Gold prices are at record highs but selling old jewellery isn’t the only way to make fast cash. Your unwanted gadgets could be worth a small fortune
Most of us have an old camera, phone or games console stuffed in a drawer, taking up space and doing nothing useful. You might think these aged gizmos are worthless but in fact, you could be sitting on a haul worth hundreds of pounds. What’s more, you can turn all these gadgets into real cash with hardly any effort – and we’re talking just a few seconds.
Online gadget-recycling firms offer a reliable way to turn unwanted technology into cash thanks to free postage and packaging followed by quick (even overnight) payment.
Recycling your gadgets
The premise of all online gadget-recycling services is simple. Most deal with electronic devices of various kinds – including mobile phones, digital cameras and games consoles – and, once the make and model has been selected, the service will state how much it’ll pay in return.
Should you accept the offer, a prepaid delivery bag may be sent to you or you’ll be offered the option to print out a freepost label that you can affix to your own parcel. Once the device has been received by the recycler – and assuming all else is well – the originally agreed sum is then paid by cheque or directly into a nominated bank account.
There’s really nothing more involved in using such services for quick cash, but there are a few caveats. First, the best prices are usually only offered for devices that are in good condition and full working order.
Some services do allow you to specify the cosmetic condition beforehand and see an adjusted price before committing to the sale, while others only care if the device is working. Some recyclers, however, will still pay for a non-functioning gadget as long as it is physically intact – and not snapped in half, for example.
Second, although an offered freepost delivery service may be the cheapest way to send a device for recycling, it’s not the safest. Very few gadget-recycling services offer insurance or proof-of-delivery options for items sent to them, meaning it’s almost always up to the seller to sort this out.
While you may not much care if an old mobile phone valued at £10 gets lost in the post, you’re unlikely to feel the same about a smartphone worth a couple of hundred pounds.
So it makes much more sense to send high-value items via Royal Mail’s Special Delivery service, which provides guaranteed next-day delivery and up to £500 compensation in the event of loss or damage (the Recorded Signed For delivery service provides compensation only up to £46).
Prices depend on the parcel weight, but most gadgets should cost no more than £6 to send. Incidentally, don’t forget to back up and erase any personal data stored on the device.
Finally, gadget-recycling services rely upon a degree of honesty from the seller when valuing an item and they will check the gadget is as described before handing over the cash.
Anything described as ‘working’ will be checked to see if it actually is and the cosmetic condition will also be assessed. If any discrepancy with the seller’s description is detected, an updated offer will be sent by email, but this can be rejected and the device returned, usually at no extra cost.
Some recycling services also request a serial number for certain devices sent for recycling, which helps to uniquely identify a submitted device from the thousands of others being processed. All reputable services will check to see if a device has been reported lost or stolen though, which means they’re not an option for offloading dodgy gear.
Which service should you use?
It seems obvious to use the gadget-recycling service that offers the most money for your particular device. A good place to start is with one of the many gadget-recycling-comparison sites, which will return a list of best prices from various services once a device make and model has been supplied. We’ll explore some of these in just a moment.
But it’s worth understanding that using just one comparison site won’t necessarily find the very best price available, since each works with a slightly different selection of recycling services.
That means the best price found by one may be bettered by another, so it’s always worth checking a few comparison sites to see how they stack up for a particular device (see the Not on comparison sites box on the next page).
However, it is sensible to confirm a found ‘best price’ directly with the listed recycling service, because comparison sites may be using old data and may not factor in deductions for cosmetic damage.
Avoid using the click-through links given at a comparison site because this may actually serve to mask better prices (different comparison sites have different affiliate deals with the recycling services they work with and some may offer non-preferential ‘best’ prices via their click-through links as a result). Instead, always open a new browser tab, type the recycling site’s website address directly and search for the device.
Unfortunately, some gadget-recycling services aren’t listed at comparison sites, so once armed with a theoretical ‘best’ price, it’s time to check with a few services directly to see what they offer. Let’s look at an example of how this works with an Apple iPhone 3GS 16GB in perfect condition.
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