Before we dig into the nuts and bolts of this article, we need to inform you of a couple of basic precautions to take before selling your laptop. Thankfully, you don’t need to do much work to prepare your laptop before recycling it.
Top places to sell your laptop:
In person sales
Online Recyclers like SellBroke or Gazelle
Big Box Store Recycling Programs
Manufacturer Recycling Programs
Local Waste Management Facility
The number one precaution you need to take is to ensure that you remove personal data from your device.
If this is a cell phone, you will want to perform a factory reset. With cameras, do a factory reset and dispose of the memory card used with it (don’t sell it with the camera). If you are selling a laptop, either format the drive (in a process called zeroing the drive) or remove the storage drive altogether.
Zeroing a laptop drive requires a little more effort. A free program called DBAN will help you do this. This application will require that you make a bootable USB drive, boot the laptop with this drive, and allow DBAN to wipe the laptop drive.
Deleting files alone isn’t enough. When you delete a file from your laptop, it’s not truly erased. Computers use something called a file system to store and track data. This is a lot like a card catalog in a library, and much like a card catalog, just because you remove the index card from a catalog doesn’t mean the book was removed from the shelf. You can still find it, it’s just going to take a lot of extra work. You need to make sure that the entire card catalog, along with all of the books, are removed from the library and destroyed. This is what DBAN does with your laptop’s hard drive.
Use these links to reset your smartphones:
Selling your old laptop, or other electronics, in-person is a great option. Out of all the methods mentioned in this list, selling your old devices yourself, as opposed to a reseller or broker, will net you the biggest sale (more money in your pocket). There are trade-offs though.
Personal Security (Stranger Danger!)
There is always a personal risk meeting a stranger. Make sure to stay safe. Most people in the world are inherently good people, and they just want to score a good deal. Nonetheless, there is always a risk that someone is trying to steal your stuff. Make sure to follow proper safety rules when you agree to meet a random stranger you meet on the internet. Read this article on Craigslist for further information about keeping yourself safe while selling things in-person.
There is a lot of extra hassle selling your old devices yourself. People will try and low-ball you to lower the price. A lot of independent resellers try and score a super cheap deal from someone that needs to sell things for quick cash. You will get a lot of low-ball offers, and these can be frustrating.
You will also need to take time out of your day to meet someone that may decide not to show up. This is common. Make sure to meet potential buyers close to your house.
Give Old Devices to Charity
There are a lot of schools and churches that need devices. Don’t discount these groups. Churches and community groups can do a lot of good in their local areas. A lot of these organizations offer free classes or after-school tutoring programs for kids.
The downside of being a non-profit or charity program is that they typically lack resources. Your old laptop, while it may not play the latest games or be the fastest machine in the world, may allow another child to get help with school. It may also be the difference of someone down on their luck finding a job versus struggling a little bit longer. Giving your devices to charity organizations is a great way to recycle your old devices.
Check out Computers With Causes for an easy way to donate your laptop everywhere.
Sell Your Laptop to Online Recyclers
There are a lot of online resellers. One of the best is SellBroke.com. SellBroke will buy used or broken laptops, smartphones, cameras, and all sorts of other electronics. They also offer some of the best prices for used gadgets.
Why would I recommend SellBroke over other resellers? Sellbroke is a member of the Better Business Bureau. While it’s true that the Better Business Bureau doesn’t have a lot of true regulatory clout, members tend to take their membership seriously. Having a high rating in the BBB shows that the business puts its best foot forward.
SellBroke is also eco-friendly. I can’t stress how important this is. We generate more than 50 million tons of e-waste today. Less than 13% of that is recycled. That’s a lot of trash that lands in our landfills. To make matters worse, electronics contain harmful chemicals that will slowly leach into our soil, and eventually, our waterways. SellBroke ensures that recycled parts are disposed of in a way that doesn’t harm the environment.
There are many online resellers like SellBroke.com. Gazelle is another well-known option. Using online services like these will net you money in your pocket without the hassle of meeting people in-person. Online retailers are a great middle option to both sell and recycle your old laptops without risking personal safety or visiting local waste management facilities.
One more point; reputable online recyclers like SellBroke and Gazelle will ensure your personal safety. If you forget to wipe a device, they will make sure all of your personal data is destroyed. Both companies want to keep their customers safe. They won’t risk sensitive data being leaked. There are plenty smaller recyclers like SellLaptopBack specializing in just one type of electronic devices.
Top 10 online recyclers:
Visit Your Local Waste Management Facility
Most communities have a local waste management facility. These facilities perform the transfer functions from the garbage collectors to the local disposal site, whether this is an incinerator, landfill, or recycling center. Most state laws require these facilities to accept electronics and dispose of them properly. Depending on local laws, these facilities may also charge you for this service.
Do your research before taking your electronics to these transfer stations, though. Not all transfer stations have the capability to dispose of electronic devices properly despite laws requiring them to do so. For example, the local waste management in York, Pennsylvania has a lot filled with old televisions because they have no way of properly getting rid of them.
Each local municipality is different. The easiest way to find out how to recycle old electronics locally is to simply do a google search for electronics recycling in your area.
Visit a Local Big Box Store
Big Box stores typically partner with a local recycler or reseller in your area. These partners will regularly visit chain stores for pickups. After removing the merchandise, they will break old electronics down to individual parts for resale. This is how many electrical component resellers on eBay and Amazon get their replacement parts.
You won’t make any money by recycling your old electronics at chain stores, but you also don’t have to deal with the hassle of visiting waste facilities or meeting people in-person to sell your old stuff to that may not even show up.
Where Should I Avoid Taking My Electronics To Recycle?
Believe it or not, there are many places you shouldn’t take your old electronics to recycle. Avoid Goodwill, Salvation Army, or other thrift stores. These places want to sell working merchandise to customers. It’s rather common that if a device isn’t working, they will trash it. Of course, because Goodwill and Salvation Army is run by franchisees, each local store may be a little different. Nonetheless, this is a known issue with these organizations. They are great to donate old clothes and furniture too but avoid taking your old electronics to these stores.
Also, avoid recycling programs from manufacturers. Apple notably won’t take devices that are too old. Likewise, their voucher program offers very little return on your old devices. For a recycling program, Apple makes this process a big hassle.
Find out if Is Apple Trade-In is Worth It?
Retailers like SellBroke and Gazelle offer much better payments for your old electronics. Recycling programs provided by manufacturers are typically designed to get customers to upgrade their old devices by offering some form of incentive. That incentive comes in the form of a gift card that can typically only be used at that same manufacturer.
Don’t use those trade-in programs from cell carriers either. For instance, Verizon will offer customers $620 for a Samsung Galaxy 10 5G phone according to their website. What Verizon doesn’t state is that this price is only for new condition devices. If your phone shows any signs of wear or tear, that price starts to go down. Likewise, a brand new Galaxy 10 5G will cost $1299.99 for the base model. At the time of writing this article, a used Galaxy 10 5G is selling on eBay regularly for about $800. This trend stays true for just about any smartphone.
Like most, we tend to keep the things that we like or that comfort us relatively close by. This might be your significant other, your wallet, your dream car out in the garage, your pet dog Buddy, your laptop, or that convenient little computer in your right-side pocket – the cell phone. Phones have become our little pocket-encyclopedias, servicing us instantaneous information about politics, news, medical advice, celebrity updates, what your family is up to, and a whole lot more. For this reason, phones have become almost a necessity to bring with you wherever you go.
Fortunately for us, our technology is constantly getting upgraded with new versions of hardware each year. These advancements allow for new functionalities and uses we never thought we needed to hit the scene. However, this presents a problem… new technology is expensive! To combat this when we’re in the store to purchase a new iPhone or laptop, we’re often presented with the option to sell your old computer back as an exchange-value for the next-generation device. Now, most of the time these salespeople are only scamming us out of the device’s real value and simply trying to make a quick buck. Consumers have started to realize this and are now looking at online companies that offer more competitive prices for their old/used electronics.
Here’s the problem… we love our old devices, but hope to get a new one, so how can we be so sure that online business isn’t scamming us like those salespeople (or worse, trying to steal our devices entirely)? To help your trade-in process go smoothly, here are 4 Key Steps to Verify the Legitimacy of an Online Business!
STEP 1: THE FOUNDATIONS
First things first, everything needs a stable foundation to function and work effectively; online business legitimacy is no different. When it comes to ensuring that honest online business is taking place, you want to look at things like the domain name, business accreditations, and reviews.
For the domain name, look for endings that seem official – .com, .net, .org, .biz, etc. To go a step further you can look up the domain name on websites like https://whois.icann.org/en to find out who registered the shop’s domain and for how long. The longer they’ve had the domain, the more likely they are to be legitimate.
Business accreditations are another way you can test the legitimacy of a business, but they aren’t always necessary. Organizations like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) can inspect an online business and offer certifications when they deem the business to be operating with the customer’s best interests in mind. You can find out if a company is certified by the BBB by looking for a badge of certification, usually towards the bottom of the webpage.
Lastly, the reviews. Many restaurants rely on positive reviews as a means to drive new, potential patrons through their front door. Online businesses should be no different. Look for things like testimonials or Google the business to see if you can find positive or negative reviews about the company that you’re considering selling your electronics to. (You can rest assured, if someone has a horror story, they will tell it!)
WARNING: The presence of too many positive reviews might be a bad sign! Studies show that consumers are more likely to leave a review about a bad experience than a good one!!!
STEP 2: THE PRE-SALE
During the first step, we made sure that the business looked legitimate through their foundations. Now it’s time to dig a little deeper and head into the pre-sale territory. This is where we’re going to look more closely at the website and its content. We’re looking for things like spelling errors, does the company have an about page, do they have a “contact us” page, and if we were to potentially call a number, does a real person pick up?
If the webpage has loads of content about their industry available to you in a grammatically correct way, chances are they’re legit. One of the best things to find in this step is a real person that answers a phone number. If you were able to easily find a number, dial it, and get in touch with Sherina from customer services: I’d say the business is likely leaning towards legitimacy.
STEP 3: DURING THE SALE
Alright, things are looking really good for the company you picked out. They passed their foundations inspection and talked with you over the phone a little bit about your used device. You might think that they’re totally in the clear, but we aren’t there yet! During your checkout procedure, we want to be looking for things concerning payment and shipping. If you opt to send them your used device, how exactly have they said they’re going to pay you for the device? What about shipping?
A legitimate business in this industry will likely send you a pre-paid shipping label (usually a PDF) through email and offer payments via online wallets (PayPal, Google/Apple Pay) or made-payable checks. Some companies might offer payments using credit cards, but I’d be much more secure with transactions passing through my online wallet! Last question to ask is about protecting you privacy in terms of your personal info and private data stored on the device you will be selling. Good businesses have protocols in place to ensure your safety. If all of that sounds about right, we’re ready to get into the last important step for business verification.
STEP 4: KNOWING THE MARKET & POST-SALE
Before you hit send on your order and get the confirmation process going, what do some of the other websites in the industry offer for your device? How does this website compare to others within the same market in terms of pricing, devices accepted, and knowledge offered? At this point, we’re pretty certain that this company is operating legitimately, but every company works to make money and keep their lights on. Is this business delivering you a competitive offer for your used device?
Mothers have always said that it’s important to never put all of your eggs in one basket, so make sure you’re researching other companies in the industry to get the best value possible on your old electronics. Don’t worry though, you’re now more than equipped with these four steps to quickly analyze and assess the credibility of any online business.
Technology is rapidly changing these days, and we want the most recent gadgets. Unfortunately, that means we either have a pile of older technology in our homes or we must get rid of those gadgets. Now, we have options for how we dispose of the outdated devices, but reselling technology sounds like a smart idea to get back some of what we put in. However, the risks really aren’t worth it.
Our phones and computers absorb a lot of data over their lifetimes, most of it personal. This kind of data can be devastating in the wrong hands. Unfortunately, with reselling technology, the odds of this happening increase. It’s easy to forget to wipe a device in the excitement of exchange or to leave some small amount of personal data in an obscure place. Given how infrequently we know the people we’re selling our gadgets to, this is a very real risk.
Another hazard of reselling technology is that it will find its way into the wrong hands. Hackers have been known to buy devices off the common marketplaces for reselling technology. This is done in the hope of acquiring some personal data. Even with the factory reset functions, our data is still there. With enough knowledge, someone can reconstruct everything that was on the device. That kind of personal data can then be sold for profit, and hackers having unlimited access to the machine increases the chances they will find something.
There are two types of nefarious hackers we need to be aware of when reselling technology. The first type will take our personal data and search for something that can be used for blackmail or extortion. These types contact us directly. The second type is eviler. They won’t tell us that they have our data. Instead, they’ll put it up for sale on the dark web. Like many people, we’ve typed in credit cards, social security numbers, and more, so our computers are valuable to these hackers.
While this may not be the first thing on our minds, while we control our gadgets we know what happens to them. Once we go through the process of reselling technology, we no longer control it. This becomes an issue once the device reaches the end of its lifespan. Historically, both computers and phones have ended up in landfills. Once in the landfill, they decay very slowly and leak their more toxic components into the soil. The environmental damage is long-lasting, and we need to be prepared to handle it.
Recycling offers an alternative to reselling technology. Some recyclers are so good at what they do, they can afford to pay us for our technology. Instead of placing these devices in landfills where they will do harm, a responsible recycler separates out the components in safe conditions.
As a bonus, responsible recyclers also know how to handle our data. They have devices to destroy hard drives after thorough digital wiping. Overall, it’s the most responsible thing we can do with our old technology.
Apple offers its users a MacBook trade in program that allows them to trade used devices back to Apple. You don’t receive cash for this trade, but you receive credits that you can use to purchase another Apple laptop.
Let’s say you want to trade your old iPhone 6 Plus, you could get $100 for it on Apple trade-in, depending on the condition of the phone. This $100 will be deducted from the price of any Apple product you purchase.
How does it work?
It’s very simple.
You go to Apple’s trade-in website. Select the section and device you want to trade. Fill in all the necessary details about it. Apple will give you a price and send a free shipping label to you. Package your phone or laptop and send it, they’ll inspect it to see if it matches your description. If it does, you’ll get credited with the gift card you’ll use to purchase an Apple device you want.
That’s basically the summary of the whole process. Is it worth it? Let’s find out.
It all depends on your plans. If you want to use the money rather than purchasing an iPhone or MacBook, then it’s pointless.
What are the alternatives?
Apple trade-in program offers a lesser amount than you’d get for your iPhone if you sold on websites like eBay or Swappa. However, certain things have to be taken into consideration to be sure if it’s worth it.
Before you decide to use Apple’s trade-in program, I’ll advise you to check the prices your MacBook, iPhone or iMac are selling for on other websites. Check websites like eBay, sellbroke, swappa, Facebook marketplace, letgo, and offerup to see what your device is going for.
After seeing which one pays more, then you have to calculate how much it will cost to ship it to the buyer, including any extra fees charged by the website. If the total is higher than what Apple is offering, then you’ve got your answer. That’s a practical way to know if it’s worth it or not.
From my own research, I discovered a few things about Apple’s trade-in program.
Pros of Apple trade in.
It’s very easy to use.
Older versions of iPhones are best sold back to Apple because the worth is almost similar to what you’ll find elsewhere. The condition of the iPhone matters too; a few scratches will reduce the value drastically if you are using Apple trade-in. If you want to trade an broken iPhone, you should look elsewhere if you want to get a good offer. Selling in person is advisable; the buyer might not mind a few scratches as long as the unit is working perfectly, but Apple will definitely mind.
If you consistently upgrade your iPhone, let’s say every year or two years, then Apple’s trade-in program is not for you. From what I saw, you will hardly gain over 30% of the original price of your one-year-old iPhone. On other websites, you can get up to 70 or 80% of the original price. The margin is large, and if you want a bigger profit, sell it elsewhere.
MacBooks and iMacs get better offers on Apple trade-in. You could get up to 50% of its original price if you are lucky. Bear in mind that selling an upgraded MacBook or iMac won’t make a big difference in price compared to base models. Apple doesn’t really care about upgrades and will usually give you the same price as the base model or a slight insignificant increase. If you bought a highly upgraded MacBook or iMac and you want to get the most money for it, then sell elsewhere.
The only benefits you enjoy when using the Apple trade-in program is its ease of use, free shipping, and safety. However, when it comes to the price, it depends on how much you are willing to gain and what’s convenient for you. Always do your research to be sure of which platform is best for you.