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How to Sell an Old Cell Phone

Updated on June 19, 2013

Old Cell Phones

Make money by selling your old cell phones!
Make money by selling your old cell phones! | Source

Turn Old Cell Phone into $$$!

Many people buy a new cell phone every year or two. Rather than tossing the old cell phone into the trash or a drawer, sell it for cash. Here's how.

Assess the Condition of Your Old Cell Phone

The first step in selling your old cell phone is to assess its condition.

Does it work? Are there any cracks or blemishes? Do you have all the original pieces? Did you buy any accessories? What about the instruction manual?

Be honest when selling your old cell phone to protect your online reputation.

Destroy Your Old Cell Phone?

Before selling your old cell phone, consider destroying it instead.

Why would anyone destroy their old cell phone rather than sell it? Because old phones--like other digital devices--often contain personal information such as user names, passwords, social security numbers, financial statements, credit card info, photos, contacts, emails, etc.

Performing a factory reset and removing the SIM and any other memory card should be sufficient to prevent anyone other than a skilled forensic analyst or hacker from retrieving your personal information.

But keep in mind that even these measures may not delete all personal information stored in the cell phone, especially for Android phones. If your old cell phone contains especially sensitive information, it may be preferable to destroy it rather than sell it.

Delete Any Personal Information

The next step is to delete any personal information from your old cell phone.

Save any emails, contacts, photos, documents, files or other personal data to the phone's SIM card or your new phone, or back it up to a computer. Then delete all of this personal data from your old phone.

Perform a factory reset of your old cell phone. Consult the user manual if you don't know how.

Remove the SIM card and any other memory card from your old phone. You need to keep your SIM card since it contains your cell phone number and billing information. The new owner will need to use his or her own SIM card or get a new SIM card from his or her communications provider.

Consider if it would be preferable to destroy your old phone (see inset).

Sell it Yourself

You'll likely get a higher price for your old cell phone by selling it yourself. After all, there will be no need to split the selling price with a middleman.

eBay is a great place to sell old cell phones. List the exact name and model of the phone. Include the date of manufacture if known. (There are many thousands of combinations of make and model, so be accurate.)

Include accessories such as cases, chargers, headphones, cables, and user manuals. Also include an accurate description of cracks or blemishes. For popular cell phones, you'll likely get a higher price through an online auction. But if you want the assurance of getting a fixed price, set your price after researching the prices of similar phones being sold on eBay.

Amazon also offers a competitive marketplace for selling used cell phones. In comparison with eBay, used listings on Amazon advantageously have no listing fees.

Other marketplaces for old cell phones include Craigslist and your local newspaper.

Sell it to a Middleman

You can also sell your old cell phone through a middleman. A number of companies have sprung up to connect cell phone sellers with buyers. These companies offer conveniences to the sellers, including connections with established buyers and an upfront selling price, but at a cost that manifests itself as a lower price.

One popular site for selling old cell phones is uSell. To sell your old phone on uSell, you identify the make, model and condition of your phone. uSell contacts its network of buyers and instantly returns one or more offers to buy your phone (although some phones may not receive any offers). You choose the buyer based on the price they offer and reviews posted by other sellers. Your selected buyer then sends you a free shipping kit, and you ship the phone. Once the buyer inspects the phone to confirm the information you provided, it processes your payment. The advantage of using uSell to sell your old phone is that you instantly know the price you'll receive.

Other middlemen for selling your old cell phones include ReCellular, BuyMyTronics, Gazelle, CashOldPhone, and SellYourCell.

Old Cell Phones

What have you done with old cell phones?

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    • Tashaonthetown profile image

      Natasha Pelati 4 years ago from South Africa

      what a good idea, considering keeping up with the technology can get expensive!

    • tipstoretireearly profile image

      tipstoretireearly 5 years ago from New York

      Donating is also a great way to get rid of old cell phones. It keeps all of the toxic substances used to make phones out of the landfill. Thx for commenting!

    • hisandhers profile image

      hisandhers 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

      I definitely have a couple of old cell phones lying around that I have been wanting to sell. This Hub may have just given me the motivation I needed to stop all my procrastinating!

      I think it's worth mentioning that if all else fails, you can always donate your old cell phone. There are many organizations who give older, working models of cell phones to those in need, or wanting to start up their own business, etc. You may even get a tax receipt!

    • tipstoretireearly profile image

      tipstoretireearly 5 years ago from New York

      Along with bringing in some cash, it'll keep the old phones out of the landfill!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      We still have some old cell phones around and I need to follow you advice on how to get rid of them. Thanks for the reminder and the tips.