What Happens to Phones That Are Traded In?

When your smartphone reaches the end of its life, you can either throw it away or sell it. Some people may be a little unsure if it is safe to trade in their phone. We’ll illuminate the process that happens after a traded-in.

Let’s get this out of the way, your smartphone is dangerous to our ecosystem. Chemicals such as cadmium, lead, mercury, and nickel. If you throw it in the trash at the end of its life, those chemicals will leach into the ground, pollute water, kill plants and wildlife, and stick around for up to 100 years.

That’s nasty!

But if you trade it in, you’re not only keeping those chemicals out of the ground, you’re also helping someone get a shiny new phone at a price they can afford. You’re basically a hero.

Although the many options to trade-in your device are simple and almost effortless, it does need a moment of your time. If your a busy bee and just want to toss it out, please do so responsibly.

Where to Trade In Your Old Phone?

It’s actually easy to find a place that will take it. Most people sell their phone to an online buyer on platforms like eBay, advertise it on classified, return it to their carrier, or get store credit by trading it in at an Apple store.

Best of all, most of those things can be done from the comfort of your home. You can trade-in your old phone online. In this day and age that’s safe and practical.

Let’s take a closer look.

Online buyer

There are a lot of online buyers who want your old phone. You can go right to their website, get an instant quote for your old phone, and when you’re ready, they’ll send you a free shipping package. Simply plop your device in the box and send it back.

Once they’ve had a look, they’ll send you your money. How easy is that? Companies like Gizmogrind are good for this because they offer top dollar and you’re guaranteed to get your money. Plus they make it super easy to trade in your old phone!

Online marketplace

Another way to get rid of your old phone is to attempt to sell it yourself using an online marketplace. Sites like eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and Kijiji are filled with people selling their old phones. Of course, this isn’t the easiest way to sell your phone, nor is it the safest.

For starters, you’re competing with a million other people trying to get that one buyer’s attention. It’s a race to the bottom on price. Second, you need to handle all the marketing, photographs, and tech specs yourself. You better know the details of your phone, including what chipset it uses and how much RAM it has inside.

Finally, you stand a chance of getting ripped off. And even if you don’t, your phone was dying and it could just end up in the trash after all that. Online marketplaces are not the best place to sell an old phone.

Your carrier

Did you know that you can get steep discounts on a new phone simply by trading in your old phone? It’s true! Most carriers will offer you up to $400 in credits if you trade-in your old phone. That means you can get a brand new phone for a lot cheaper.

But there’s always a catch with these guys.

You’ll be stuck on another two-year contract. Plus, if your phone has any damage at all, even a small scratch on the back, they’ll deduct a large amount from the trade-in value. The truth is that carriers offer the lowest amount of value for a used phone, and you can usually do a lot better with an online buyer.

Retailer

Then there are retailers who might be interested in your trade-in. Big box stores like Best Buy will take almost any phone as a trade-in.

But there’s a catch.

You’ll only get store credit. They won’t give you cold hard cash for your phone. Instead you’ll get a gift card with a couple of hundred dollars for you to spend at the store. It’s a lot like trading-in your old phone with your carrier, isn’t it?

At the end of the day, selling it yourself or using online buyback websites are the recommended option, both for ease of the process and how much you can get for your device.

How Do Phone Trade-Ins Work?

Thankfully the process is easy. Here’s the behind the scenes of a typical online phone trade-ins.

Get your quote

First, head over to the buyer’s website and find you’re device. Once there, it will guide you through a simple process of entering your phone’s information.

Then you hit “submit” and the system will show a quote. If you like what you see, you can proceed with the sale. The buyer will send you a shipping kit, free of charge. This usually consists of a secure box for your phone and postage-paid shipping labels.

Reset your device

Next, you’ll want to reset your device to factory settings. That means wiping all your personal data off it. Always back up to the cloud, whether that’s iCloud or Google Drive or Dropbox or OneDrive. That way you won’t lose your photos and personal information.

Send your phone

Once you’ve got the shipping package, you can pack your phone in, apply the labels, and send it back to the buyer. Always make sure you get a copy of the tracking number and shipping receipt. That way you can prove you sent the phone off in case the shipper loses it.

Get paid

Finally, when the buyer receives your device, they’ll do a quick inspection to make sure it is what you said it was in your quote. Then, if everything looks good, they’ll send you your money! Most buyers have a variety of methods for paying you. They’ll get in touch with you and ask what you prefer.

What Happens to Phones That Are Traded In?

Now that you’ve sold your phone to a buyer, you might be wondering what happens to it. The fact is that whether you sell it to an online buyer, trade with you’re provider, or sell it to a retailer, the phone will go through the same process.

First, they’ll inspect it. Then they’ll wipe it. After that, they’ll refurbish any parts that need replacing. Finally, they’ll sell the phone!

Take a closer look.

Data wipe

Did you know that not everybody who trades in their old phone wipes it first? It’s crazy! But a lot of people simply hand over their device, complete with their information, profile, and even credit cards loaded on it. For the buyers taking the phones, this causes a lot of problems, starting with liability.

So the very first thing we do at GizmoGrind is wipe it. If the phone is still locked to iCloud then some companies will simply return your device by mail. In our case, we will contact you via email and ask that your remove the device from your iCloud account remotely in order for us to continue the inspection process.

The data wipe we do is one of the more sophisticated processes at GizmoGrind. We use a software that deletes your data, then overwrites random packets over it, and wipes it again. This process is repeated several times. The software then prompts that the device is safe to resell.

The phone is wiped clean, and ready for the next step.

Testing & grading

The outfit who took your phone is in the business of refurbishing or recycling devices. In order to determine value, an inspection team test your phone. They’re looking for some key operating items:

  • Screen condition – is it damaged at all?
  • Buttons – do they all work?
  • Battery – does it need replacing?
  • Body damage – how many scratches, dents, and chips are there?
  • Processor – does the phone turn on and the operating system boot-up without issues?

If the phone meets acceptable standards for all of these (and some others), they’ll assign a grade to it. The grade will ultimately determine how much you get paid. It ranges from “Great,” meaning the phone is in like-new condition, to “Poor,” meaning the phone is unusable. Most phones are “Good” or “Okay,” which means they can either be sold as.

A broken device is then sent off to a technicians desk, refurbished and marked ready for sale.

Global distribution stream

Here’s the best part.

The buyer will refurbish the phone to bring it back to like-new condition. They might use spare parts from other phones, or third-party parts. These can include things like new screens, new buttons, and new batteries. Some phone chassis can be replaced if they’re badly damaged, but most high-end models use glass bodies, making them difficult to replace.

Then they’ll add it to a global distribution stream which collects and resells millions of refurbished devices from around the world.

Now it’s ready to be sold.

Wheres does your ends up after a successful trade-in?

Finally, once the phone has been refurbished, it’s ready to get back on the market. Did you know that 70% of all refurbished iPhones end up in India, China, or Russia? Meanwhile, the majority of refurbished Samsung phones end up in the United States or South America.

The great thing about refurbished phones is that they are cheaper than brand new models, yet they work just as well as a new phone. That means people living in emerging economies have the chance to own a smartphone that would otherwise be out of reach at its full ticket price. For many people, a smartphone is the only computer they’ll own. That opens up opportunities for communication, job searching, education, networking, and everything else a computer brings.

But best of all, the phone stays out of a landfill. That’s a win-win.

What If Your Phone Is Irreparable?

If your device is found to be impossible to refurbish, such as it is too heavily damaged to use again, then there’s still good news. It gets recycled and the parts used to make new phones.

For example, Gizmogrind sends it to a certified e-waste partner, where they separate the components into raw materials that can then be used in new phones. Very little if any goes into a landfill!

Is It Safe to Trade In Your Phone?

You’ve wondered if your old phone has any data on it that someone can access. Our phones are extremely personal devices that carry our entire lives around inside them.

But there’s good news.

It is perfectly safe to trade in your phone, so long as you use a reputable buyer. The fact that they’ll wipe your phone clean, even after you’ve reset it, adds an extra layer of security to the entire process. Make sure to check their data security policy.

You won’t get that if you sell it to someone on eBay.

Are You Ready to Trade In Your Old Phone?

Are you ready to trade in your old phone for cash or credit? If you have an old device that can meet the “Good” or “Broken” grade, then you what do you have to lose? The fact is that when you use an online buyer like Gizmogrind, you get the most money for your phone, you help the environment, and you help someone less fortunate than yourself. Even better, Gizmogrind will plant a tree for each device they buy.

You’ll be a real-life hero!

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