Selling your unused device?  Five things to keep in mind

Selling unused tech devices is commonplace among creative professionals who need to raise cash in a hurry. This has created a multi-billion dollar resale industry which has benefited not only those looking to score a great deal, but those looking to unload their wares for a fair price. As scammers have now proliferated in this industry, most reputable buyers now use some form of grading process involving a combination of human inspection and industry standard software such as Phonecheck, to detect any sort of issues and determine fair value, but most people don’t know some of the criteria which factor into the offer price. Here’s what to check when selling your unused device:


Selling your unused device?  Five things to keep in mind
Screen blemishes such as these reduce a device’s offer value.

Put a solid bright while background on your device and look carefully.  Are there gray circles, white spots, or discolorations?  Is there a major shadow on the corner, or “waves” in the displays?  Any one of these could indicate a screen malfunction which will reduce the price you’re offered.

Appearances count. 

Selling your unused device?  Five things to keep in mind
Case scratches, such as these on this Microsoft Surface, reduce the offer price of a device.

When selling your tech, don’t just look at the raw specs such as processor speed, memory, or battery life. Resellers want to spend the least amount of time inspecting and prepping your item for sale. The better the exterior condition, the less time and money is needed to make it sale-ready.  If your device has a perfect screen, but chips on the edges, and scratches all over the casing and dirty ports, don’t expect a lot. Also, check the frame; a bent frame can cut the offer value by over half! Finally, be aware that most wireless devices have water damage detectors inside the SIM card port. If it’s blood red, that means there’s been water intrusion.

Cracks and chips

Selling your unused device?  Five things to keep in mind
Even a thumbnail crack in the corner can lower the offer price. This crack is far more pronounced.

You know that crack in the corner you thought wouldn’t matter?  It does. Device buyers are looking for every flaw on the physical side, and that includes all sorts of tiny cracks, chips and blemishes. These phones cannot be resold as “like new refurbished” without the screens being replaced, so good device buyers are constantly looking for these issues – if they find it, it will be noted.

Unpaid money talks

Selling your unused device?  Five things to keep in mind
Read the fine print on your purchase agreement.

Remember that financing plan you used to buy your old phone, but never finished paying?  Today’s grading software accesses databases for all major wireless carriers and can find out if a device seller owes money on what they selling. If it’s in a contract, or if it has been reported lost or stolen, that will show up as a flag. Stolen merchandise is reported to authorities the same day.

The little things hurts you

Selling your unused device?  Five things to keep in mind
Inoperative headphones, microphones, or vibration motors will affect the offer price.

A malfunctioning vibration motor, an audio port which only plays one earphone, dead spots on your screen, and wifi issues and aftermarket (replacement) parts all factor into the final offer price.  Buyers are trying to minimize their risk. Vianney Vaute, co-founder and chief marketing officer of refurbished goods marketplace Back Market, told Wired “After (displays) there’s a huge drop in needed repairs, but it’s usually stuff like home buttons or WiFi connectivity issues.” The point is to think like a buyer – would you buy your phone and if so, what would you offer? Google the wholesale price, then cut that by 30% and you will have a reasonable idea of what buyers will give for your offer.

A word about the offers…

Most buyers have some wiggling room to go up, but not much. Buyers are looking to maximize profitability, but they also understand their supply chain depends on happy sellers.  When you focus on what to check when selling your unused device, you will spot issues which can lower your offer before hand. If you aren’t happy with the offer, try to negotiate something good, but don’t expect a ton.  Most reputable buyers give their agents some room to negotiation, but that difference is usually less than $20.

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