No matter what time of the year it is, we could all use a little bit of extra cash. You could have a yard sale, hit up Facebook Marketplace to sell your old furniture and clothes, or find a quality buyback program to trade in your old electronic devices. Quite possibly, your easiest option is the latter. There’s no need to hustle or compete to sell your old iPhone or any other devices. In fact, most trade-in programs make it a breeze to get value out of your unused items.

However, not all trade-in programs are created equal. And with so many choices out there, you’ll need to do some research in order to get the most bang for your used items. Fortunately for you, we’re here to help.

We all know Amazon is the place to purchase pretty much anything under the sun and get it sent straight to your doorstep in as little as a day. But, did you know they also allow you to sell your old stuff to them in exchange for an Amazon gift card? 

Read on as we break down all you need to know about the Amazon Trade-In program, including that age-old question: “But is it a good deal?” Spoiler alert: If you’re trading in used devices like iPhones, tablets, and more, the answer is maybe not.

 

Amazon Trade-In Review
Read on for how to trade in electronics on Amazon.

Contents

How Does Amazon Trade-In Work?
      Online vs. In-Store Trade-In
           Whatever You Do, DON’T Choose “Accept the Adjusted Value”
      Does Amazon Trade-In Give You Cash?
          Just Say “No” to Instant Payments
Amazon Trade-In Values
Pros and Cons: Amazon Trade-In vs. GadgetGone


How Does Amazon Trade-In Work?

Trading in with Amazon works in much the same way as selling your used device to Apple, Verizon, Best Buy, or a third-party company like GadgetGone. Once you’ve decided what you’d like to trade in, your very first stop is the Amazon Trade-In program page

1.  To start, you’ll first need to find out how much your item might be worth. Begin by selecting which thing(s) you’d like to trade in from the list. 

Amazon accepts a wide variety of items for trade-in including:

•  Smartphones
•  Tablets
•  Game consoles
•  Video games and other gaming accessories
•  E-readers
•  And more

Each trade-in order is capped at a max of $1,800. If you are selling multiple items with a total greater than $1,800, you will need to submit multiple trade-in orders. 

2.  Depending on the kind of item you’re trading in, you’ll next be asked some questions about its current condition, both functionally and cosmetically, as well as for specs like storage size and carrier as needed.

Try to be as precise and honest as you can about your item’s condition (i.e. no rose-colored glasses allowed). This helps keep your initial trade-in value quote as accurate as possible. 

3.  After answering all the necessary questions, your item’s estimated trade-in value will appear.

Remember that as with any other trade-in program, this is only a quote and not your final offer. Your item’s final trade-in value will depend on Amazon’s inspection once your device is received.

How to trade in electronics on Amazon.com

4.  If you like your offer, you’ll next need to make a decision: either automatically accepting your final offer (even if it gets adjusted to be less than you were told originally) or automatically declining it in the event that the price is adjusted and having your device returned to you. More on this in a bit.

5.  To complete your trade, you will then need to decide between shipping your items to Amazon (available for all trade-ins) or taking them into a participating uBreakiFix location (not available nationwide, only allowed for cellphones and Amazon Devices).  

Remember that as with any other trade-in program, this is only a quote and not your final offer. Your item’s final trade-in value will depend on Amazon’s inspection once your device is received.

Throughout the buyback process, you can also check your Amazon Trade-In status by going here.

 

Online vs. In-Store Trade-In

For those of you living in Texas, you’re in luck – that is currently the only state where you can trade in your used device in person at a uBreakiFix location. Which we would highly recommend doing, as you’ll see in a bit.

For everyone else, chances are that you’ll wind up completing the process online and shipping your items to Amazon to be evaluated. 

Under normal circumstances, we think this is a great option. In fact, it’s the only option we provide at GadgetGone because it’s simple for our customers and saves them the time it would take to bring their items to a physical location. Plus, shipping is free thanks to a prepaid shipping label, although you will need to provide your own box. 

However, and this is a big however… 

 

Don't accept the adjusted trade-in value

 

Whatever You Do, DON’T Choose “Accept the Adjusted Value” When Trading in With Amazon Online

In this instance, we’d recommend being extra cautious when trading in with Amazon online if you are selling consumer electronics like smartphones, laptops, tablets, smartwatches, or video game consoles. Why, you might ask? Well, let us redirect your attention to Step #4 above, namely the decision to automatically accept your final offer even if it’s less than you were originally told. 

In the consumer electronics buyback industry, much to the frustration of trade-in customers everywhere, downgrading your device’s condition category from what you initially reported online is commonplace. Not because businesses are trying to be sneaky, but because it’s easy to see your device as “flawless” or in “mint condition” when you’re using it every day. Plus, there are often blemishes that are simply too small to be seen when you aren’t trained in what to look for. 

All of this is to say that by clicking the “Accept the adjusted value” button when getting your quote through Amazon, you are putting a lot of faith in both your device’s stated condition and the likelihood that Amazon won’t find something wrong with your device. We don’t know about you, but that’s not a chance we’d like to take. It’s like saying:

 

"Here's my expensive device, multibillion-dollar company. Of course, I trust you implicitly to give me what it's worth. In fact, just keep my stuff! You don't even need to tell me how much you're going to give me."

 

Does that make sense? Methinks not. What’s more, since you could have had your device returned to you and then tried to trade in your item elsewhere, you’re potentially passing on way more money. In other words, while this feature may have an air of convenience, it is clearly only in the best interest of Amazon, not its trade-in customers.  

Unfortunately, this isn’t even the worst of it. While researching for this review, we also came across tons of customers complaining that their electronics had been downgraded without cause. On its own, this isn’t cause for alarm since, as we mentioned previously, downgrading a device’s condition category happens all the time when trading in no matter which company you’re using. 

What did raise some red flags for us, however, was one trade-in experience described in a ZDNet article by a faithful Amazon Trade-In customer:

 

“Basically, I got the rep to admit that it is more or less standard practice for them to automatically downgrade the condition of the device no matter what condition it is in. And as it turns out, there's no way for Amazon to contact that department to verify what happened when they receive the device -- apparently, this is a service that they outsource.”

 

Indeed, he noticed that his own trade-in history seemed to back up the rep’s admittal, finding that every single device he had ever traded in with Amazon had had its condition downgraded. 

I think we can all agree that the combination of these two things – an option to automatically accept a downgraded offer and Amazon’s apparent penchant for automatic downgrades – is exceptionally problematic. Add to that the fact that the service appears to be operated by a third party, making it difficult to dispute trade-in qualms, AND a history of customer complaints outlining devices that were damaged during delivery and you have a recipe for potential disaster. 

 

Does Amazon Trade-In Give You Cash?

For most people, in addition to convenience, the most important factor when trading in payment. Not only do customers want to get what their devices are actually worth, but they also want to be paid in a way that is beneficial for them. In other words, cash is king. 

Unfortunately, Amazon does not pay cash for items traded in. Instead they give store credit in the form of an Amazon gift card that is credited directly to your Amazon account. Although that might be a negative for some trade-in programs, that isn’t really the case for Amazon, especially for frequent customers.

 

Just Say “No” to Instant Payments

Some trade-ins are also eligible to receive an instant payment. That means that should you accept the instant payment, your credit is applied to your account at the start of your trade-in transaction and can be used immediately. 

We’re not sure what qualifies someone for an instant payment since Amazon doesn’t give too many details on their website. What we are sure of, however, is that accepting an instant payment is a very bad idea. 

As mentioned previously, Amazon already has a nasty habit of seeming to downgrade any device that gets sent its way. That means that even if you accept the instant payment, chances are good that your item’s trade-in value will still be decreased during evaluation, meaning that you will then owe Amazon money. 

If this happens (or if you decide to cancel your trade-in, the item is never received, or your trade-in is rejected), Amazon will then either take your gift card back and/or charge your credit card on file to make up for the difference. 

Considering how much used devices can be worth, that could be a huge chunk of money taken from your account that you weren’t expecting. So, if you do trade in with Amazon, be safe and stick with a normal delayed payment instead.

 

iPhone with a screenshot of Amazon Trade-In next to an open laptop
How do Amazon trade-in values stack up to buyback competitors?

 

Amazon Trade-In Values

We know how Amazon Trade-In works and how they pay, but just how much store credit can you receive when you trade in your old stuff with Amazon? That depends on the type of device you are selling, the condition it is in, as well as how new it is.

We decided to see how Amazon’s trade-in values stack up to the competition. For our comparison, we specifically looked at the iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 11 Pro Max (with a cracked screen), iPad Pro 2nd-generation, and Xbox One (specifications for each are listed below). Remember that your device’s trade-in value will depend on its specifications, cosmetic condition, and overall functionality.

   
iPhone 7 Plus – 256GB, Verizon, good condition iPhone 11 Pro Max – 512GB, Verizon, cracked condition
Amazon: $115 (credit) Amazon: $285 (credit)
GadgetGone: $180 (cash) GadgetGone: $473 (cash)
AT&T: $80 (credit)
AT&T: $210.90 (credit)
T-Mobile: $77 (credit) T-Mobile: — (no quotes are given for cracked devices)
Verizon: $81 (credit) Verizon: $280 (credit)
Apple: $135 (credit) Apple: $0 (recycling only according to Apple’s trade-in calculator)
GameStop: $120 (credit) GameStop: $250 (credit)
Best Buy: $150 (credit) Best Buy: $300 (credit)
ecoATM: Up to $60 (cash) ecoATM:Up to $265 (cash)
   
iPad Pro – 12.9″, 64GB, Wifi only, good condition Xbox One – 12.9”, 256GB, Wifi + Cellular, good condition
Amazon: $200 (credit) Amazon: $40 (credit)
GadgetGone: $320 (cash) GadgetGone: $51 (cash)
AT&T: $190 (credit)
GameStop: $75 (credit)
T-Mobile: $255 (credit) Best Buy: $40 (credit)
Verizon: $203 (credit)




Apple: $340 (credit)
GameStop: — (no quote available)
Best Buy: $200 (credit)
ecoATM: — (no quote available)
   

In general, we were actually quite surprised by Amazon’s trade-in values. Although they couldn’t quite compete with what GadgetGone has to offer, they are very competitive with the trade-in values provided by carrier buyback programs like Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T and put the prices offered by ecoATM to shame.  They (and everyone else) also get blown out of the water by GadgetGone when it comes to trade-in values for cracked phones and other devices. 

However, remember that these are only estimates and the high likelihood that your item’s condition will be downgraded along with its trade-in value. So, while Amazon’s trade-in values may look competitive now, your final trade-in value may not be. In other words, be sure to weigh your options and the history of Amazon’s buyback program before deciding if it’s worth it to trade in with them. 

 

Screenshot of Amazon Trade-in on an iPhone
Keep reading for the pros and cons of the Amazon Trade-In program.

 

Pros and Cons: Amazon Trade-In vs. GadgetGone

For diehard Amazon fans, the Amazon Trade-In program is certainly a tempting offer as long as they follow our advice, don’t mind getting an Amazon gift card instead of cash, and are ok with almost definitely having their device downgraded. 

For others, however, we’d say that the risk isn’t worth the reward. There are tons of other options out there (like GadgetGone) that give top dollar trade-in values and have a track record of thousands of happy customers

We dug into the pros and cons of each to see how they stacked up. 

   
Amazon Pros: Amazon Cons:
Able to get a quote quickly and easily online Only offer an Amazon e-gift card, no cash
In-store trade-in available in certain areas Very low trade-in values for cracked phones
Shipping your device is free Doesn’t price match competitors (as far as we can tell)
Wide range of eligible items Long history of customer complaints, including:
Cracked and damaged items are accepted   –  Devices damaged during delivery
Fair trade-in values for devices in good condition   –  Automatically downgrading a device’s condition
    Offers features that seem convenient, but are actually not in customers’ best interests, including:
      –  Option to automatically accept a downgraded trade-in value
      –  Instant payments (will likely need to pay Amazon back later)
    Trade-in is operated by a third-party company, making communication and customer service a challenge
   

Overall, Amazon’s process is a pretty straightforward one once you get past the numerous pitfalls. When compared to GadgetGone, however, there are a few glaring differences that we think puts GadgetGone on top.

   
GadgetGone Pros: GadgetGone Cons:
Some of the highest trade-in values in the industry, including cracked devices Unable to trade in in-store – device(s) must be mailed in to be evaluated
Quick and easy online quote Not as many accepted devices as Amazon
Many accepted devices
Get paid through a mailed check, PayPal, or Amazon e-gift card
PriceMatch+ Guarantee will beat any competitor’s offer by $5
Shipping your device is free
Tons of positive reviews
Professional evaluations that are fair and accurate, no automatic downgrades
A dedicated customer service team makes resolving trade-in issues easy
   

As you can see, GadgetGone offers top-dollar cash payments for a wide range of devices no matter the condition. The payments are fast and easy, you never have to pay for shipping, and if you have a question or issue, a customer service rep is only a phone call or email away.

Plus, our trade-in values are consistently among the best in the industry, and you’ll never have to worry about your item’s condition category being downgraded automatically. In fact, if we think your device is in better condition than was originally stated, we’ll raise its trade-in value to match. Now that’s integrity!


Whichever option you choose, deciding to trade in your old devices isn’t only a win for your bank account, it’s a win for the planet too. From where we’re sitting, that’s a pretty sweet deal. 

 

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