SLADE COLUMN: Turning your gadgets into cash


Buying and selling used consumer goods is a common activity for people who are trying to stretch their dollars, but some things have always been easier to resell than others.

Books, music, video games, movies and sporting goods can be easily resold, for example. Some clothing, furniture and children’s goods can go to consignment shops. But home electronics have always been more difficult to resell, and sometimes risky to buy.

How many people have bought second-hand electronic gear at yard sales and thrift stores, only to find out later that it doesn’t work correctly? Plenty, I’ll bet, including myself.

But now it seems like companies are tripping over themselves to buy your used phones, iPods, e-readers, GPS devices and more. In many cases, you can go to a major retailer with your used electronics and walk out with cash.

Why? Because those businesses have found they can resell those devices at a substantial profits, of course.

Take my smartphone for example. Motorola’s Droid 2 Global came out in 2010 with a list price around $200. You can buy a used one today for about $80. If you have one in good condition and want to sell it to one of the major resellers, you’ll get between $12 and $17.

That’s not much money, but if you have a phone you aren’t using any more, a little money is better than no money. Of course, if you’re a person with a good history of selling things online, a track record of sales and positive buyer reviews, you could be the person selling the phone online for $80.

What you get by going to a reseller is a quick sale without having to deal with the hassles of selling to an individual. Several companies will quote you a price online and send you a postage-paid mailer for shipping. Others will buy your device in retail stores including Target, Radio Shack, GameStop and Best Buy, sometimes in exchange for store credit or gift cards.

Here are some tips:

Online or in-store? If you can sell your device in a store, there’s no waiting to get paid, and no chance the seller will quote you one price on their website only to later decide your device isn’t in the condition that you claimed. Selling online allows you to handle the transaction when it’s convenient for you, but you’ll still have to mail the device to the buyer.

Different resellers will purchase different things, so check websites to see what they will buy. Most will accept Apple products, such as iPods, iPads and iPhones.

Gazelle will take Apple computers as well, and some broken cellphones. NextWorth, which partners with Target, will take GPS devices and game consoles. CExchange, which partners with RadioShack, will take radar detectors and HDTVs.

Mount Pleasant-based AbundaTrade is looking for Kindle Fire e-readers, among other things.

Know that prices vary. Check a few different resellers to see what they will pay. I price-shopped that Motorola phone around and got quotes ranging from $12.25 to $17. Then I checked prices for a fourth-generation 8-gigabyte Apple iPod Touch and got quotes of $50 to $73.

Sell different items to different resellers. The business that quoted me the lowest price for my phone quoted me the highest price for the iPod.

Some business, such as GameStop, will pay more if you accept store credit instead of cash.

With all of these companies buying up used electronics, this is also a good opportunity for buyers who are shopping for home electronics and don’t have to have the latest greatest version.

There’s now a flood of used electronics such as recent-model e-readers, music players and cellphones on the market. Most of the resellers put their products for sale online, and some sell them in-store.

Reach David Slade at 937-5552 or Twitter @DSladeNews.