card for a better one

CHICAGO (WLS) -- What to do with those unwanted holiday gift cards? Don't waste them. The I-Team is finding ways to sell or trade them for a better gift card - but there can also be risks.

About $3 billion in gift cards went unused last year. It may have been one of those gift cards you really didn't want for the holidays. But don't let your money sit unused.

"I would say, trade it in, find a site to trade it in for a store you really like," suggested Julie Ramhold from Dealnews.com. She says there are plenty of websites which will allow you to trade in gift cards or even sell them outright. You usually won't get the full value of the card, but trading in will get you more.

"The benefit of trading is you usually get more bang for your buck," Ramhold said.

Dealnews.com aggregated a list of the best gift cards to sell and trade and sites that it recommends using. However, you should always make sure that any gift card site you use provides a guarantee on transactions, or else...

"You could end up with something that has 50 cents on it instead of 50 dollars," Ramhold said.

Jason Knowles asks, "You could end up buying or trading a gift card and getting something with very little value? If you get anything at all?"

"There's a chance that they may just take your money and run," Ramhold said.

To make sure you don't get scammed buying a gift card online, Ramhold said you need to definitely read the fine print.

"Look at all the conditions and everything. Check out their guarantees. A lot of the websites will offer guarantees. Make sure you have some sort of proof of that if you have to fight a claim. Keep track of everything, document the entire process just so you can show that you did buy this thing from this website and they did not give it to you," Ramhold said.

And If you want to get the most for your unwanted gift card, Ramhold says to hold onto it.

"If you can wait a few months, the market is saturated right now," she explained. "There are a lot of people trying to get rid of gift cards. So if you can wait a few months before you try to unload them you'll probably have better luck with deals."

Experts say you'll get the most money and value by trading in a gift card from a store that has a broad appeal, like Target or WalMart.

And another tip: if you decide to just sell a gift card on some sites you may not get your money until they sell the card, and there could also be a fee.

Your best bet is to trade the card. You could end up getting a $22 card you like for a $25 one you don't like.
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