Today’s electronic gadgets are constantly being updated with newer, faster models. To keep up with the latest tech trend, many consumers are tempted by retailer buy-back programs. Before you opt-in to a buy-back program for your cellphone, computer or even TV, the Better Business Bureau provides the following points to consider:

Buy-back programs can provide a sense of insurance. Buy-back programs essentially guarantee a resale value, meaning they act as insurance against loss of value. But like any insurance policy, its true value can become nominal and hard to define. Make sure to read the fine print of any agreement as many buy-back options have conditions and constraints that could ultimately keep you from being able to sell back your used gadget.

Remember, the program favors the retailer. In exchange for your old gadget, your return will often come in the form of a gift card, which means you are locked into the issuing retailer for your next technology purchase.  While sales tax rules vary from state to state and buy-back programs vary from program to program, you are the one responsible for paying the tax. By paying the tax once when you buy the item and again when you return it, and then again when you use the gift card, you may end up paying triple the tax in the end.

Buy backs are not ideal for the forgetful or the disorganized. If you haven’t saved your original receipts, power cords and manuals, you could be at a loss or your payout could be less than expected. Many buy-back programs insist all the original items be brought back to the store at the time of the exchange.
Mobile phone contracts do not end when you sell back a phone. When you purchase a new phone and add the retailer’s buy-back program, you can resell your phone back to the retailer for the agreed upon dollar amount. However, your provider will continue to bill you for the duration of the original contract.

You can compromise your identity. Many electronic items such as your smart phone or laptop can hold a great deal of personal information. If this information gets into the wrong hands, your identity and information about others could be compromised. Be sure to fully wipe out all personal data before reselling to a retailer.

You could get more for your electronic gadgets elsewhere. Reselling electronics is not new. Many consumers use online auction or classifieds to sell their gadgets. In many instances, you could get more for your electronics by using these sites rather than opting for a retailer’s buy-back program.

Start With Trust. For trustworthy consumer tips and information, visit or call 970-484-1348 or 800-564-0371.

More From K99