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Inside money, markets, and Big Tech

This article was published on January 2, 2009

What a bargain! Get a $50 Amazon gift card for $52

What a bargain! Get a $50 Amazon gift card for $52
Ernst-Jan Pfauth
Story by

Ernst-Jan Pfauth

Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He a Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He also served as The Next Web’s blog’s first blogger and Editor in Chief, back in 2008. At De Correspondent, Ernst-Jan serves as publisher, fostering the expansion of the platform.

Reddit user mattyrules submitted the below picture to the social bookmarking site with the title: “Are eBayers really this stupid?“. As you can see, people are bidding more money for a gift card than it’s actually worth (click for a larger version)

ebay

Are some people really that stupid? Maybe. But there are two better explanations. One: money laundry. Two: earning money through the Paypal cashback program. Kraftmatic explains:

[He] means that some businesses, namely Paypal and MSN Shopping, offer coupons that can be used for discounts on eBay purchases. So presumably eBay bidders who are willing to pay more than face value for gift cards are doing so because they have coupons that will make up for the overage, thus resulting in a net gain for themselves.

Is this illegal in some way? Or is it just being creative with money on eBay?