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.
One more thing before I let you go, if you don’t want to spend time digging through websites, I understand. So, I want to recommend that you use the company Sellbroke at www.sellbroke.com – Sellbroke delivers industry-competitive offers for your used electronics and passes these four steps with flying colors. With tons of happy customers under their belt, I’m sure you’ll get the best value by trading your old devices with them.