Websites offer sellers cash for old electronics

Every few months, new gadgets appear on the market, rendering old ones obsolete. Now, some websites are working to keep money in consumers' pockets with buy-back programs - if those gadgets are still in good shape.

Every few months, new gadgets appear on the market, rendering old ones obsolete. Now, some websites are working to keep money in consumers' pockets with buy-back programs – if those electronics are still in good shape.

Sites like Amazon, Glyde and NextWorth all offer ways to get cash for clunkers, said Lisa Freeman, editor-in-chief at Shop Smart Magazine, a Consumer Reports publication. 

"If your gadget is new enough, you can actually turn it in for cash or a gift card," she said.

Consumer Reports found a Samsung Galaxy S2 was worth $92 online. An iPad 2 was priced at $190. 

But prices for the same gadget varied from site to site, sometimes by as much as $80. Trade-in website Glyde consistently quoted the highest price for electronics, even after fees.
Amazon was best for random gadgets, like hard drives and speakers, and NextWorth lets sellers send items in, or drop them off at stores, including Target.

But Freeman suggests sellers check different sites at different times.

"We found that prices vary from site to site, and prices can change over time, too," she said.

There are also pros and cons for selling items on each site, Freeman said. For example, Amazon sends reimbursements within two business days, but once the gadget is accepted and processed, the order can't be changed. For NextWorth, the seller gets an initial price quote, but, if the company decides the item is worth less, the seller only has a short 48 hours to decide whether to sell. The payoff for the site – it's easy to drop off items in person at participating stores.

If the price offered doesn't seem worth it, Freeman said to consider donating old electronics. Website Cristina.org connects sellers with local organizations that take old gadgets.

Of course, some items are destined for the dump. Owners can recycle them in stores like Staples and Best Buy or drop them off at a local recycling center.

But most importantly, no matter what owners do with their old electronics, Consumer Reports urges owners to wipe electronics clean of all personal data before getting rid of them.