To upgrade or not to upgrade: smartphone fever


So this new fancy smartphone is coming out in a few weeks, and, of course, you MUST have it! The question is: what to do with your old phone? While it may be still working fine and all, somehow it just looks ancient next to these hot new gadgets. So how to “justify” an upgrade? Well, you might be better off selling your old phone, and using that cash towards a new Samsung. Or an iPhone? Ugh, decisions, decisions..;)

There are quite a few options, when it comes to selling used phones. You can either sell it yourself on Craigslist/eBay, or you can use buyback services, like Gazelle, or Gadget Salvation, making your old cellphone someone else’s problem 🙂

Here’s what you need to know before you put your old phone on the market.


Amazon takes used phones through its electronics trade-in program. To land on the page, go to Amazon’s site and open the Shop by Department menu in the upper-left corner. From there, go down to Electronics & Computers, and then select Trade In Electronics. You’ll then be able to search for your phone and get an estimate of how much it is worth.

The downside: Amazon will not accept broken or damaged phones. Your handset must be functional, meeting one of three conditions: Like New (phone is in perfect working order, has all accessories and packaging), Good (phone has some wear and has some light scratches on the body, and comes with its battery, charger, and USB cable), and Acceptable (the phone works but shows significant wear, and it may be missing accessories such as charger or USB cable).

Amazon does not offer cash payments, but it does give Amazon Gift Card credit, which can be a downside, if you are looking to buy your new phone elsewhere. Works out OK for regular Amazon customers though.


Gazelle is a service that’s dedicated to buying used, mainly Apple, electronics. And unlike Amazon, Gazelle will give you cash for your used phone, not just store credit. The site is straightforward to use: visit, select what you want to sell, provide some specifics on the model you have, assess its condition, and Gazelle will offer you a buyback price for your phone.

In some cases Gazelle will not be able to offer you payment for your old electronics, and the company itself does not have an electronics recycling program.

As far as phones go, besides iPhones, Gazelle accepts devices from BlackBerry, HTC, LG, Mototola, Nokia, and Samsung. If you own some other brand, you need to look elsewhere.

Gadget Salvation

The website concept is quite similar to Gazelle’s, with few additional key points. First of, Gadget Salvation features more competitive quotes, along with broader purchasing list. Selling though Gadget Salvation also can be be the quickest way to get paid, since you do not have to wait for shipping kits or shop around for packaging materials. GS’s sign-up for UPS corporate Solutions program allows their customers to drop off gadgets at any UPS store for further processing and shipping. Free of charge. Aside the possibility of selling your device instantly, you have an option to list it for sale at your own price, using Gadget Salvation marketplace account. Lastly, if you live in the area, you can have GS representatives come pick up your phone and pay you on the spot.

Gadget Salvation does not offer gift cards. You can choose to be paid by check or through PayPal.

Other options

Aside from the services above, you always have eBay and Craigslist. eBay lets you set a Buy It Now price or a starting price for auction, and at Craigslist you get to set the price entirely yourself (no fees!). Major disadvantage of eBay is that you have to do all of the prep work yourself, and that actually does not guarantee the sale. You could literally watch your handset depreciate by the minute while having it listed with no takers. Another downside: aftersale service with high possibility of returns and negative feedbacks. Main downsides of Craigslist are: – exposure to strangers; – you can sell only locally; – people set meetups, but do not show; – dealing with bargaining.

If you choose to go ahead with eBay or Craigslist, keep in mind:

Don’t accept personal checks: A less-than-honest buyer could easily write a bad check, leaving you in the lurch should it bounce. Instead, either use a service like PayPal or request a money order. This way you know you are getting paid.

Don’t make your buyer wait: Ship your device as soon as you can after you receive payment, and provide your buyer with a tracking number if possible so that they can get a better idea of when to expect it.

Be honest: Disclose any damage to the phone, and mention if anything is missing. Being up-front now will prevent hassles later.

Take lots of good photos: You’ll want to provide plenty of photos that show the condition of the phone. Make sure you have good lighting, and try to take the photos on a clean, uncluttered background.

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Lena Bohomolova