Monday, March 11, 2013

Earn Quick Money: Selling Old/Used Cell Phones

 Again, we look around our home to find the extra cash that we need to begin realizing our dreams. Do you realize that your old electronics could be the small gold-mine that will allow you fund the first steps to your dreams?  No, you never realized this? completed a survey recently that said the average American has $171 worth of old electronics sitting around the house collecting dust! You heard me, almost $200 of free money that you could be using to realize your dreams. 

What do these companies do with the device?

There are a number of companies that offer money for good quality, unused electronics that you may have sitting around in drawers.  These companies are great because they keep electronics out of our  landfills.  These companies:

(1) re-sell the item on the discount market and find a new life for your cell phone;
(2) send them to developing countries through charity programs;
(3) sell to recyclers for electronic parts.

Good stuff right?  This little activity allows you to play superhero and save the planet and grab a little cash on the side.  Win-win! So how does one actually achieve this wondrous feat?

Selling old electronic devices in a  perfect (try fantasy) world?

Most the companies make it really easy to give you cash for old electronics:

1.  You find the make, model and condition of the electronic and type this information into their website;

2.  They give you a quote;

3.  They send you postage, shipping box, etc. (shipping is usually on them) so you can send the device(s) to them;

4.  They assess your item to make sure it's actually the item they discussed and the condition describe;

5.  They send you payment through PayPal, direct deposit or check in just a couple of days.

Easy 5 step program huh?  Not so fast though.  You know nothing is that simple.

This industry has gotten a few complaints from people who have tried to turn in their unused stuff for cash.  Selling your used devices can make the possibility of getting scammed great, but there are ways to assure your success in getting cash for unused electronic devices. And I'm gonna show you how it's done.  You can thank me later.

In reality, it works like this:

Selling used electronic devices in the real world.

1.  Go to a cell-phone buyer's website and type in the make, model and condition of the electronic device (but be careful, they want clean, working and gently used items);

2.  They give you a quote;

3.  They send you postage and packaging.  Make sure you carefully read the instructions.  Most companies demand you send them your devices before the mail by date specified..  If your postmark is after the mail by date your quote may be resended;

4.  They assess your item (they check the ESN, MEID and IMEI numbers.  And often send you an email with a re-quote citing that the device's condition is different than was initially stated. Due to the actual condition they claim that you deserve a new amount, a lesser amount.  You have 24 hours to respond yes or no.  If yes, you they will begin processing your new, lesser payment.  If no, they will send your device back to you.  You are given 24 hours to respond.

5.  You say okay, you'll agree with the new quote -- unless you have proof to show them that their claims are unwarranted - see below*

6.  You get paid 7 to 9 business days . . . that's business days kiddies, Monday thru Friday.  Which means payment comes in a couple of weeks at best.

And that is how it's actually done.  Unless you know a few things.

What you need to do to to get the most money and to cover your butt . . .

1.  Clean the item.  The cleaner it looks the better the quote will be.(Best Way to Clean a Cell Phone)

2.   Protect your personal information.  For cell phones, make sure to remove your SIM card and your memory card as well. For other types of electronics, make sure to take out any device that acts like a "hard drive" and stores your personal information.

3.  Erase the internal memory.  Here is a tutorial on How to Erase Your Cell Phone Data. Identity Theft Experts advise that you do a factory reset multiple times to truly erase all personal data. Yes, it takes multiple resets to actually erase all data from your cell phone.  Don't gripe about it, just do it.

4.  Make sure your usage contracts have expired or were cancelled.

3.  Read the FAQs and Terms of Service (yes, actually READ it) of each website/service you are thinking of selling to.  While you read, keep in mind you are looking for the most important information: How long it actually takes to get paid!  Some of the services take up to 30 days to pay you.  You don't want to use those, right?  After all we're talking about quick money. And that is why you are reading FAQs and Terms of Service.  I told you I'd take care of you.

5.  Get your camera or your smartphone out and take close-up photos of the device you are selling -- with date stamp. If you don't know how to get the date stamp feature to come up on your smart phone, break out your manual.  This is very, very important.  You are taking photos so if the company claims poor condition, you have proof that it's not true.  Also make sure to take pictures of the area of your old phone that has the serial numbers -- this is usually in the area behind the battery. The best photos are taken in natural light, so take photos in the day on the window sill.

6.  Take a picture of and write down the IMEI number* (you'll find out why this is utterly important below).

4.  Use a cell phone buying service that provides free shipping.

5.  Look for accessories and original packaging of your device.  Yes, look for the AC charger, battery, manuals, software CD, cables . . . these can make your device more valuable and you could get a little more money.  So start digging around, believe me it's worth the effort.

6.  Check a price guide so you have some sort of idea of the value of the device. has a current list of sales and a chart showing average price for a device.  It's a price guide for everything, so it's a nice resource to know about.

Okay, Now that you are properly armed with good information and ways to keep this process fair, I feel good about sending you to the many cell phone buying services available to you.  

The Most Popular Services Out There Are:

You can skip all that by going here:

But really all you need is a website called: a price comparison engine.  They help you find multiple companies that will offer you the best quote for your electronics.  Simply enter the make and model and they will give you a comparison chart of quotes from multiple services!

For faster, but less, cash you can try:

The big electronic stores which have buy-back programs i.e. Best Buy, Radio Shack, Target, Amazon and Game Stop.

Of course you could just sell your items on E-Bay and Craigslist.  E-Bay has a complete selling guide to help you make the most of this opportunity.  Access the guide here.

If you want money even faster, you can use an EcoATM.  These are often stationed in malls throughout the U.S.  The kiosk examines your devices, offers a price based on its condition.  If you decide to sell, you drop the device into the offered slot and receive cash on the spot.  You can find an EcoATM by using this website that lists locations.

If you just want to get rid of the devices:

Donate your unused stuff to these great charities - Cell Phone For Soldiers and 911 Cell Phone Bank

How to make even more money:

Last but not least, if you have had success with one of these companies and gained a little money for your unused items, you should check to see if any of these companies have a Referral Program or an Affiliate Program.  This will allow you to send other friends and family to the service to sell their unwanted devices.  And when they use the service to sell their items, you get a cut! So you can keep making money, even when all your electronics are gone.  Nice huh?

*Why you need to take photos . . . seriously!

Tip to Avoid Being Scammed:  Be sure to write down your IMEI number of the device you are selling.  Scammers are buying phones (usually through E-Bay), swapping out internal workings and replacing it with older, stolen working ones.  Then they complain to you (the seller) about their purchase and they send what looks like your device back to gain a full refund. A way to guard yourself from getting scammed is to compare your IMEI number in the back  of the device with the one you wrote down before selling it.  Then, type *#06# on the keyboard which will give you the IMEI number of the device that was hard coded into the device.  All three numbers should match.  If they don't someone has traded out parts of your phone is trying to scam you!

PERSPECTIVE: The quick money series on Telecommuting Millionaire? is to help you find funding so you can take your first steps to following your dreams.  After you read a few of my Quick Money articles, you will realize that Money is Everywhere. Don't use these quick money ideas, unless you understand that you are using these ideas  . . . not to pay off debt, not for extra salary, not for "fun money" . . . but as a stepping stone to financing the first steps of your dreams.  Dog-gone it, we are going to gain our financial freedom together! Read: Money is Everywhere to get the proper perspective.

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3M 10 oz. Aerosol Computer & Electronics Cleaner CL600 (Google Affiliate Ad)


  1. Working from home and becoming rich looks like a perfect ecuation. But in my opinion if you already have a real business going on, with many clients you can convert your business into internet successfully. I work as a Real Estate agent and today thanks to internet I sell a house fast er than before. But I don´t believe that there is a high rate of successful business started directly from internet.

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