Cash for Phones: 5 Tricks to Buying and Selling Used Electronics

Source: Thinkstock

We Americans have differing opinions on various topics. Republicans think one way, Democrats another. There’s at least one thing, however, we do seem to have in common — cell phones. Pew Research recently published a report indicating 91 percent of us own a cell phone and in some demographic groups, ownership percentages are as high as 98 percent.

We replace these devices about every two years. Sometimes, we replace them because a new and improved version comes out, and other times, our contract renders us eligible to receive a free upgrade. Whatever the reason, we are going through phones fairly quickly. This has opened the door for a new type of business to help us earn money off of these old phones instead of simply throwing them away.

You may have heard about companies like SellCell, Usell, or Gazelle, which will buy our old electronics for cash. But, there’s another player out there as well — Glyde. To understand how Glyde works, we went straight to the source and spoke to Glyde’s marketing director Joe Senn and its marketing assistant Matthew Reardon.

“We’re a marketplace, we connect buyers and sellers … What Glyde tries to do is take a lot of the complexity out of it; we handle the payments, we handle the shipping, we also try to make it so that first-time sellers and buyers are on a level playing field,” explains Senn. The main difference between Glyde and other sites like Gazelle is that Glyde does not actually buy the device. Once the site knows the specifics of your phone, it tells you an ideal selling price. If you list your phone on Glyde at that price, it has an incredibly high chance of selling. But how high?

“The vast majority of our phones, and when I say the vast majority, like 95 percent of them, sell within the first week … If you’re selling a flagship model, like any of the iPhones or any of the flagship Samsungs, and you take the price that we suggest, it really sells around 99 percent of the time. We’re really looking for a price where we’re pretty sure it’s going to clear,” says Senn. Glyde lists an average selling time frame on each device. An iPhone 4s typically sells in 2-3 days and a Samsung Galaxy Note sells in 3-5. The site pays through bank deposit, check, or you can even receive payment in bitcoin currency.

The seller benefits from the sale of an item he or she is no longer using, the buyer benefits from the purchase of an inexpensive phone, and the site benefits from its commission (Glyde takes 12 percent of the first $100 and 8 percent after $100.) To make sure buyers and seller receive the maximum benefit, Senn and Reardon gave us a few tips.

Source: Thinkstock

1. Make Sure the Price Is Right 

“We want sellers to get the most money for their device,” says Senn. The idea behind the price point Glyde suggests is pricing lower than market value, but selling at a price that’s still fair to the seller. “You’re free to adjust that price, but we have a high confidence that the item is going to sell quickly at that price,” he explains.

“But if it doesn’t sell, we will contact you via email and suggest another price. Perhaps lowering the price a little bit would make it sell a little quicker, so we will encourage people to do that … For people who want to be 100 percent sure their phones sell on our site, we offer something called guaranteed sell, where if you put your price at the lowest price point we have, then we guarantee that it will sell and the box is already on the way,” Senn adds.

For a Samsung Galaxy S III (Sprint 32 GB in excellent condition), you can set the price at the suggested point of $167. Or, you could go as high as $225 or as low as $72.  The “done deal” price of $72 guarantees the sale. Even if you are using a site other than Glyde, like eBay or Craig’s List, pricing at the proper price point will likely result in a quick sale and also, a fair deal for both you and the buyer.



2. Consider Depreciation 

Buying a used phone has become an attractive option, particularly for those who join a no-contract provider that allows them to bring their own device. These customers may prefer to buy a used phone, as opposed to paying hundreds of dollars for an un-subsidized, in-demand phone. Buying used is also attractive for contract customers who lose or damage their phones, but still have a few months left until it’s time for an upgrade.

When buying a used phone (or even a new phone), examine depreciation rates of models and predecessor models. “Apple products depreciate at the lowest rate,” says the guys over at Glyde. The gentlemen explain how the Apple iPhone 5 is still worth $245 for a baseline AT&T 16 GB model. “Samsung flagship models, the Galaxy, and even the Note hold their value really well,” they add.

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3. Examine Your Item Carefully

“If you’re a buyer trying to sell, we have a very simple questionnaire, that says okay, you have an iPhone 5, what carrier are you on? What’s the storage capacity? What color [etc.]? This establishes what condition [your device] is in. Do you have the charger?” says Glyde marketing.

Most of these sites have similar questionnaires that help them determine your device’s condition and when answering these questions, you want to be as careful and accurate as possible. Make sure you indicate your carrier correctly, and if your phone is missing buttons, for instance, you probably should not consider it in good condition.

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4. Earn Money From Cracked or Broken Phones 

Do you have a phone that doesn’t turn on anymore? Maybe your phone is cracked. Fortunately, there are buyers out there who will use these phones either for parts, or they’ll refurbish them.

“You can sell a cracked or non-functioning phone … those are [usually] getting sold onto professional buyers [who will] refurbish or repair them.” These buyers will then sell the device somewhere else. “Cracked phones, particularly apple devices, are still worth quite a bit of money,” explains Reardon. You’d be surprised at just how much you can get for a phone with a busted screen.

For a cracked iPhone 5 (32 GB on the AT&T network), Glyde’s quoted price is $173. A cracked Nokia Lumia 920 (AT&T) will get you $46. Although you’re going to get a lesser amount, it’s certainly better than nothing.

Source: Thinkstock

5. Wipe and Backup Data

For most of us, our smartphone is our life. It contains a large amount of personal information, ranging from bank information, to pictures, to highly personal text messages. You probably wouldn’t want someone else seeing this information, would you?

For this reason, Glyde tells sellers to back up their data and also, wipe their phones completely. iPhone sellers also must uninstall Find My iPhone, which Senn describes as “Apple’s equivalent of a kill switch.” If a seller sends out a phone with Find My iPhone on it, Glyde tries to remotely correct the problem, but in extreme cases, the device has to be returned. Simply uninstalling the app avoids the hassle altogether.

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