Thursday, February 25, 2021

Trade In Cell Phone Via Kiosk?

Old electronics sitting in a drawer somewhere are worth little or nothing - or are they?

e-trash.  That's what I call it - maybe others do as well.  Chances are, you have a drawer or box or something with old electronic junk in it.  Old cell phones, maybe an iPod, that fitbit that broke, or maybe a broken pair of ear buds.   The crap accumulates, like old pairs of glasses (might as well keep them as spares, right?).   Cell phones are problematic, as you have a lot of personal data on them, and are loathe to give them away.  It's like that old computer - worth nothing, but you'd better be sure to wipe the hard drive before you sell it or give it away to anyone, or the data on it might be worth more than the device itself.

I was in Walmart the other day, picking up a prescription, when out of the coroner of my eye, I noticed a kiosk offering to pay cash for old cell phones.  Walmart is the place for kiosks.  They have one for change sorting, another that dispenses water to fill jugs, and of course Redbox.  They also, inexplicably, have that claw machine.  Speaking of which, there are videos galore on YouTube on how to "win" at the claw game.  And yes, if you are willing to spend $30 to win a stuffed bear from China worth 50 cents, you can do this.   What's more, some of the claw machines are "a winner every time!" type, where you can play until you get at least one prize to go through the electronic eye at the prize chute.  People will do anything for YouTube clicks, it seems.

Anyway, I went online to the "ecoATM" site and entered the data for my old Samsung Galaxy S4's and they offered me six dollars apiece for them.  They suggest doing a manufacturer's reset and charging the battery before bringing them in - and you need a driver's license (presumably to prevent people from redeeming stolen phones).   Twelve dollars might not seem like much, but it is $12 more than I have right now - and moldering electronics are worth less and less every day.  I only wish I did this a year ago when the might have been worth $10 apiece.

Anyway, next time I am in Walmart, I'll try this kiosk and report back on what happens.  It should be interesting......

UPDATE:  The machine is actually kind of fun to use.  I charged up the phones, wiped them by hitting the "reset to factory" on the utility menu, and removed the cases and screen covers.  I followed the prompts on the screen and it examined the phones and offered me $7 for each.

Are they worth more?  Beats me.  On eBay, I see prices all over the map.  But considering that some apps won't even run on them anymore, I am not sure why someone would want them - in this country, anyway.  I suppose I could have gotten more money listing it on eBay, but most listings include shipping, which with Priority Mail (more on that in another posting about I doubt I would have gotten a whole lot more.

With the cost of the elaborate kiosk and the overhead in collecting the phones and then re-selling them (or whatever it is they do with them) they can't offer much for the phones.  It was a fun experiment, quite frankly, and took two pieces of e-trash out of my desk drawer with minimal effort.

The Galaxy S7's on the other hand, well, the camera on one is broken, it seems, so I wonder if the Kiosk will give me much money for those when the time comes.  And of course, those too, are outdated and outmoded - some apps won't update on those as well.

If you are expecting a big payday from these Kiosks, think again.  But on the other hand, $14 is $14 more than I had before.  So I can't complain.