To keep up with latest technology, many consumers are tempted by the increasing number of retailer buy-back programs offered for a minimal fee at the point of sale.
As long as your gadget is in good condition, many buy-back programs allow you to trade up such items as your cell phone, laptop, tablet and television for a percentage of its current value. Usually, this credit comes in the form of a store gift card.
The Better Business Bureau recommends that consumers weigh the pros and cons before participating in a retailer’s buy-back program:
Buy-back programs act as insurance against loss of value. Like any insurance policy, the true value can become nominal and hard to define. Be sure to read the fine print as many buy-back options have conditions and constraints that could ultimately keep you from selling back your used gadget.
You could pay triple sales tax. Even though sales tax laws and buy-back program rules vary, the consumer is the one responsible for paying the tax – first when you buy the gadget, a second time when you return it and then a third time when you use the gift card.
Gadget buy-backs are not for the forgetful. If you don’t save original receipts, power cords and manuals, you could be at a loss or your payout could be less than expected. Most buy-back programs insist that the original items be brought back to the store at the time of the exchange.
Mobile phone contracts are not covered. You can resell your phone back to the retailer, but your cellphone provider will keep billing you for the duration of your contract.
You can compromise your identity. Remember to completely erase all personal data from the gadget, smartphone or laptop before returning it. If you don't, you could unwittingly compromise your identity.
You can get more for your electronic gadgets elsewhere. In most instances, you can get more for your electronics by using such sites as eBay and Craigslist.
Start With Trust. For trustworthy consumer tips and information, visit wynco.bbb.org or call 970-484-1348 or 800-564-0371.