7 on Your Side helps you with unwanted gift cards from the holidays

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Gift cards were the most requested gift of this past holiday season for the 11th year in a row. But along with gift cards come potential problems.

When you receive a gift card, you are getting the dollar value plus the gift of shopping. But what if you receive a card that is from a store you do not use?

That happened to Chris Carter. "I got a Bed, Bath, and Beyond card, and quite frankly I hardly ever shop there."

Most of us in that predicament either just ignore the card or re-gift it to someone who might use it.

But there is a third option: selling the card -- eBay and Craigslist are often used for this, but there can be problems.

Shelley Hunter is the Gift Card Girlfriend. "We used to say treat gift cards like cash. Nowadays, we say treat gift codes like cash," she said.

She says if you sell on a person-to-person site, make sure you don't get ripped off. "You have to be careful about giving anybody else access to the code itself, before you get money in return, when you are selling a gift card for cash," Hunter adds.

She says thieves will use the card quickly, then cancel the transaction.

Hunter says a safer alternative is using a site like Cardpool, which she is affiliated with, that buy gift cards, and then re-sells them.

Raise.com is a similar site.

That is what Chris did. "They made me an offer instant offer for the card itself. It was fantastic. I think I only lost a couple of dollars. They sent me back an electronic Amazon gift card," said Carter.

By agreeing to take the Amazon card rather than cash, he received more money back.

So, how much do you get selling your card?

Anywhere from 50 percent of what it is worth all the way up to 97 percent.

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