If you’ve ever wondered where old mobile phones and electronic devices like iPhones, Androids, iPads, tablets, and computers go to die, it’s pretty simple.

Some get tossed into a recycle bin somewhere to be parted out and melted down. iPhones are often passed down to children to be used as iPod touch substitutes. A large number of mobile phones are simply abandoned and misplaced due to neglect. Thankfully, a growing number are finding a next life with a new owner.

As a result, the secondary market for electronic devices is on its way to becoming as robust as the primary market.

So let’s say you’re ready to order the new iPhone 8 or X. You paid a lot for your current phone and it’s still in great condition. Your plan is to sell that old phone to help pay for the new one. You have options:

Sell it yourself

Selling your phone, tablet or computer directly to a new user has the greatest profit potential, provided you are aware of the risks.

Friends and family

Seems pretty simple. Just wipe the hard drive or memory clean, name your price, collect the cash and you’re home free. Unless the device or phone dies the next week or its new owner encounters problems getting it unlocked, or some other problem with a new service provider, in the case of a mobile phone.

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What amounts to one ginormous online classified ad, Craigslist is a place that will likely turn up buyers for your item—folks willing to pay cash. And things could go very well. Or not. There are pitfalls you should know about.

A chronic problem with Craigslist is that potential buyers make appointments and promises and then fail to show up. Because you won’t want strangers coming to your home you’ll need to establish a well-lit, public pick-up location.

There are tons of flakes using Craigslist so even if you believe you have made a seamless, easy transaction, don’t count too heavily on that, at least not for a while.

Your customer has your contact information, which means the potential is there for you to receive calls and texts suggesting the item was misrepresented or doesn’t work or isn’t unlocked after all. Consider carefully if you are ready to deal with any of that.

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You can auction your item on eBay and see where that goes. Or list it at a set “buy now” price. You may come out OK, but even in the best case, there will be hefty fees to pay.

Make sure you go in knowing that eBay heavily favors buyers when transactions turn sour. When that happens eBay buyer chargebacks to the seller are all too common.

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Should eBay require that you accept the item’s return including a full refund to the buyer, good luck with getting it back in the same condition you sent it out. Been there done that and it was not pretty.

Trade it in

Trading your phone or another device for cash, store credit or gift cards is the lesser of the profitable methods for getting rid of it, but the safer option because once it leaves your possession, you are not liable for issues that may arise, provided it arrives in the condition you represent.

Apple Trade-Up

If Apple is willing to take your older iPhone on trade (programs come and go, so check to see what is currently available) you will be paid in Apple store credit, not cash.

Best Buy Trade-In

You can walk into any Best Buy store and your item’s negotiated value will be paid out to you in Best Buy gift cards. Not bad if you plan to buy your new iPhone there, but not ideal if you want to look elsewhere.


Gazelle is a third-party trade-in company offers straight cash via check or PayPal—or an Amazon gift card if you prefer—for your phone or electronic device. Even if your phone or other items you wish to sell is broken to the point it will not even turn on, Gazelle will more than likely still pay you up to $75 for it.

Best option

All things considered and after having researched and weighed carefully the options, my recommendation for the safest and most reliable way to resell used iPhones, Samsung phones, computers, tablets, and other electronic devices, is the online third-party trade-in company, Gazelle.

I value your time and your lack of desire for irritating hassles, sketchy meet-ups, shady text messages, unethical buyers, and store credit or gift cards that are redeemable with one merchant that you neither want or need.

For these reasons, I highly recommend you take a look at what Gazelle, an online company that has been around for a long time, having built a sterling reputation for easy transactions and quick payouts.

You can go to the Gazelle website and without making any commitments, receive an on-the-spot cash offer for your device followed by complete instructions for how to send it in should you wish to proceed.

Gazelle makes it easy, with a box and a prepaid shipping label arriving in your mailbox in less than a week.


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