iPhones are the luxury German automobiles of the smartphone world, holding their value in the second-hand market like no other handset. But as thousands of iFans take to the auction sites and independent tech shops to get shot of their current-gen kits for cash to put towards the iPhone 4S, it's the buyers who hold the upper hand right now.
Here we'll talk you through some of the top tips to ensure you get the best price possible and look at the most hassle-free ways to turn a quick buck on your superannuated smartie.
Take your pick from Mazuma Mobile of Oompa Loompa theme tune-fame, Envirophone and Fonebank. Selling with a major company like these has a number of benefits. For a start, there's none of the uncertainty you get when dealing with an individual, who may or may not be trustworthy. Then of course, there's the fact that you know the parts from your phone are being recycled, so you're doing your bit (however little that bit is) for the environment.
The downside is that you may not get as much as you would on an auction site or a direct sale. And you might even have to make do with vouchers as part or all of your payment, tying you to a particular retailer when it comes to spending your windfall.
A quick glance reveals hundreds of each iPhone 4 variant currently up for grabs at eBay UK. Even so, we’d still say that you can still anticipate at least £50-odd in return than if you went through a recycling site.
But as with selling anything through eBay, there are pitfalls and caveats a-plenty. Not least being the eBay fees. That’s the listing charge, as well as 10 per cent of whatever you get for your handset. Then there’s paypal fees to consider, too.
More irksome still, though, are the bogus buyers and sharks that you might have to deal with. Not least the ranks of shyster sellers who table a fake bid to get your handset off the market to cut competition and help them get a better return.
Getting your phone ready for resale
You wouldn’t dream of selling a high-end car without getting a valet in to give an Alpine Fresh once-over. The same goes for a high-end smartphone.
As the primary point of interaction, touchscreens get very grubby indeed. But tread carefully when cleaning your iPhone 4’s high-density retina display. Apple recommends avoiding cleaning products, especially chemical ones, and simply wiping the screen with a damp lint-free cloth.
You should also ensure you’ve reset your handset to its original factory settings. Unless of course you don’t mind those compromising pictures of you and your former lover cropping up on the internet.
Thinking inside the box
Keeping the box is the first rule of reselling. Fail to do so, and you'll learn a painful lesson to learn. Want proof? Try everyone who ever ripped open their childhood Star Wars toys with nary a thought still kicks themselves for it decades later.
With the iPhone, it’s not that the packaging necessarily makes it worth more per se. Rather, it’s that including the box sends a message to the buyer that you’re the kind of trustworthy person who’ll have cared for their handset.
Timing is everything
According to US tech resale site NextWorth, in the immediate aftermath of the launch of the iPhone 4 prices for the 3G model slid ten per cent. If you were trying to offload your 3GS, things were even worse, with the average sale falling by a sixth.
The dip was down to a welter of older iPhones hitting the market simultaneously, as legions of iFans decided en masse that it was time to upgrade. The appearance of a new must-have iPhone also made the older-gen edition suddenly seem a lot less desirable to people who would previously have paid top-dollar.
This year aside, iPhone product refreshes happen regular as clockwork in June. With this in mind, if you can, you should be advertising your handset at least a couple of months before indications from tech sites that a new iPhone is on the way filters down to the mainstream news providers.
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