Cash in on old gadgets
A number of websites are offering good money, writes Rod Chester
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.