How to Sell Your iPhone, Android Smartphone, or Other Gadget

Category: Gadgets , Gadgets

Have you noticed that mobile phones and other electronic gadgets become obsolete almost as fast as the news these days. If you like to stay on the bleeding edge, you'll upgrade your tech gadgets at every opportunity. But what's the best way to get cash for your used phone or other electronics, without getting scammed? And is it a good idea to buy a used phone? Here are several ways you can sell (or buy) a used cell phone, tablet, laptop, digital camera, video game, or other gear...

Buying and Selling Your Used Electronics

Are looking to sell your iPhone, iPad, Android smartphone or tablet? Some mobile carriers take used or older models as trade-ins, but they typically pay you with bill credits, not cash, and they don't give you much of a discount if they do. Fortunately, there are several ways to turn your old phone into cold cash. If you have an unwanted tablet, Kindle, laptop, game console, or digital camera, you can sell those too. Read on for some options to find out how much your items are worth, and sell them to the highest bidder. If you're in the market for an almost-new phone, you'll find options for that as well.

Gazelle is one such option. Answer a few simple questions about your phone and get an offer for it. Mail your phone to Gazelle using their postage-paid label delivered to you electronically. When it passes Gazelle’s inspection, you receive money via check, Amazon gift card, or Paypal. Note that Paypal will take a cut of the money sent to you.

Gazelle takes iPhones, iPads, Macbooks, as well as Samsung and Google Pixel phones. It does not accept other laptops, phones, or desktop computers. I sold a used phone via Gazelle, and got a check in the mail 10 days later, for the agreed amount. You can choose a check, PayPal or gift card as payment. After you mail in your device, Gazelle will inspect it to see if it matches your description. If they don't agree with your assessment of the condition, you'll get a revised offer. If you decline the new offer they'll send your item back to you at no charge.

Sell Your Electronics for Cash

You can buy used electronics from Gazelle, too. The company resells and re-buys a gadget until it cannot be sold anymore, then sends it off to a recycling center to be torn apart for its useable components. Gazelle is into both kinds of green: Money and Mother Earth.

Swappa is a user-to-user marketplace for "gently used technology." Their motto is "No Junk, No Jerks" and they try to set themselves apart from other used electronics marketplaces by ensuring that there are no broken items, and by letting you buy and sell directly with other users. Sellers don't pay fees to Swappa. Buyers sometimes pay a small fee that is included in the sale price. All transactions are handled via Paypal, which offers protections for both buyers and sellers.

I've bought three used Samsung Galaxy phones from Swappa sellers, and they've all arrived quickly and in excellent condition. Swappa is not limited to phones -- they also deal in laptops, watches, tablets, video games, cameras, voice assistants, thermostats, speakers, robo-vacuums, security cameras, and streaming devices.

Swappa has a Trusted Seller designation for sellers that have proven to be trustworthy and professional. To become a Trusted Seller, you must communicate clearly and respectfully with buyers, respond promptly to questions, create accurate listings with quality photos, and maintain a low percentage of problem sales.

Usell's motto is "The Most Money For The Least Effort" and deals in used iPhones along with Samsung, Google, Motorola, HTX, LG and some other brans. They also deal in iPads, Macbooks, Apple Computers, Apple Watch, iPods, Tablets, Game Consoles, Cameras, and "Other Tech." That latter category includes Calculators, Camcorders, Computer Peripherals, Drones, GPS devices, Headphones, MP3 Players, Smart Home gadgets, Speakers, Vacuum cleaners, and Video Games.

I say “deals in” because Usell doesn’t buy anything; they act as a broker between device owners and a network of resellers. Usell takes information about your device; puts it out to resellers on its private network; and gets back to you with a list of offers, if there are any. If you accept an offer, you ship your phone to the reseller-buyer. Usell says you'll get paid within 15 days. They do have a rating system for the buyers, so be sure to choose one that has at least four stars and lots of positive reviews.

Other services that buy used electronics for cash include Buybackworld, SellCell, ItsWorthMore, and

With services like Gazelle, Swappa, Usell, et al, it's important to be honest and realistic about the condition of your device. If you say it's "like new" and send them a scratched-up phone with no accessories, you're likely to be unhappy with the payment you receive. I suspect that a large portion of the unhappy customers of these services are those with unrealistic opinions about the condition of their gear.

Which Way Is Best?

By way of comparison, I got quotes from two of these services on a Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra 256GB smartphone, in good but used condition. Gazelle offered $593, and BuyBackWorld $455. An Apple iPhone 14 Plus 256GB with a few scratches garnered an offer of $458 on Gazelle, $440 on Swappa, and $451 on uSell. For some reason, the mobile carrier to which your phone is assigned makes a big difference. In my testing, T-Mobile phones were usually quoted at about 80% of the offers for the same phone on AT&T or Verizon. Usell does offer to buy a wide range of electronics, but I noticed that for Samsung phones, they didn't offer any recent models.

Of course, you can always sell the device directly yourself. Craigslist is free; just post an ad in your local market, watch the offers flow in, pick a buyer and – go meet a stranger in a strange place with a few hundred bucks worth of gear in your hand? Yeah, you have to be careful. Stick to public places to make exchanges. I'd go with the police station parking lot, or someplace where there are obvious video cameras rolling. NEVER give a stranger your home address! Some people bring a large friend or two along. Under no circumstances should you deal in anything other than cash handed over in person; counterfeit check and money order scams abound on Craigslist. But thousands of phones and other electronic devices change hands safely via Craigslist every day.

If you don’t know what your used device is worth, eBay can help you find out even before you put an item up for auction. Among the many search parameters found on eBay, “sold items” is probably the most valuable. It will show you the true market value of items like yours that actually sold. With a good feel for what’s realistic, you can set your starting price low but not too low, high but not too high.

Cracked or scratched display? A chipped case corner? A phone that does not work at all? Not a problem; list it anyway and take what you can get. A lot of people buy damaged and non-working electronics for parts, or something.

Just don't be like the Australian woman who posted an online ad looking to buy two iPhones. She got a response, and met in a McDonald's restaurant with a seller offering "two Apples." She paid $1200, took the iPhone boxes home, and only later discovered they contained actual apples, instead of iPhones. Yes, it's a true story!

And then there's the sad story of Kelly Filkins, a 26-year-old woman who got slammed by Judge Judy for taking $476 dollars for a pair phones advertised on eBay, and mailing the buyer just a PICTURE of the phones. Watch this classic Judge Judy episode from 2007 for the greatest barbecuing of a dumb crook in the history of television. Sadly, Ms. Filkins was jailed on fraud charges, lost custody of her kids, and died a few years ago.

Have you sold a used phone? Tell me about your experience by posting a comment below...

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Most recent comments on "How to Sell Your iPhone, Android Smartphone, or Other Gadget"

Posted by:

Jack U
22 Nov 2023

Gazelle offered me $1 for a Galaxy S7 32G, USell offered me $8. Think I will keep it as a paperweight.

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