It’s Christmas season and many people are getting new gadgets either as presents or through personal purchase. But one thing is for sure, most of us possess some older device that can now be considered obsolete or unwanted. Television sets, old computers, or tablets can be packaged as gifts, sold, donated or recycled. Whatever we do, we need to get rid of them smartly.
One important rule of thumb though: always ensure that any personally identifiable information are wiped off clean from the device.
Trading for maker/retailer credit
One of the most practical things to do with older gadgets is to trade them for credits as most of the major electronic stores have good trade-in offers that provides store credit for future purchases.
A good thing to do first is to check with the gadget maker to determine what are the prices being offered. For instance, Apple has a Reuse and Recycling program that users can avail so they get credits in Apple Store if they trade-in their old iPhones, iPads, iPods, and computers. Alternatively, wireless carriers like T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon has programs in place to buy back old phones in exchange for store credit.
Amazon also offers a similar service in their trade-in site. The site offers to buy back old Kindles and other electronic devices like video games, movies, and music. Users will be given an Amazon.com gift card that they can use to buy any product on Amazon’s main e-commerce site.
Established electronic retailers like Game Stop, Target, Radio Shack, and Best Buy also have their own trade-in programs in exchange for store credits. Customers can trade-in their tablets, computers, TVs, and other electronics.
Selling for cash
The most convenient way to get of gadgets is selling them online. The money one gets depends on how much time and effort are dedicated for the venture though. One can easily fall to being caught up looking for the best price for an old smartphone or iPad, and before one realizes it he or she has already wasted a significant amount of vacation time wrangling to get that $50 price.
Doing transactions online in sites like Amazon, eBay, or Craigslist offer both pros and cons, though most of the time one usually gets good prices. However, signing up and creating a listing usually requires a good chunk of one’s holiday vacation time, not to mention dealing with flaky buyers.
Technology sells quickly but also depreciates just as fast so one can expect that a good old iPad 2 purchased a year earlier for $500 will more or less only sell at possibly around $300 now. One can get a good idea about how much an item costs online by looking at past eBay auctions for the same exact device. Try searching for the name of the device then select “Completed Listings” on the Show Only menu page, then click the auction tab on top. Usually, the condition of the device commands the price. For instance, an unopened or unused Nexus 7 still in the box can fetch for up to $251, though the same device with a cracked screen only asks for $81.
Pricenomics.com is a handy site that provides a good picture of the average price of a certain device after being sold online for some time.
There are other more user friendly selling sites but do not offer higher prices for electronic devices. One such sites is Gazelle.com, which offers to buy back used Apple devices and other third party handsets. Old cellphones may still pitch in some cash by going to ReCellular. NextWorth takes old iPads and iPhones and other third party e-readers, cameras, gaming consoles, etc.
Buy back kiosks are blossoming all across the country too. EcoATM can check a device and provides a good price depending on the gadget’s condition. If a deal is reached, a device can be dropped in in exchange for cash on the spot.
Donate for a change
Selling an old iPad or computer for a hundred bucks may not get one far but a local library or school can benefit much for having more working stations. There are countless ways to donate old devices, ranging from local charities to more established programs.
Dell and Goodwill are cooperating in coming up with their Reconnect program that takes donated PCs at some Goodwill sites. The official website of Reconnect program gives a wide range of items that can be accepted in select locations. The Salvation Army also takes older electronics and computers.
Some local community centers or schools also accept used gadgets. AmericanCellPhoneDrive.org will provide a good list of local and national organizations that takes old phone donations.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Cell Phones for Soldiers, as well as the 911 Cell Phone Bank also accepts old cellphones to help in their many charitable projects.
Help the environment
Some older device may not even get a price at all, especially if they are all too damaged. Thrashing them won’t do any good, but recycling would. Many governments now offer options how to dispose electronics properly. Checking one’s local community center for drop off locations is a good idea. Recycling keeps unhealthy chemicals from being thrown in landfills and saves natural resources by minimizing mining and lowering the effects of pollution coming from factories. Batteries are ideally recycled separately.
Most electronics makers including Samsung Electronics, Apple Inc, and Sony also offer their own recycling programs for their old gadgets.
Best Buy will also recycle old phones for free. Staples and Office Depot may ask a small processing fee for recycling an old gadget.