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The Good, the Poor and the Broken: Reselling Your Cell Phone

Tips on How to Sell your Old PhoneIn this economy, we’re all looking for ways to save a few bucks and stay within our own budgets. You want to try to sell your old phone to come up with some fast cash to get that upgrade you’ve been eyeing, but how are you going to do it? Do you know where to sell, what people are looking for, or how much it’s worth? Don’t stress! We have all the information you’ll need before selling your phone online.

No Phone is Created Equal

  All smartphones may serve the same general purpose, but in no way are they created equal when reselling. When selling your smartphone, it’s important to know what phones are in high demand, as well as the condition of your phone. These two factors determine the best time for you to sell your phone and receive maximum profit. Phones, much like cars, have an accelerated depreciation rate, and once the car leaves the lot, the value decreases instantly.

Timing is Everything

 

Based on the current 2014 market, the more popular smartphone brands are iPhone and Android. Currently, the smartphones with the highest resale rates are the iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5, and the Samsung Galaxy S4. How is that calculated? Take the price of the phone brand new (No carriers attached!) and compare it to the current price of the used phone to measure the phone’s rate of depreciation over time and resale value. It’s simple – high quality phones will have the best resale over time, while crappy phones will depreciate faster.

When should you sell your iPhoneApple has a reputation for their premium products, which are in high demand, giving iPhones a high resale rate. That being said, the timeframe in which you sell them does help determine how much the phone will be worth. In the case of iPhones, because of their demand and lower depreciation rate, the resale value of the phone stays higher longer than competitors like Android. Apple products can have up to 60% resale value of the product at new value after a year of ownership, whereas Android phones will already be at roughly 50% resale value rate by that time. All phones have different depreciation rates, which don’t always drop linearly. It’s important to do your research and see how much your phone is really worth. You will notice, though, that most websites will give you comparison resell rates for phones in good condition. But what exactly is ‘good condition’ and what does that mean for phones that are in ‘poor condition?’

Good vs. Poor Condition

 

When it comes to reselling, several sites will ask about the condition of your phone, as that will affect the amount of money you’ll be able to receive for it. The options as far as condition of products go are usually the same. They include:

  • Excellent condition - The display is in pristine condition with no scratched or marks on the glass and housing exhibits no wear. Some websites may call this ‘Like New’ instead of excellent condition. If your phone falls into this category, you probably bought one of our cell phone screen protectors.
  • Good condition – The device will show some signs of use, like scuffing or slight scratches. Housing and screen will show signs of light impact, and besides those markings, the phone is in good working condition.
  • Poor condition – The device shows impact damage such as major dents and large scratches in the display or housing area. Major marks on the screen usually does not affect functionality, but they can easily move a phone’s condition status from good to poor.
  • Broken – a device that doesn’t function properly and/or has severe cracks across the screen or housing.

Understanding the condition of your phone helps you not only determine what it is worth, but where to take it to get the most value for your device. Not all websites or companies will accept the same phones or conditions. Luckily, we’ve compiled a list on the best places to go for certain phone types and conditions.

Where to Sell your Used Cell Phone

 

There are several online options when it comes to reselling your old phone, and each have several platforms through which you may resell. Here’s where we will break down the different sites, what they accept and the pros/cons of using those sites.

Sell-it-yourself sites

  • Craigslist – You post listings for products online in local areas where you get to control the timetable for the sale and there are no fees to worry about. Unfortunately, this site requires a face-to-face interaction to exchange the product for cash. A lot of people are not comfortable meeting up with a stranger in person (for good reasons). Be weary of scammers on Craigslist because there are plenty.
  • eBay – With this site, you post a listing for your product in eBay’s marketplace and auction it off. eBay auctions tend to take an effort to maintain, but there is help with My Gadgets, an eBay service that helps you create a listing based on eBay price trends. Use this latest tool to look at the high and low range of prices for your product to figure the best option for you.
  • Glyde – With Glyde, you sell your phone in an online marketplace setting that lets you control what you want to sell your phone for. It will place it on a default price based on the marketplace, but you can change it at anytime. You get cash or store credit, but they take the shipping fee and transaction fee out of the asking price.

If you are new to selling online, sell it yourself sites may be more hassle than help. For those not interested in selling it yourself, trade-in options may be a better way to go.

Trade – In Options

  • Amazon – This is a popular online retail website that allows you to trade in your old phone and get paid in Amazon credit with gift cards. Amazon will only accept Like New, Good or Acceptable conditions for phone products. Any poor or broken condition phones will not be accepted. If you aren’t interested in the trade-in option, you can become a seller of products on Amazon. Just know that there are seller fees, and you’ll most likely receive more for their trade-in program unless the phone is in high demand.
  • Best Buy – This store accepts old phones ranging from like new to poor condition in exchange for store credit. By Best Buy’s standards, if your phone has four or fewer scratches, it is in good condition. Any more than four and it is considered poor condition. Best Buy doesn’t accept broken phones, but it will take them off your hands and recycle them for you.
  • Apple – Like Best Buy, Apple will give you store credit for your phone. Apple only accepts iPhones and is a stickler when it comes to the conditions of the device. They will ask you several questions about your phone to determine its condition. If your phone is below their standards, Apple will offer to recycle it for you.
  • Gazelle – Gazelle gives you cash for your device rather than store credit. Gazelle accepts only the following major phone brand names, Apple, Blackberry, HTC, LG, Motorola, Nokia and Samsung. It does accept new, good, poor and broken condition phones. If it can’t accept your phone, it will refer you to other programs that could accept it or recycle it for you. Gazelle will also buy back the gear that came with your phone like phone clips and headphones.
  • Your Carrier – Most phone carriers like Verizon and T-mobile have buy back programs that will exchange your phone for store credit or credit toward a new upgrade.

Donate or Recycle it

Just because your phone isn’t worth much online, doesn’t mean it isn’t valued somewhere else. Older phones are still in high demand for charity organizations and recycling programs. A couple of these organizations are

  • Cells for Cells – This is an organization raising money for families battling cancer. This charitable group collects unwanted cell phones to recycle them into donations to benefit cancer patients across the nation.
  • Hopeline from Verizon – Verizon accepts phone donations to recycle into proceeds to support domestic violence programs nationwide.

You may not get a lot out of your old phone, but programs like these can really benefit others. If you choose not to use a charitable organization, donating it to a local recycling program is really great for the environment.

Final Tips for Selling Your Smartphone

 

Whichever method you choose to get rid of your old phone, keep these thoughts in mind.

  • Know your device: Most sites ask for specifics on the make and model of your phone. These details have a huge effect on resale value.
  • Do your research: Check all of your options and see what sites can help you get the most bang for your buck when selling your device.
  • Be honest: Don’t exaggerate about the condition of your phone, and be upfront when you’re selling your item online.

Be timely: No one likes to be kept waiting. Once you’ve sold your phone, mail it out as soon as possible.