November 2013: You can find out what your old smartphone is worth in just a few clicks. All you do is enter the model and condition and presto! You see what buyers are willing to pay as fast as a frog can hop to the next lily pad.
Some buyers want your phone even if it’s broken! Check out these websites and see what you can get:
Most buyer sites work the same way.
1) You get an online offer
2) You send in your phone, usually in packaging the buyer provides
3) The buyer receives and verifies the phone is as you described
4) The buyer sends you money
The differences involve the amount of the offer, how quickly you get paid and what happens if you misrepresent your device. There are also differences in what they do with phones that can’t be resold.
(Note from our nervous frogs: Most buyers say they’ll remove your personal data for you but we want you to do it yourself! Please check online for instructions on how to erase all of your content and settings from your specific phone model before you send it off to anyone. And PLEASE remember to remove your SIM card! It can be tricky on an iPhone or iPad.)
uSell is one of the most popular sites — $11.5 million in transactions and counting!). It works by searching many buyers’ sites at once and reporting the offers back to you, like a shopping site except you’re getting offers instead of prices. Buyers have star ratings and reviews, and most uSell participants send a postage-paid shipping kit and initiate payment by PayPal or check within five business days after receiving your phone. You’ll get progress tracking emails. If your device doesn’t match your description, the buyer will either make you a new offer or send your phone back for free.
With Gazelle, you get one offer because you’re dealing directly with one buyer’s site. Sometimes the offers are higher than what you’ll find on an aggregate site. Gazelle locks in its offer for 30 days and pays you by check, PayPal or an Amazon.com gift card. Gazelle has bought more than 1.5 million devices and focuses primarily on Apple products. It does not accept items that have been reported lost or stolen.
YouRenew is a direct buyer that works like the others except it won’t send items back. If the condition of your device isn’t as you described, YouRenew will email you a new offer — take it or leave it. Leaving it means you also leave your phone. All checks are sent via USPS. YouRenew works with a lot of bulk purchases through its corporate program and recycles according to a non-export, no-landfill policy. This is good for the environment and for people in countries that have been used as dumping grounds for old technology.
MaxBack is owned by a recycling company that’s been in business for 20 years, has several recycling certifications and memberships, and maintains a 100% recycle and 0% landfill policy. MaxBack limits the number of transactions you can make each month and only purchases phones that have a valid ESN — which means your phone’s tracking number is not associated with an open account or outstanding bills and it hasn’t been reported lost or stolen.
Want an on-the-spot option?
Check out the cash-for-cell phones machines called ecoATMs recycling kiosks. The kiosk collects information about your phone, scans your driver’s license and takes your thumb print, gives you an offer, accepts your phone “deposit” and spits out your cash for you right then and there. Despite the built-in precautions, however, ecoATMs have been recently banned in Baltimore for attracting criminal activity. ecoATMs says if it turns out that a phone they receive has been stolen, they’ll return it to the rightful owner at no charge.
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