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How to cash in on old electronics

Gail Johnson

A Samsung phone (R) and an Apple iPhone 4 are shown. Apple is seeking more than $700 million in additional damages and interest while arch-rival Samsung wants a new trial in the wake of a verdict that saw the US technology giant awarded $1 billion.

If you got your hands on a slick iPhone 5 over the holidays, chances are you have i Phone 4 you need to get rid of, along with an outdated laptop, desktop, digital camera, or TV. Don’t just leave those unused gadgets lying around. Turn your old tech into cold, hard cash.

There are a lot of people out there who don’t need everything to be brand new, who are satisfied with a refurbished products, especially when sold well below retail prices for relatively recent models.

Before you sell

Remember to wipe all of your data from your unused electronics before handing it over to a potential buyer.

And whenever you get new equipment yourself, keep the original packaging, instruction manuals and warranty for better resale value. From there, check out these spots as potential places to sell your e-stuff.

Social media websites

One way to start is to put a For Sale sign up on your preferred social networking site. Post a status update on Facebook or tweet out your items for sale and see if any of your acquaintances are interested. Just make sure you've settled on a price, keeping in mind you might find it harder to negotiate with friends than with strangers.

eBay and Craigslist

These two are obvious sites to make a sale, but it involves legwork on your end: You’ll need to take photos, write up a listing, and arrange for pick up or shipment. Remember that larger items like TVs will cost more to ship, so find out the cost before agreeing to a deal.

You can get a sense of the going rate of an item on eBay before listing it by searching for the same thing then clicking on “Completed listings” in Preferences on the search page. Auction results from the past two weeks will show up.

This New York City-based site offers instant price quotes and payment the day the office receives your phone. They pay for shipping from anywhere in the United States, even if your phone isn’t worth reselling. In those cases, phones are recycled. You can opt to donate the money to an American charity of your choice.

Store buy-back programs and offer this service, through which they buy back items purchased from the store when you want to upgrade to a newer model. The buy-back prices probably aren’t as high as what you’d get selling your gadget yourself, but this approach doesn’t take much effort on your part.

You can sell several brands of cellphones on this site as well as most Apple products. This specialized site will make you an offer and, if accepted, sends you a prepaid shipping box. But if you haven’t been truthful about the item’s condition, the site may revise its offer, so be honest. Your gadgets will be worth more with original manuals, cords, and software. Gazelle resells many of the products on sites like eBay and Amazon; others are sold to wholesale partners or sent for responsible recycling.

Most new and used devices in the following product categories are eligible for the company’s “Guaranteed Buyback” plan: laptop computers, desktop computers, flat-screen TVs, MP3 Players, LCD monitors, printers, GPS devices, Blu-Ray and DVD players. The Los Angeles company sells consumers a buy-back deal when they purchase their newest toy. This site makes most sense for people who expect to upgrade to a newer model within a year or two.

NextWorth accepts Apple products as well as cellphones, video games, game consoles, movies, eReaders and GPS devices. You get a same-day quote and once you’ve sent in your item via prepaid shipping, you get money back about 10 days later. The company has partnered with retail locations so you can physically enter a store to do the transaction too.

Eco ATMs

These self-serve machines can be found in malls across the United States. They allow you to place your device on the kiosk’s test screen then get cash on the spot if you like the amount offered.

It’s only a matter of time until Canadians will see the same kind of automatic units in their hometown shopping centres.

If all else fails, remember to recycle your electronics responsibly by contacting local recycling authorities or private companies for drop-off locations instead of sending your old phones to the landfill.