Trade in Your Electronics for Cash

Trade in Your Electronics for Cash

By Daniel StolteUniversity Communications
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UA BookStores service center manager Mike Wang
UA BookStores service center manager Mike Wang
UA BookStores associate director Andy Bryant and service center manager Mike Wang
UA BookStores associate director Andy Bryant and service center manager Mike Wang

Been eyeing a new iPad or a nicer laptop? Keeping up with the constant upgrades in consumer electronic devices can be costly. And trying to resell your old device can be a frustrating experience: researching resale value, putting up photos and descriptions online, taking care for shipping, being on guard for fraudulent transactions.

Enter the Refreshed by Encore technology buyback program offered by the UA BookStores. Launched in June, the program pays customers for their used electronic items. Customers can get a quote online and, if they decide to trade in their item, they can choose to receive payment as a BookStores gift card or have a check mailed to them within one to two weeks.

"Obtaining a quote online is very easy," said Andy Bryant, assistant director of UA BookStores. "There is no commitment and no charge. We encourage people to test the system and see how much they can get. They might be surprised how much an item that holds little or no value to them can actually still get them."

Mike Wang, manager of the service center at the UA BookStores, has used the system himself to trade in an iPhone 4 and an iPad for the latest iPad model.

"Even a device that suffered from liquid damage or has a cracked screen has some trade-in value as opposed to it just being thrown away," he said.

Wang – who usually sells his used items on eBay or Gazelle, another popular trading site for used electronics – said the Refreshed by Encore program is especially good for those who are looking to turn their used gear into cash as quickly and easily as possible.

"With eBay for example, there are a lot of hidden costs, like the listing fee, the final auction fee, fees for using PayPal, shipping costs and so forth. Plus, you have to come up with a description, take pictures of your items, etc. If you are looking for a hassle-free method to trade in your devices, the prices you'll get through Encore are competitive."

The system works a little bit like the Kelley Blue Book for used cars, and checking for a quote is fast and easy: Prospective traders look up the device they want to sell and then indicate what kind of condition it's in. For laptops, the choices range from "like new" to "busted." The website also asks about accessories, battery condition, etc., and offers a quote and a confirmation number.

The categories come with descriptions that are straightforward and leave little room for mistakes in appraisal, Bryant said.

The customer can then choose to take the item to the bookstore, ship it directly to Encore Inc. or pass on the trade altogether. Currently, the bookstore inside the Student Union Memorial Center is the only location where customers can drop off devices and get their gift cards.

"There is no need to enter any personal information," Bryant said. "If the customer elects to go with the cash option and get paid by check, bypassing the bookstore, all negotiation is between Encore and the customer. They take care of the shipping, and if the customer is not satisfied or a price can't be agreed on, the item will be returned to the customer at no charge."

If the customer elects to go with the gift card option, he or she will receive payment immediately and all negotiations are between the UA BookStores and the customer.

"If the customer comes into the store with an item they want to trade in, they'll know immediately what the value is." Wang said.

Wang said the quotes depend on the market and the current demand, and only items that are listed on the website are eligible.

"If many people turn in a bunch of iPad 3s, the trade-in value drops accordingly. And if your product is not listed, it's either too old or people are not looking for it anymore."

For those items that are too old or too busted to have any trade-in value, the UA BookStores offers the Cyber Junk Collection event, usually held in mid-July. Customers are encouraged to drop off electronics that have run their course in the loading dock area on James E. Rogers Way on the north side of the bookstore, where associates will accept the items at no charge, bundle them up and pass them on to a recycling provider.

"The Cyber Junk program provides a clean, healthy outlet to dispose of electronics and keeps hazardous waste out of landfills," Bryant said. "Everything we collect is broken down into basic components, which are then either recycled or properly disposed of."

To learn about upcoming Cyber Junk collection events, check the UA BookStores website or sign up for the UA BookStores mailing list

Bryant pointed out that the Refreshed by Encore program is open to anyone, regardless of affiliation with the University.

"We implemented this as a sustainability endeavor," Bryant said. "Getting things recycled and sold is better than manufacturing new. We consider this a service to the community."

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