There's always spam in my account promising to sell or buy gadgets for a great price. I usually delete them right away, along with messages from a seemingly bored Nigerian prince who has nothing better to do than try to wire me money. Scams are a dime a dozen these days, so like most people, I've trained myself to not even notice them anymore.
But with the holiday shopping season afoot and my mind drifting to my wallet, I started thinking more about trade-in programs. My bank account is taking a serious hit this season, making it tough to even think about upgrading to some of the hot new handsets coming out. Meanwhile, I have old Nokias, Samsungs, Palm pilots (a Lifedrive and even an ancient m100), as well as old computers and other stuff, overtaking my apartment. Could any of this be worth any money? Well, probably not. But then I looked over at my iPhone and something clicked.
I suddenly remembered the experience of my pal Anders, a good friend and phone junkie who once used FreeiPhoneSwap.com (now called YourPhoneSwap.com). I had heard of the site before, but didn't want to waste my time with a con operation. Turns out, the service actually seems legit.
Here's what happened: Though the mailing address was in New Jersey, there was also a Manhattan office, so Anders popped by and wound up getting the full value, $300, for his pristine 16GB iPhone. That was enough cash for a brand new 3G model, which he wound up getting immediately. (The trade-in price for that has since come down to $250). For BlackBerry users interested in upgrading, the site now accepts the Curve, Pearl or 8800 as well, though for less (between $65 to $90).
Now I can't really vouch for the service, since I haven't used it myself. It was, however, covered in Wireless Week and the New York Times, which offers some credibility, and given Anders' experience, it does seem appealing. (UPDATE 1/5/09: YourPhoneSwap.com now points to TodaysCloseOut.com, an entity billing itself as a wholesale distributor of gadgets. I don't know whether the business was absorbed or changed focus somehow, but it seems to no longer accept trade-ins.)
But aside from this particular program, the big question on my mind is: How many legitimate trade-in services are out there? Have you used one that totally worked as advertised and would recommend it? Dish the details either here or in the Forums. Think of it as a public service announcement -- or a holiday gift -- for your fellow phone phreaks.