• Lesley

How to: always upgrade to the newest tech

Updated: Sep 30, 2019


This post may contain affiliate links.

In case you hadn’t picked up on this yet, I am a huge tech nerd. I love tech, I love advances in tech and I love playing with the newest gadgets.

I am particularly biased towards Apple for several reasons: I find that they have the best user experience, I own Apple stock and they are the easiest brand to resell.

The biggest reselling victory I have ever experienced with Apple was selling an iPhone that my husband had recently drowned in body sweat for $200 on eBay. The thing wouldn’t even turn on. I do realize that there is a chance that the person who bought it stole a lot of personal data. More likely, the person buying it was going to repurpose it for repairs.

I once had a guy come to my apartment to repair my shattered iPhone screen for around $120. I found out that most of that cost was the price of the replacement screen. Because of this, companies or individuals who perform iPhone repairs often buy broken phones on eBay in order to save on parts for repairs. Rarely do they care about your data. That does not mean that you shouldn’t wipe your device before selling just in case.

Pro tip: the first time you shatter your iPhone screen (by, say, dropping it in the middle of the street and then watching a cab drive over it), you should always go to the Apple store with a very sad face. Unless the policy has changed over the last couple years, they will usually trade in your phone once in your life. After that, you will have to pay.

That $200 for a broken iPhone is not the most money I have made off of eBay, but it was definitely the most I’ve gotten for something that doesn’t work. Selling for parts on eBay is not a problem, as long as you are honest.

My other most satisfying maneuver on eBay was selling my 2nd generation Apple Watch, plus an old Nano (pre-bluetooth) and two unopened original iPhone headphones for a total of $331. I then purchased the 3rd generation Apple Watch with LTE for $399 ($426 after sales tax). In my mind, I “bought” the 3rd generation Apple Watch for less than $100, and the upgrade was fully worth it. Of course, eBay has fees, which they invoice for later, which is sort of a bummer.

Of course, eBay sounds like a lot of work to some people. Fortunately, there are easier ways to pull off the same maneuver, depending on what you are working with.

Apple has its own Renew and Recycle program, but they are pretty picky on what they will reclaim. A few years ago I sent in an old MacBook Air that I had spilled wine on and an old MacBook Pro that I had spilled coffee on (are we sensing a theme?) and received in return in the ballpark of $250 in Apple Store gift cards. My original quotes had been higher, but after they tested the computers (they were both about 95% functional), they downgraded my fee. I then used those gift cards to buy a new MacBook (which my son spilled Apple Juice on).

Another quick and easy way to resell all kinds of devices, from Apple to Samsung and from phones to computers, is through a company called Gazelle.

As a quick case study: if you wanted to sell off a black 128GB iPhone 7 Plus right now, as of last night (January 14, 2018) it would have gone for around $550 on eBay or $280-$310 on Gazelle (depending on condition). If it was broken, you could still sell it to Gazelle for $75 or auction it off on eBay for around $250. The eBay fee for that $550 phone would be around $55 and the PayPal fee for selling on eBay would be around $16. Those fees do not come into play with Gazelle.

Even with fees, eBay is still the best bang for the buck. Personally, I am an eBay person because I have the routine down and I want the higher price tag. I list items using the eBay app on my phone and I ship everything USPS Priority so that I don’t waste money on packaging.

The upside of using Gazelle are numerous, though. First of all, you don’t have to worry about non-paying buyers. As eBay has evolved, I have encountered more buyers who never pay. If they don’t pay, you can easily relist your item, but you have to wait several days and go through a few steps to report a non-paying bidder. You should always report a non-paying bidder because otherwise you will get charged fees as if they paid. Also, it’s in the best interest of everyone for that bidder to get kicked off eBay.

I also once encountered a buyer of an old iPhone who tried to get me to refund half his payment by threatening to leave a negative review. I did not give into his threat, he left a negative review and I still don’t care because eBay is not my job and after six months the review fell off anyway.

However, if you don’t want to deal with real people on the other end of the purchase, then sending a device into Gazelle is a no-brainer. You simply go to their website, select the specifics of your items and classify the device as Broken, Good or Flawless. Shipping is free and if the device is worth more than $30, they will send you a box for shipping. Once they receive the device and confirm the specs and quality, they pay you immediately by check, PayPal or Amazon gift card.

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HACKS FOR TECH, HACKS FOR LIFE

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©2019 by Lesley Higgins