The Death of Disney Gift Cards at Best Buy

Shed a tear for all the great Disney gift card strategies at Best Buy. They appear to be over. Best Buy is supposedly discontinuing the sale of Disney gift cards.

We stopped into a Seattle store Sunday morning on our way to church. I brought a couple $50 Disney gift cards up to the counter . My goal was to do the Swagbucks/Chase Pay (Chase Freedom) strategy and use a Best Buy Rewards certificate I had in my account. The woman working the counter couldn’t get either one to scan. She kept getting an error message.

I offered to get a couple variable loads cards. When I brought them over, she couldn’t get them to scan either. She called over a manager who went onto the computer and did a little research. He came back over and said as of today (May 6th), Best Buy is discontinuing the sale of Disney gift cards, even though they had them in stock. But, he said Disney gift cards was the only specialty card on the list that they were discontinuing.

He initially started giving the money laundering explanation. There’s virtually no resale market for Disney gift cards, so I find this answer, which seems to have become a corporate tagline at many places, dubious. The whole point of using gift cards to launder money is that you can cash them out. I doubt people working in nefarious industries are laundering some of their proceeds in Disney gift cards to take their families on magical vacations. (Although, how else could anyone afford an over-water bungalow at the Polynesian?) Plus, it’s supposedly the only gift card they’re discontinuing and many of the others would be easier to resell.

Wanting to double check and make sure this wasn’t simply an error at one location, I called another store in our area. They checked their system and came back with the same answer. Best Buy is discontinuing the sale of Disney gift cards.

Recent History at Best Buy

We all remember about a week ago when Best Buy started making it difficult to use Best Buy gift cards to purchase Disney gift cards. Even though many people were told it was a new policy, it still seemed to be working for some people.

Then, these signs started popping up in stores…

The fact that people are scamming others so often that Best Buy has to put up these signs is sad. There are undoubtedly some bad people out there and gift cards make it easier to hide the scam. But, since there’s really not a resale market for Disney gift cards, I don’t see how this terrible situation could play into Best Buy’s decision to stop selling Disney gift cards specifically and keep selling everything else.

Summary

The gift card for gift card opportunity started to close down last week but some people were still reporting success. I have a feeling this will be the same. Some of you will still be able to buy Disney gift cards and others won’t.

The most likely reason that Best Buy is discontinuing the sale of Disney gift cards is because they were losing money. There are so many savings strategies for Disney gift cards at Best Buy. It was becoming fairly easy to save 20%, which must have been a negative margin for them. If that’s the case, that’s definitely their prerogative. They’re a business that needs to make profitable decisions.

Maybe I’m overestimating the number of people taking advantage of these strategies, but I’m having a hard time believing that money laundering is the reason to only stop selling Disney gift cards.

What are your thoughts and data points?