How To Safely Sell Your Used Electronics

New electronics are expensive. Old electronics still hold some value. So, why not sell your old laptop, tablet or smartphone to help pay for the latest and greatest model? What’s the worst that could happen?

It turns out that the worst that could happen is actually pretty bad. If you’re not careful, trading in that iPhone SE for an iPhone 15 could lead to identity theft, blackmail or worse. For this reason, you have to be very careful and select safe places to sell your old electronics. Luckily, you can sell your electronic devices without getting scammed—as long as you take some basic precautions. Here’s what you need to do.

1. Decide which device to sell

Not every device is a good candidate for sale. Before you start listing your old tech on eBay, ask yourself a few questions.

Do you still like the device?

Just because Google has released a Pixel 8 doesn’t mean you need to offload your Pixel 7. Like your old phone? Keep it, don’t sell it.

Is it possible to keep the device up to date?

A Pixel 7 is one thing, a Pixel 1 is another. Google no longer supports the Pixel 1, so that phone won’t get security updates. Similarly, the latest iOS only works for iPhone SE (2nd gen) and above. If your device is old enough to miss out on important updates, it might be time to say goodbye. You can sell used electronics for cash or trade-in.

Is the device worth anything?

Before you go to the trouble of typing up a detailed product listing, do a quick eBay search. Does your device sell for hundreds of dollars? Or pennies? A really old phone, laptop or tablet may not be worth much at all. In that case, you might decide to skip straight to recycling.

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2. Sanitize your device

So, you’ve thought it through and decided to sell your old tech. That means it’s time to wipe it.

You can start quite literally. A thorough wipe with a microfiber cloth is a good idea. Before you sell, do all the things you’d normally do to keep your tech gadgets clean. After that, time to wipe your data.

It’s important to wipe your devices before you get rid of them, because they include oodles of personal information. Photos, passwords, credit card details, crypto wallets… the list goes on.

You need to remove all of that before you pass it along to somebody else. (Don’t worry, you can keep your data on your cloud backup storage.)

3. Find a buyer

Once your device is clean—literally and figuratively—it’s time to find a buyer. Here are a few places to look:

Your phone company

You’ve probably received a smartphone trade-in offer from your phone company. You may even have taken them up on it. In that case, you know what to expect.

Someone (or some app) will consider the model, age and condition of your device. Then, they’ll make an offer in the form of cash, store credit or a gift card.

eBay

Everybody’s favorite online auction house is also a popular place to sell electronics.

If you decide to sell your device on eBay, you’ll need to take photos, make a detailed listing, wait for a purchase and ship. It’s more effort than selling it to a phone company—but it could be more lucrative, too.

Just watch out for common online scams, like the cheeky chargeback. A customer could buy the item, claim it’s not as described and ask their credit card company to refund them. To cover yourself, make sure you take good-quality product photos. And if you need more help, ask eBay to step in.

In person

In the old days, you could sell your stuff on Craigslist. Nowadays, you’re more likely to try Facebook Marketplace. The basic idea is the same.

Post a detailed description of your item, along with the price. Meet up with your buyer in a safe, well-lit place (can’t go wrong with a police station!). Get the payment in cash, via PayPal or an alternate method of your choice. Then hand over your item.

No luck finding a buyer? Don’t toss your device in the trash. Ask local charities if they could use your electronics. If not, check your town’s e-waste recycling policy or find a responsible e-waste recycler near you.

4. Enjoy your new device

If you upgrade to a newer, more powerful device, you may notice faster speeds when you’re browsing the web. If you don’t, the problem might not be your device. It might be your internet. Frontier offers super-fast internet for seamless connectivity.

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