How to Sell a Used iPhone

By Nickel FiveCents Features


With the recent release of the iPhone 5, you might be thinking about upgrading. I know I am. But at the same time, I have a perfectly good iPhone 4S, so I'd need to figure out what to do with that first…

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In the past I've touched on the possibility of selling your stuff to Amazon via their trade-in platform in return for a store credit. While a store credit isn't cash, we're talking about Amazon. At our house, an Amazon credit is darn near cash, so that doesn't concern me.

But Amazon isn't the only game in town. eBay and Craigslist are obvious alternatives. And another option that I've seen heavily advertised on TV has been Gazelle. So which offers the best deal?

For simplicity, I'm going to focus on my own phone - a 64gb iPhone 4S in black. I tend to take pretty good care of things, so I would say that my phone is in “good” condition. I've kept it in a case it's entire life, there are no scratches on the screen, etc.

So how do the options stack up?

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On eBay it looks like you can pick up a phone similar to mine somewhere in the mid-$300 range. While you could auction it off and hope for a higher price, there are units available in this price range using “buy-it-now” option so it's hard to imagine doing much better.

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As for Gazelle, I just checked and found that I could get $260 for my phone with minimal hassle. Not great, but not terrible, right? After all, there's no need to mess around with creating a listing, dealing with potentially shady buyers, etc.

Well, over at Amazon I could pocket a cool $382.50 (in store credit) for my phone. Once again, there would be minimal hassle (certainly less than eBay plus no fees) and, like I said above, Amazon store credit is as close as you can get to cash in my house without actually having cash.

Note that I've ignored Craigslist for this comparison because that's highly localized and it's very hard to predict sales prices from one location to another. Also, you can really only access the asking prices so it's impossible to say how much things are selling for via Craigslist.

Clearly, at least to me, Amazon comes out on top. And when you consider that the equivalent iPhone 5 model is selling for $399, it's hard not to pull the trigger. Then again, you have to consider those pesky early termination or upgrade fees. The iPhone 4S has only been out for about a year and these things typically come with a 2 year contract.

For now, I'm sitting tight, mainly because of the aforementioned fees. What about you?

The original article can be found at
Selling a Used iPhone