Major retailers roll out electronics buy-back programs


Electronics gadgets have such a short effective lifespan. And it’s a hassle to figure out what to do with them after they outlive their usefulness. I’ve talked in the past about sites like and others for reselling your gently used electronics. In addition, people are also selling their AT&T iPhones on eBay and through other channels now that Verizon is offering the iPhone too.

But what if you don’t like the hassle of dealing with a remote buyer on eBay? Target and Radio Shack are offering in-store buyback programs for iPhones and other electronic gadgets.

There’s a big market for professional refurb houses that take older in-demand electronics, clean them up and put them up for sale again. Think about this: If you are in a contract and drop your iPhone in the toilet, you have to spend $600 to buy a new one under contract. On the other hand, if you buy a refurb, you usually pay half what the non-contract price is. This is generally true with Androids and Blackberrys too.

Things happen, right? My wife and I were on vacation when she stopped to look at dolphins jumping in the ocean. She didn’t know her cell phone had fallen to the ground and so she got back in the car and drove right over it, crushing it into hundreds of pieces. At the time, I went on eBay to find her a Windows mobile smartphone (this was years ago) and got her a refurb for a song.

So Target and Radio Shack are cutting out having to hunt down a buyer. They will buy your items back right in the store with no hassle and pay you in store gift cards. It’s a great way for them to build clientele.

You will see more of this trend in retailing as we go through these short lifecycles of electronics, giving you a way to dispose of them without the headache of online selling. Think of it like a car trade-in program for electronics!

Note: This article originally aired Febraury 2011

  • Show Comments Hide Comments