consumers rushing to buy the new iPhone 6, Moto X or any
other late-model smartphone, a related industry is
bustling: recommerce companies that will buy your old
smartphone, sometimes for hundreds of dollars.
unless you have a good reason not to, thatís exactly
what you should do ó sell your old phone with one of
two strategies in mind: top dollar or low hassle.
phone upgraders know the process well, but some 44
percent of old smartphones sit in drawers and closets
losing value by the day, according to sell-back company
a lot of inherent value in these things. They have no
good reason to be in a drawer," said Alyssa Voorhis,
senior technology analyst for Gazelle, one of the
largest recommerce sites that buys smartphones and other
electronics. "Trade-in inertia is very real, but
the recommerce space seems to be gaining traction."
32-gigabyte iPhone 5 in good condition would fetch $165
on Gazelle and NextWorth, $227.50 on Amazon Trade-In,
and $205 from Apple itself, according to prices the day
after the new iPhone 6 was announced. Immediate price
quotes based on your phone model and condition are
available at most sites.
about selling old smartphones is likely to rise as
wireless phone companies themselves get into the
buy-back business, said Brian Morris, spokesman for
buyback comparison website Flipsy.com.
simply donít realize how valuable their old
smartphones are, but when Verizon or Sprint starts
offering them $200 or $300 for their old phones, theyíll
take notice," he said.
for many consumers, itís not as simple as choosing the
highest selling price. Here is how to best get paid for
your old device.
to sell. Fortunately for consumers, more companies are
getting in on the buyback game. That added competition
among buyers has narrowed the gap between private-party
values and trade-in prices, Morris said.
options are to sell the phone yourself, perhaps with the
help from online marketplaces eBay, Craigslist and Glyde.
can sell it and get store credit from established
retailers, such as Amazon, Best Buy, Target, Wal-Mart
and Apple. Or your wireless phone service provider might
have a buyback plan for dollars off your next phone
there are numerous online buyback companies, such as
Gazelle, NextWorth and uSell. Some sites, such as Flipsy,
offer easy comparison of prices among several sites,
has kiosks, mostly in shopping malls, where you can
trade in your old phone and get cash on the spot.
vs. hassle. Generally, you can either get a higher price
for your old smartphone or lower hassle in selling it,
but not both.
self-sale will almost always fetch the most money but
requires the most effort. You have to advertise the
item, find a seller, maybe haggle on price, handle
payment and pay to package and ship the phone.
can be worth it if you have the time and price is the
and wireless companies that buy back your phone are
known companies with established reputations and often
offer the option to trade in your phone in person,
rather than by mail.
buyback companies are lesser known but might be the
easiest. Many will quote you a price, send you packing
materials and pay for shipping. Payouts are relatively
fast ó days, not weeks.
virtually every case, the private market will pay more
for an old device than a buyback vendor; however, the
gap is narrowing," Morris said. The difference used
to be about 50 percent, and now is 10 to 30 percent, he
said. A phone that would sell privately for $400 might
sell for $300 now, compared with $250 a few years ago.
currency. Another major factor that will affect your
decision on where to sell your device will be if you can
get cash or must take store credit ó or some other
method of payment, via PayPal or Bitcoin, for example.
course, cash is king because you can spend it anywhere.
But some sites will offer more for accepting a different
Gazelle, for example, you get a 5 percent premium for
taking payment in the form of Amazon.com credit, which
might be fine if you shop at Amazon often and will
easily use the credit on items you would buy anyway.
buyback prices seem high. Some consumers might be
confused, recalling they paid about $200 for their phone
two years ago. How can they now sell it for nearly the
because U.S. wireless carriers have traditionally sold
phones for less than their real cost and made up for it
with the price of the service plan, although thatís
changing with new lease-type plans.
vs. Android. Apple products tend to retain their value
much better than those with Android operating systems,
which simply reflects the greater demand for iPhones in
the aftermarket, Voorhis said.
brings up a side point to consider: Apple products might
be more expensive to buy, but the price is defrayed by
getting more when you sell the phone.
phones, among the Android phones, retain value better,
matters. The price you get will also depend on which
carrier the phone is linked to. Again, itís
supply-and-demand for those devices not only in domestic
resale markets, but internationally. For example,
Verizon Wireless and AT&T iPhone 5s devices
generally fetch higher prices because they are more
matters. Like the price of a stock, price quotes for
used phones fluctuate. For iPhones, prices drop about 20
percent from a month before the announcement to a month
after, Voorhis said. Itís too late for the new iPhone,
which was announced Sept. 9, but one good strategy for
the future is to get a price commitment on your device
before a new one is released.
will likely have more value than after a new model is
announced. Thatís possible with some online buyback
companiesí offer to lock in a price for a certain
period, say 30 days, with no commitment to sell your
phone to that company. That way, you can use your old
phone while you wait for the new one to be released and
decide later what your sell-back strategy will be.
matter of trust. If youíre shipping off your device to
a recommerce site, youíre trusting that the company
will actually pay you and fairly evaluate its condition,
which will affect its selling price. So check online
reviews and the Better Business Bureau to look for
that offer to send your phone back to you for free or a
minimal fee if you donít agree with their assessment
of condition at least offer some protection against
being ripped off," Morris said.
Be sure to back up your data and photos, then wipe your
device of all personal information with a factory reset
of your phone. Note a buyback companyís privacy
policy. Gazelle, for example, wipes the devices even if
you already did. It also destroys any SIM and data cards
left in the phone, Voorhis said.
sell. You might have a good reason for not selling your
example, it could be a hand-me-down to a teenager or
make a nice music and gaming device for children because
many apps continue to work without service from a
wireless phone company, using Wi-Fi instead.