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How to make money on Ebay - selling broken electronics!

Updated on March 20, 2013

Mommy May's Broken Item Emporium

Yep...all the keys are gone and the screen is broken!
Yep...all the keys are gone and the screen is broken!
Missing pieces...
Missing pieces...
Injured at the gym
Injured at the gym
Frayed wires!
Frayed wires!

I am no "techie"

I will be the the first to admit that I am no "techie". I have some moderate repair skills and have repaired a wii, can diagnose computer issues (thanks to software), and can sometimes fix buttons and gadgets but once the screen breaks...I am out. Until recently, I had been saving items with injuries beyond my repair expertise thinking that one day I may be able to get them repaired and turned for a profit. So....having some extra time...I took the whole lot to a computer repairman. I had a few good quality cell phones with busted screens, 3 laptops needing screen repair, and a few miscellaneous gaming devices needing new cords. I was shocked to hear the total for repair was over $1000! WHAT?!!? No way would I get my money out of these items and some he said were beyond repair. He then proceeded to offer me $200 to purchase my lot of items. This prompted a major "I told you so" from my husband. "See, I told you they were worthless and I should have trashed them when you weren't home" , he said. A little perturbed, I kept thinking...if this guy was willing to buy them, then there has to be value. He wouldn't buy them just to be nice, he was a businessman. With a renewed sense of entrepreneurial energy, I decided to try one more avenue. Sorry hubby....I still had one trick up my sleeve.

I am noticing more and more that not just small electronic stores are selling used items but even large retailers are offering "refurbished" items. On sites like Best Buy, Sears, Walmart, etc, you can find electronic items for sale that have previously been someone else's broken items. So...if they sell it....they must need to buy it, right? Enter EBAY my Ebay Addiction!

I did the only thing that I knew to do.I went to Ebay and searched broken electronics..much to my surprise...Ebay has a LARGE market for broken items and they weren't just listed...THEY WERE SELLING! So, I quickly began posting each item in my pile with honest descriptions of the technical issues or needed repairs. In just 2 weeks, I accumulated about $800 in just broken electronics! My husband was shocked (and had no trouble spending the money) and I was ecstatic. ...I had found my new side business. I was going to flip busted electronics!

Here are 5 BROKEN items I have sold and made money from on Ebay!

1. Broken Laptops - I have sold three of them. One was missing ALL of the keys thanks to my children and they both had screen damage. While they went for various amounts....I did get about $200 for them in total.

2. Broken gaming controllers - This was a big money maker for me. Some were wireless items that simply stopped working and some ad cords that had begun to fray so were unusable. Again, I received varying amounts but even the "off brand" less desirable ones sold for $2...better quality - almost $15 a piece.

3. Cell Phones - My biggest moneymaker. I had quite a few around the house. Some were in working condition and others had screen damage. I had two that were within 2 years old that had busted screens that brought in a large chunk of cash. One with a busted screen sold for over $150! IF you have an older cell that isn't selling like hotcakes online and you just want to get a few bucks...try USell. They will make you an offer for your phone and they will send you the free shipping packet too. Upon receipt, they will make a deposit into paypal. You will usually get more from paypal but some of the older models won't sell quickly on Ebay. Its just an alternative! TIP - since you are listing these as "broken- for parts only" you can sell the charger separately to get a few extra bucks!

4. Broken tablets - Sadly, I had a few of these. I decided this Christmas to get each child one of the smaller 4 inch tablets. They were about the size of a cell phone BUT I had hoped that the investment would save me from having more #3s (broken phones) to sell! So I found a brand (to remain nameless) and within a few weeks...all of them were non-working due to various issues. 1 was the day after Christmas so it was easily returned. The others slowly declined until they went to white screens with no way of unlocking them. Online suggestions were crap and I decided it was better to post them. On each one, I got about 25% of the price I paid for them. Not a great profit but at least it was some money back!

5. Children's learning items - think leap frog explorers, learning pads, etc. These weren't really broken but certainly missing accessories. They all sold for more than I would have gotten at a garage sale so I was happy.

So that's it. I showed my husband that the items we had fought over did have value to someone who was more technologically inclined than I was. Now, it was up to someone else to repair and flip the items for a profit. I may not be a "techie" but I am an entrepeneurer and now appreciate those who are "techies" even more...they love buying my used stuff!

Please share if you have sold a broken item on Ebay and what your experience was like!

Want to learn more about Selling on Ebay

  • Interested in the stranger items sold on Ebay - HERE are 10
  • Want to see if a store is right for you - CLICK HERE


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    • profile image


      4 years ago

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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Your answer shows real ineigleltnce.

    • profile image

      Jaharon Barr 

      4 years ago

      Hey I need to talk to you about all these things I'm working hard to make money my email is my number is 803-288-2277 thank you

    • ThelmaC profile image

      Thelma Raker Coffone 

      5 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA

      I had a friend give me a ziplock bag full of old cell phones that she was going to throw away. I have a pretty good little eBay business going so I decided to give a try listing them. This was after my husband thought I was nuts to bring home another bag of junk! (These guys just don't get it!) The old cell phones sold pretty quickly. Not for a lot of money but more than enough to cover my time spent listing them. This is a great article. I enjoy following you.

    • Mommymay profile imageAUTHOR

      Heather May 

      5 years ago from Ohio

      Thank you innerspin for reading and for sharing! I am addicted to Ebay so much that my children will take off shoes and say "mommy, these are tight, better Ebay them!" Its addicting!

    • innerspin profile image

      Kim Kennedy 

      5 years ago from uk

      Recycling at its best! Great information, I'll wait for the next free listing day to give it a whirl. Voted up and shared.

    • grandmapearl profile image

      Connie Smith 

      5 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

      Is there a market for old dinosaur computers, monitors and so on? I have 3 of these that my husband insists are worth keeping for some strange reason. I'd much rather sell them and gain the space!

      Thanks for all this super info. Voted Up+++ also pinned

      ;) Pearl

    • Mommymay profile imageAUTHOR

      Heather May 

      5 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks for reading luisj305, you are so right! My husband actually was upset when I pulled some of these items out of the trash! I won when I made money!

    • luisj305 profile image


      5 years ago from Florida

      These are great tips for someone who has no idea what to do with some of the broken things they have lying around the house.

      I love selling broken electronics because it's almost like turning garbage into cash.

    • Mommymay profile imageAUTHOR

      Heather May 

      5 years ago from Ohio

      It is still one of my best money-makers! Broken controllers, cell phones, and laptops ago quickly! Most of my friends pitch theirs so I am going to start dumpster diving at their houses! Thanks for reading rajanjolly!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Now this is interesting. I've been toying with the idea of selling on Ebay and this is wonderful info that is very useful as well. Thanks for sharing. I have a lot of broken things that need to be discarded.

      Voted up and useful.

    • Mommymay profile imageAUTHOR

      Heather May 

      5 years ago from Ohio

      my pleasure radcliff! the way i figure it.... even if its just a buck or two per item, its money you didn't have. I actually found controllers to game systems we ave never mom's fault! They all sold! let me know how it goes!

    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 

      5 years ago from Hudson, FL

      It's always fun being right! lol

      I don't think I've ever thrown out a cellphone. I'm not a pack rat, but I thought that I should donate them or something but never did. Now I have a big bag of them. Thanks for the suggestion--I'm going to check eBay out and see if I can make a few bucks! I also have a couple of game controllers for a broken PS2 (I unfortunately got rid of the PS2 a couple years ago, but kept the controllers for some weird reason). I'll be on the lookout for these items now, though! Thanks again! -Liz

    • Mommymay profile imageAUTHOR

      Heather May 

      5 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks Keeley Shea! Please let me know hoe it goes!!!

    • Keeley Shea profile image

      Keeley Shea 

      5 years ago from Norwich, CT

      Excellent Article! I was wondering about this and I have an old laptop, monitor, and hard drive that I will give a try! Voted up and useful!


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