Cash in on old gad­gets

A num­ber of web­sites are of­fer­ing good money, writes Rod Ch­ester

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Gadgets -

AUS­TRALIANS have al­ways loved the lat­est gad­gets. Now with a boom­ing re­sale mar­ket, they’re learn­ing to love their old gad­gets, too.

The re­sale mar­ket comes down to sim­ple maths: on av­er­age a per­son up­grades their smart­phone ev­ery 18 to 24 months, but the work­ing life for a mo­bile phone is seven years.

For many peo­ple, eBay is the sim­ple so­lu­tion to sell off an age­ing model smart­phone that has lost its shine since it was the ‘‘ must-have’’ item of its day.

A search of eBay in Novem­ber found about 17,000 preloved mo­bile phones were up for sale, more than half of them iPhones.

But for those not want­ing to go down the eBay path, a num­ber of web­sites of­fer cash for a range of gad­gets. They in­clude Boomerang Buy­back, Casha­phone, Mon­ey4­Mo­biles, Mazuma, and Cash For Phones.

The sites all work in sim­i­lar ways. A per­son gets a quote on their de­vice, with the price de­pend­ing on the model and its con­di­tion.

They send their gad­get off and you get sent money in re­turn. Some sites ship you out a pre-paid bag so you don’t even have to pay for postage.

David Parker was run­ning BuyMyTron­ics Aus­tralia when the Amer­i­can par­ent com­pany de­cided to shut down the Aus­tralian out­let. In Novem- ber, he launched Boomerang Buy­back, which buys more than 64,000 elec­tronic items, in­clud­ing more than 3000 types of mo­bile phones, 1300 models of dig­i­tal cam­era and 500 Ap­ple prod­ucts.

‘‘ We’ll buy some­thing if it has value. The pric­ing on the web­site is for new, used or bro­ken, and a lot of bro­ken ones can be fixed,’’ Parker says. ‘‘ We do get a lot of smart­phones — peo­ple want­ing to get the iPhone 5 and send­ing us their 3GS and 4s at the moment. We also get a lot of Mac­Books.

‘‘ The whole idea be­hind the con­cept is mak­ing it easy and sim­ple. Us­ing our ser­vices is much eas­ier than sell­ing some­thing on eBay. You get your price, you get your bag in the mail, you drop your phone in and it’s gone and done.

‘‘ Whereas with eBay you have to first off make an ac­count, take pho­tos of your item, list your item, wait for it to sell, and wait for the money to be re­ceived and then you have to go and ship it.’’

Mazuma be­gan in Bri­tain about six years ago, with the lo­cal spinoff Mazuma Mo­bile Aus­tralia launch­ing two years ago. Mazu­maMo­bile Aus­tralia man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Aid Rawl­ins says in those two years the com­pany has paid $10 mil­lion to peo­ple sell­ing old phones and tablets.

In choos­ing which buy­back site to use, there are a few points for con­sumers to con­sider.

Some sites pay more if you have the orig­i­nal box and charger. Each site has its own rat­ing sys­tem, and will ask you to ei­ther rate your phone as ei­ther work­ing or not, or put it on a scale for brand-new con­di­tion to bro­ken.

The pay­out on the quoted fig­ure could de­pend on whether the site agrees with your rat­ing of the phone’s con­di­tion. You may think it’s still in ex­cel­lent con­di­tion, but a chip out of the back might mean it’s only con­sid­ered ‘‘ poor’’ and not worth as much as the orig­i­nal quote.

Be­fore send­ing off your phone, you may want to ver­ify how long it takes for your money to come through.

Rawl­ins sug­gests peo­ple delete their own data be­fore send­ing the item off, with the Mazuma site giv­ing di­rec­tions on how to do that for each phone model.

When the buy­back sites get a phone, they re­fur­bish it and sell it on to a new mar­ket, typ­i­cally overseas and of­ten to a de­vel­op­ing coun­try.

Parker says he sells phones to such ar­eas as South Amer­ica and South-East Asia.

Rawl­ins says most of his phones go to China, though there is a strong mar­ket with Euro­pean in­surance com­pa­nies who want a bank of re­fur­bished phones to serve as re­place­ments for peo­ple who break or lose their phones.

The parts of the phones that can’t be re­fur­bished are re­cy­cled in dif­fer­ent ways, de­pend­ing on the com­pany. Some dis­posed of them through Mo­bile Muster (www.mo­bilemuster.com.au), some sell the cop­per for scrap.

Parker says more than 90 per cent of con­sumer elec­tron­ics can be re­cy­cled to raw ma­te­ri­als and reused.

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