What do you do with your old iPhone when you’re ready to upgrade to a new one? The choices are many and varied, but probably fall into two basic categories. You sell the old iPhone. Or, you give it away.
If you sell the iPhone the options are even greater. CraigsList and eBay are two examples. Friends, family, or co-workers are options, too, but probably require a hefty discount. Until Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program gets into high gear there are two other popular choices. Gazelle and Amazon.
Yes, the giant online retailer has a Trade-in program which, unlike Gazelle which will send you a check for your old iPhone, will send you an Amazon eGift Card as payment for your old iPhone. Both buyers will ask you to describe the condition of the iPhone, and offer an amount, which may vary a bit depending upon the real condition as perceived by Gazelle or Amazon.
That’s where they differ.
I’ve used Gazelle three times for three iPhones and always received exactly what they company bid when I described the phone’s condition. For example, I have an iPhone 6 Plus with 128GB of storage and it’s in pristine condition (thank you, Apple leather case). However, I selected the Good setting and Gazelle responded with a $345 offer.
On Amazon I did the same thing. A Verizon iPhone 6 Plus, 128GB of storage, and good. Amazon’s bid price was $447, almost $100 more than Gazelle. That’s a no-brainer decision, right?
Amazon offers two options. One, return the iPhone for free if they don’t accept the phone in the condition you describe. Or, two, Accept the price range (about $100 less to slightly more than the original bid).
At this point you have to trust Amazon but apparently Amazon is not to be trusted. Jason Perlow’s experience with Amazon gave me a clue.
They knocked 43 dollars off. I went nuts. The device was in perfect condition, in original packaging, with original, never used accessories. I called their customer service and complained. They apologized and credited me the 43 bucks and thanked me for being a loyal Amazon customer…. Over the last two years that I’ve been using Amazon Trade-In (and I’ve been using it since 2012) I’ve noticed they’ve degraded my device from what I’ve stated its condition has been, every single time.
Caveat emptor applies, no? Wait. It gets worse.
But going forward I expect them to degrade their credit offers more and more, like a crappy pawn shop, just like the ones we have down here in the seedy parts of Ft. Lauderdale where you can hock your old Glock or gold jewelry for a fraction of their value so you can buy Roxys or meth.
Why is that so? Because I think there’s so many of these devices on the secondary market that they can’t afford to shell out top dollar, even for “Like New” devices. But if that’s the case then really, the company should conform to the standards of their competitors and have a maximum grade of “Good” and set expectations accordingly
Amazon seems to have done what Amazon does best. Take a good idea, like a Trade-In program, and turn it into an online pawn shop.
I’m sticking with Gazelle this year, but next year it’ll be a new iPhone on Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program. I wonder what the company will do with all the used iPhones?