Will Best Buy's "Buy Back Program" be worth the money?

Taylor Martin
 from Concord, NC
Published: January 3, 2011

Back when I first started getting into the mobile world, phones could remain relevant for years. I used a BlackBerry Curve 8330 for almost two years and not once did I feel the need to change phones, that is, until the Tour hit the market. Over the past three years, though, the relevance of phones has been cut down to mere months, or about a year at best.

It has actually gotten so bad that when I buy a phone, I usually have my next phone purchase in mind. If not, I am probably anticipating the release of another phone and preparing for that purchase. If you're as bad as I am, Best Buy has a new program (yet to be launched) that should aid your compulsive phone buying habits.

By paying an extra $60 at the time of purchase, you will be entered into Best Buy's Buy Back Program and have the option to sell your device back to Best Buy for a percentage of retail value. The money back is dependent on the time you keep the phone. Given the device is still in good condition, if it is sold back within (these dates are after the 30-day return period):

  • 6 months, you get 50% of retail back
  • 6-12 months, you get 40% of retail back
  • 12-18 months, you get 30% of retail back
  • 19-25 months, you get 20% of retail back

Not a bad deal, huh? For most people, this will work out well because even if you buy it for a device retailing for $500 and keep the device for two full years, you get $100 back, which is more than what you paid for it. So you've lost nothing. If you purchase the Buy Back Program, then you have the option to get money back on your phone at any point if a device you want does come out before your two-year contract is up.

On the other hand, people who compulsively buy phones may not benefit from this as much. Buying a device that retails at $600 can usually be sold on eBay or Craigslist for more than $300 after 6 months. Also, any money you get back by using the program will come on a Best Buy gift card, meaning you won't have the option to shop around. Buying devices off-contract at Best Buy isn't always the cheapest route, so you may want to put some thought into future purchases before you buy into the program.

One feature of buying phones from Best Buy that has been around for quite some time is the ability to trade-in your device for cash. Of course, the “cash” is in the form of store credit, but if you're buying your next phone there, you can put it toward that purchase. The thing is, if you use the trade-in method, you could potentially get more back than with the Buy Back Program. I've seen some popular devices return a decent sum of money through this method and trading-in a device doesn't cost you a dime. With the Buy Back Program, you pay $60, meaning if you get $100 back, you've only turned a $40 profit. If you get $100 credit from trading-in your device, that's a full $100 profit.

While it may not return as much cash as selling privately, the Buy Back Program is a set amount of money that is guaranteed and has some key benefits. No more shots in the dark or hoping your device will sell among the hundreds of similar auctions. It may not be the most profitable program to enter into, but it will save a lot of people a lot of headaches and help them afford the latest and greatest devices. I say, if you're not sure you want to keep your device the full two years, this program is definitely for you and will likely be worth the $60 fee.

Image via TmoNews