The Nitty Gritty on e-Cycling: Buy-Back, Take-Back, and Recycling Programs
Buy-Back ProgramsPhoto via johndan via Flickr CC
A buy-back program essentially pays you for your old device. In order for you to be able to utilize this option, though, your gadget has to be usable and still have a decent amount of life in it. Typically it works like this:
A company will have an online site through which you input information about your device, such as the model, age, condition, and so on. If they feel they'll be able to refurbish and resell it, they'll offer you a price. If you accept the price, you are usually given a mailing label to ship the item to the company. They'll then double check that the device is in the condition you said it was in, and then cut you a check. Their next step is to refurbish and resell the device for a profit. If your device turns out to be too far past it's prime and not what you indicated online, they'll skip sending you the check and recycle it for you.
Not all buy-back programs work exactly like this, but generally speaking, it's what you can expect. Some, however, can offer you a guaranteed buy-back price when you purchase your item. This is how TechForward has designed their company. Rather than wait until you want to upgrade your device, you can sign up when you purchase an item for a guaranteed time in the future when you'll sell it back for a certain amount. This kind of program does encourage excessive consumerism, but many people upgrade their devices so often anyway that it makes sense for them to go this route and be sure of a little pocket change next time they upgrade.
Esentially, buy-back programs are great for resellable gadgets that you don't want to sell yourself. You'd probably make more money on a device by selling it yourself on Craiglist or eBay, but you'd also have the hassle of having to sell it. Buy-back programs are for people who want ditching a device to be quick and easy.