In 2019, gadgets and tech are updated at lightning speed – no sooner have you bought one product, here comes a new and improved one. In the UK alone, it’s estimated that 40 million items of tech are lurking in cupboards and drawers, never to be switched on again.

Thankfully, this kind of waste is being reduced due to a number of trade-in programs available and, in this article, we’re going to take a look at one of the biggies – Amazon’s Trade-In Program.

What is the Amazon Trade-In Program?

It’s a fair swap! In essence, Amazon’s Trade-In Program allows users to profit from a number of unwanted items by trading them for Amazon gift cards. Users can trade a wide range of items including:

  • Cell phones
  • Tablets and laptops
  • Cameras
  • Gaming equipment
  • Games
  • DVDs
  • Books

Although similar to some other Trade-In programs, Amazon’s program offers instant credit for accepted items.

Also available in the Amazon Buy Back for text-books which works in the same way as the Trade-In and, despite the name, doesn’t only apply to books bought from Amazon.

How does Amazon Trade-In Work?

Amazon’s Trade-In program is refreshingly simple and straightforward:

First, visit Amazon Trade-In and scroll down the home page and you’ll be presented with options regarding the kind of item that you wish to sell as follows:

how Amazon trade-in works
photo credit: Amazon.com

Click onto the relevant button for your item. If your item isn’t a cell phone, a book or related to gaming, click onto Find More Items’ – at which point you’ll be able to conduct a search for your specific item.  

Now use the drop-down menus to find the specific product that you wish to sell.

Once you’ve found your item, Amazon will ask for some information about it; in particular the kind of condition that your item is currently in – for example, if you’re trading in a book, you’ll be asked if the spine is bent or broken and whether or not there is hand-writing or doodles on any of the pages.

Amazon trade-in item
photo credit: Amazon.com

In order to avoid delays and rejection, it’s important to be completely honest regarding the condition of your item as it will be examined on receipt.

Once you’ve completed this information, click onto ‘Continue’ and you’ll be asked to verify your shipping address.  

After verifying your address, Amazon will then confirm the address and the price that you will receive for your item.

You’ll then be given instructions on how to send your product to Amazon, including a free shipping label which you can print and attach to your package.

You need to post your item to Amazon within seven days of receiving your label or the Trade-In may be canceled.  

Amazon trade-in item review
photo credit: Amazon.com

Once Amazon receives your product, it will be examined to make sure that the condition matches the description you filled in online. If Amazon agrees with your description (see the low down below for times when this may not be the case), the stated amount will be credited to your account in Amazon gift vouchers (unless you’ve opted for instant payment).

What’s more about Amazon’s Trade-In

Born in the USA

Amazon Trade-In is currently only available to Amazon customers in the USA.

The limit

Amazon only allows users to trade items up to a value of $1800 in any one transaction. That transaction will need to be completed before you’ll be able to issue another one.

Disconnect the tech

Amazon Trade-In insists that all gadgets and tech items are unlocked and de-registered from devices such as cloud services before being packed and shipped.

No cash option

Unlike some other programs, Amazon Trade-In only pays out in Amazon gift vouchers which can only be used toward purchases on Amazon’s site – which means that you may want to think carefully before trading high-value items for which you may be able to get a cash payment elsewhere.

Beware the instant payment

Although it may seem like a good idea to instantly get your hands on your Amazon gift vouchers, there may be a catch. If your item is rejected by Amazon or, you cancel the trade at some point in the process, you may end up being charged the full amount of the instant payment. In addition, although delayed payment can be applied as soon as Amazon receives your item, be aware that they reserve the right to delay payment for up to 25 days from receipt.

Post not packaging

Although Amazon provides a free shipping label for your Trade-In, you will need to supply your own packaging – it’s a good idea to use good quality, sturdy packaging and lots of tape – and  to and wrap your product in bubble wrap in order to prevent any damage in transit which may result in your Trade-In being rejected by Amazon.

Make smart decisions

When organizing your Trade-In online, Amazon will ask what you want them to do should your product be downgraded – the options here are to have it returned to you free of charge or, to automatically accept the price offered by Amazon – even if it’s lower than the price that you were quoted.

Before choosing this latter option, think carefully about whether or not you’re prepared to accept a much lower price than quoted; if not, opt to have it returned and try your luck elsewhere.

sell on Amazon trade-in
photo credit: Amazon.com

Beware the downgrade

OK, so you’ve dusted off your item, examined it and then dutifully reported its condition to Amazon before sending it off. Then, you receive notification from Amazon that, not only do they not agree with your description but, they have significantly downgraded this and offered you an accordingly lower price than you feel the item is worth.

Amazon uses a third party for its Trade-In program and, it’s Perlow who decides on the condition and, therefore the price. Unfortunately, this means that Amazon is rarely able to shed any light on why a product has been downgraded.

Worryingly, rumor has it that it is standard practice to downgrade items and, many users report that a product has been downgraded due to issues such as a damaged box or carton.

Changing your mind

You can cancel your Amazon Trade-In at any time during the process (although, as mentioned, you may be charged if you chose instant payment). You can do this by accessing your Trade-In account, choosing your Trade-In order number and then clicking onto ‘Cancel’.  

Compare and contrast

Although Amazon’s Trade-In is a really quick and easy way to get something back for your unwanted items, there’s a really good chance that you can get a better price elsewhere.

For example, Amazon Trade-In will pay $315 in gift vouchers for an iPhone X in ‘like new’ condition – however, Flipsy Vendor will pay $510 for the same item.

Go ahead and whizz your item through Amazon’s system in order to see how much they’re offering but, do also check out some other sites such as eBay and NextWorth first to see if you can get a better deal.

Is it worth giving Amazon Trade-In a go?

The answer to this question really does depend on the kind of product you’re trading and the condition. There are a number of factors to consider here – If you’re having a clear-out and trading a video game which you no longer use and are happy to get a couple of dollars for just to get it out of the house, then Amazon Trade-In may be for you.  

With low-value items such as video games, DVDs and books, Amazon Trade-In is a relatively risk-free experience – in most cases, users are happy to take whatever they’re offered and put the credit received toward a new, more up to date product.  When it comes to those higher value items, this is where things get a little sticky with Amazon Trade-In.  

When it comes to expensive items such as tablets, gaming consoles, and high-value phones, you will almost certainly be better off shopping around for a better deal. The appeal of Amazon Trade-In is that it is fast and easy – but it’s also fast and easy with the value of your products.

Often a quick look on eBay or other sites will show you that you may be able to get double what Amazon is offering – and in cash rather than in-store credit.

Conclusion

For those simply looking to offload a load of inexpensive items, Amazon Trade-In is a good option.  The fact that shipping to Amazon is free – as is items being returned to you if rejected or download – makes it a great way to get rid of those unwanted books and DVDs and get a little credit toward your next purchase.

Unfortunately, Amazon Trade-In has developed something of a worrying reputation when it comes to higher-value products – with some even going as far as to call it dishonest. For this reason, it really is a good idea to look elsewhere for a much better deal.

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