I bought an Amazon gift card, and I would like to sell it to my friend. However Amazon Gift Card Terms and Conditions §2 states:

Gift Cards cannot be reloaded, resold, transferred for value or redeemed for cash, except to the extent required by law.

Is there a a law that will allow me to resell my gift card? Or would I be violating the terms that I agreed to when I purchased it?

  • 1
    Good question - my initial response would have been that you are in breach of the agreement, but on second thought I suspect you could legally do this - at least assuming you are in America - because of the "First Sale Doctrine".
    – davidgo
    Jul 27 '16 at 3:18
  • 1
    First Sale Doctrine is about copyright.
    – user6726
    Jul 29 '16 at 0:09

At the federal level, gift cards seem to be treated as a special case of electronic fund transfer. 15 U.S. Code § 1693l–1 and the corresponding regulations presently regulate disclosure of fees and expiration, and do not directly say anything about sale of such a card. There might be relevant state laws, though Washington state laws mostly mirror the federal law (also allowing issuing a card with an expiration date if given for no value to a charitable organization). You can actually get your last $5 back in cash in Washington per RCW 19.240.020.

A gift card / certificate isn't a "thing" in the way that an apple, hammer or table is, it's a contractual relationship. If you own a thing, you can freely re-sell it to whoever you want (assuming there isn't an express statutory prohibition against the sale of the thing). You cannot universally sell (assign) a contract right – there is a default preference that you should be able to, but Amazon has in this case said "No, you can't".

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