Local News

Want to cash in your old gadgets?

Posted March 15, 2010 6:00 p.m. EDT
Updated March 15, 2010 7:50 p.m. EDT

cellphone, texting

— A lot of people upgrade their computer, monitor or cell phone while their old one sits around collecting dust. Now, some Web sites will buy those used electronics at a guaranteed price.

Kyle Owen is an Apple guy. After a couple years, he wanted to upgrade to a new iPhone. To help pay for it, he turned to Gazelle.com, which buys used electronics.

“After I got a quote from them for what they'd give me, I said, 'Sure why not?'” Owen said.

Gazelle sent him a box a couple of days later, and he used it to send in his iPhone.

“About two weeks later I had a check (for $124),” he said. “There’s a third of the new phone cost.”

WRAL reporter Brian Shrader recently upgraded to a new Smartphone and decided to sell his old one on the Internet.

“We're going to try two of the major electronic recycling sites, Gazelle.com and BuyMyTronics.com,” he said.

Shrader entered details about his phone and explained that it’s in excellent condition and still includes the original cables. Both sites give then gave him a price quote.

“I decided to go with BuyMyTronics.com. They (offered) me more money,” he said.

Shrader printed the shipping label and mailed it for free to the company. Two weeks later, they posted the money to his PayPal account. It was about $6 less than the quote, because they determined that the phone was only in average condition.

Selling gadgets isn't just a way to make some fast cash. It's a profitable way to go green.

“We'd rather you recycle it than throw it in the landfill,” said Matt Roylance with Wake County Environmental Services.

Whether selling used devices or recycling them, he says old electronics don't belong in the trash.

“Like an older monitor, a CRT monitor, there's a fair amount of lead in that glass,” Roylance said.

Meanwhile, Owen is finding a healthy market for used iPhones. He has been using his for less than a year.

“Oh yeah, I love it (new phone) and I’m considering upgrading again,” he said.

Gazelle.com’s quote for his current iPhone was $395. Owen said when he's ready to trade up, he'll probably take them up on their offer.

“It was guaranteed and it was fast,” he said.

Many retailers, including Costco and Wal-Mart, have teamed with Gazelle.com to allow electronic trade-ins. Best Buy and Radio Shack will also buy back some used electronics.