What To Do With a Used Cell Phone

Category: Mobile

Got a new cell phone, and wondering what to do with the used model? Don't throw it in the trash, or toss it in the junk drawer. You have several good options for dealing with a used mobile phone, and some of them may even put cash in your pocket...

Used Cell Phones - Sell, Trade or Recycle?

Many AT&T iPhone customers are switching to the new Verizon iPhone, leaving them with used cell phones to unload. Verizon is eager to help its rivals' customers switch; with its trade-in program for AT&T iPhone customers, you can get up to $360 credit towards the purchase of a new Verizon iPhone. But even if you don't have an iPhone, there are many programs to help you recoup some of your investment in a used cell phone.

Cellular service carriers often offer trade-in programs for a limited time when they debut new phones of their own. T-mobile, for example, allowed trade-ins of used (but working) phones from any manufacturer during most of 2010, as part of its HTC Android smartphone launch. That deal ended in October, but there will be more every time a major new phone is released.

Retailers also want your phone trade-in business. Target stores will give you a store credit gift card for your old cell phone; you can enter your make and model to find out how much it's worth. Some Best Buy stores take in used cell phones in exchange for store credit. You can get up to 20 per cent of a 2 year-old phone's replacement price, or up to 90 per cent on a newer phone, depending on its features.

Where to Sell a Used Cell Phone

Independent Web sites buy and sell phones and many other electronic devices. Nextworth.com, which runs Target's phone trade-in program, also appraises MP3 players, iPods, digital cameras, game consoles, GPS devices, and so on. You mail your item to Nextworth and they pay you by check or via Paypal. CellForCash.com specializes in phones, as does SimplySellular.com, and many other "cash for phone" sites.

You can always sell a used phone on eBay, of course. But many people don't know that eBay has an instant-purchase program that eliminates the waiting and uncertainty of auctioning off a phone. You submit your phone's specs and its condition. Sellers have already specified what they will pay for such a phone, so you get an offer instantly. Mail the phone to the seller and, if it's as described, you get paid within two days. If the phone is not as described, the seller may make you a lower offer or return the phone to you.

Keep in mind that early termination fees can eat up any trade-in money you may receive. To avoid termination fees, some people sell their used phones privately with the buyer agreeing to take over the service contract. This can be a bit risky as you don't know if the buyer is going to fulfill the contract. Some carriers will waive or reduce termination fees if you bring them a qualified buyer to assume the contract in your place.

Before you part with your old phone, make sure to erase all of your personal information from its memory. Delete all of your contacts, apps, emails, texts, photos, videos, and so on. Check the SIM and/or SD card's memory to make sure you erase contacts stored there as well.

Do you have other ideas for what to do with a used cell phone? Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "What To Do With a Used Cell Phone"

Posted by:

Richard Ollins
22 Feb 2011

Used phones are not worth much. Consider donating to a worthy organization.

Posted by:

22 Feb 2011

This is one place it can pay off to buy the best or hottest phone on the market. When you activate a line or come in for an upgrade, you pay $200 or so for the latest phone. A year or two later, what ever your contract dictates, you buy another high dollar phone, discounted by the upgrade, and list the old one on Ebay. It goes for good money, because no contract is required on it. I've done that with smartphones for a few years now, and have come out ahead every single time.

Posted by:

22 Feb 2011

I may just be an overly cautious cynic, but where do you think some of the "cell phones for cash" end up. I know some end up with woman's support group that hand out cell phones with limited capability to abused woman who can't afford a cell phone, but I wander how many end up overseas buried in the sand waiting for one of our brave soldiers to walk by. There's always the dark side of every good action. I for one would hate to know that the $5-$10 I got for my old cell resulted in a higher human cost.

Posted by:

Janet K. Cook
23 Feb 2011

You can also donate them to organizations who sell them and use the money for charitable causes, such as: www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com/

Posted by:

23 Feb 2011

This Kindle gadget has really helped me keep my agenda! Visit http://www.kindle2000.com/ !

Posted by:

10 Mar 2011

I don't know how to delete all the info from my old phones and from the SIM cards. They have been deactivated for years. So I worry about giving them to anyone.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The best suggestion I have is to turn on the phone and delete everything you can from contact lists, text messages, photos, etc. But more practically, if the phones are that old, you might as well toss 'em. Or remove the SIM card, then donate or recycle the phone.

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