Men's Lifestyle Tech

Why You Should Read the Fine Print Before Selling Your iPhone to Apple, BestBuy, or Walmart

With Apple, Best Buy, Walmart, and other retailers launching smartphone buyback programs, it’s going to become easier and easier to get the best prices for your old or damaged phone. But with all of these newfound choices, how do you know if Apple or these other retailers are lowballing you on a smartphone buyback offer – or if you’re getting the price you should be? By reading the fine print before selling your iPhone.

One thing you should know right off the bat is what your phone’s value is in real-time. This means knowing your phone’s exact value, at this exact time, with the exact damage that it has.  When you go into an Apple, BestBuy, Walmart, or carrier store to upgrade to the new iPhone, you should go armed with knowledge and this research – know what your used phone is really worth. If you don’t, you can get a ridiculously low price – and you won’t even know it.

Why does this happen?

Because Apple’s prices don’t adjust to the market, for instance, consumers might not get the best prices. Apple basically looks at a standard rate for each phone – depending on level of damage, age of the phone, etc. These are locked in prices that don’t really changes. However, because other companies are competition-driven, the alternatives are better able to get multiple bids from vendors and get you the best price. Additionally, while some buyback programs offer cash, some retailers only offer store credit. This is a big minus for folks who don’t want to be locked into a specific store – and who want to have the freedom to use their credit wherever they wish. Other alternatives – including uSell – gives actual cash, to spend at your heart’s content.

Additionally, you may run into issues having to do with the level of your phone’s damage. iPhones are always worth money – but for some reason, Apple won’t take “wet” phones. This is a problem because water damage is pretty common. So what are folks supposed to do? Other services do allow water damage, giving users the ultimate freedom – to drop their phones in the toilet. Another limiting factor has to do with eligibility. Some retailers will only buy your phone back if you’re eligible for an upgrade. This is a problem for folks who might not meet the requirements but who still need an option to purchase a phone. This leaves many of them out in the cold. So whether you choose to use Apple’s buyback program, or the many other programs out there, like uSell, make sure you read the fine print. That way you’re always set to get the best possible deal.

To make things much easier, uSell recently created a new “uSell Current” iPhone app that determines your used phone’s value based on real-time offers from a platform of 50 professional buyers. The free app includes the following features, which can be accessed by any user in 10 seconds or less.

To download the app, just this link from your iPhone:


Nik Raman is Chief Operating Officer of, an online marketplace that helps you sell your used electronics in 3 minutes or less through a network of professional buyers who competitively bid on your gadgets.  Nik is an expert on the used iPhone industry and helps create the user experience for‘s smartphone marketplace. Nik’s path in the “re-commerce” industry began as founder of EcoSquid in 2010, an electronics trade-in and recycling aggregator that acquired in 2012.  He is graduate of Harvard Business School.