BBB: Beware of ‘sketchy’ businesses when selling your old phone

Online Staff Report

According to market analysts, consumers will upgrade their cell or smart phones every 18 months on average. Looking to make a few extra dollars, many will choose to sell their phones rather than trade them in. According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), to avoid disappointment in the price paid or to risk losing your phone, it’s very important that consumers know with whom they should do business.

The National Consumers League reports there are many people who have fallen victim to “bait and switch” tactics used by some online re-seller sites. Consumers report they are quoted an amount that they find acceptable; however, when they send their phones in, they receive a revised quote substantially lower than the original offer.

Unfortunately, there are some businesses that are operating in a less-than-honest manner,” said Dennis Horton, director of the Rockford Regional Office of the BBB. “Consumers need to know that there are honest deals out there. But, they will need to do their due diligence to avoid those that aren’t.”

The BBB recommends the following tips when selling an old phone or tablet online:

Check for consumer feedback about a particular service before shipping the device. The company’s BBB Business Review online is one resource.

Carefully review the terms and conditions before you ship the device. Some services require extremely quick turnaround times (as little as three days after the revised quote is sent to the seller) for confirmation or rejection of the offer. If the consumer misses the email and doesn’t respond, the offer is deemed accepted, regardless of the price quoted.

Assume that the initial quote you receive via an online form is likely to be higher than the quote you receive once the device has been inspected. Shop around and compare quotes. Be cautious of any quote that is dramatically higher than the others.

Besides selling your phone, you can also recycle or donate it to charity.

For more information, visit

Posted Jan. 15, 2015

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