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Amazon expands trade-in service to include smartphones and consoles - here's how it compares

You can now trade-in used smartphones and consoles on Amazon in return for vouchers to spend at the online retailer. It's an expansion of the scheme, which has until now only been available on Amazon's own brands, such as Echo, Kindle, and Ring. 

We take a look at how the new service, which launched this week, works and how it compares to other trade-in sites.

In the meantime, if you're planning to buy something from Amazon, check out our 30+ Amazon buying tricks, including short-lived codes, a free delivery loophole and how to share Prime. You can also take a look at our Amazon deals page for discounts on Kindle books, Prime and more. 

How Amazon's expanded trade-in service works

To use Amazon's trade-in service you will need to have an account, which is free to set-up on Amazon's website. You don't need to be a paid-for Prime customer. You then need to complete the following steps:

  • Select the device you'd like to trade in and answer any questions about its condition. Here, you're limited to trading in items Amazon accepts, but this does now include a range of smartphones from the likes of Apple, Google and Samsung, as well as various consoles from Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony. 

    Once you've entered the details, you'll be given an estimated quote, as well as details on how much more or less you could expect to get from your final quote after the device has been checked. To be paid the highest value for your trade-in, your device must be in good condition with all features working.

    When it comes to a smartphone, for example, it must power on, hold a charge, and not power off unexpectedly. It mustn't have any breaks, dents, cracks, missing buttons, or other defects beyond normal wear and tear, and mustn't have any water damage, corrosion, or significant wear marks. If your device doesn't meet these criteria you may be offered less or your item may not be accepted. 
  • If you're happy with your initial quote, send your device to Amazon for evaluation with the free printed shipping label provided. If Amazon accepts your item and you're happy to proceed, you'll be given a free printed shipping label but you will need to provide the packaging yourself and be able to print the label. Once received, Amazon will confirm how much it will pay you. You can reject this offer and request for your item to be returned for free. 
  • If you're happy with Amazon's final quote, your account will be credited with the voucher. You will then have ten years to redeem it. Of course, the downside compared to some other trade in schemes is that your voucher can only be spent online at Amazon.  

Depending on the condition of trade-ins, Amazon will either recondition and resell items for a reduced price on its 'Amazon Second Chance' shop, or it will recycle them. 

How Amazon's trade in service compares

The table below shows how Amazon's expanded trade-in service compares with major tech trade-in competitors' CEX and Music Magpie. Based on the products we've selected below, Amazon was beaten every time. However, while this is only a snapshot it highlights the importance of checking a variety of trade-in sites before selecting the best quote.

The amount trade-in firms will pay for used tech

Product (i) Amazon CEX Music Magpie

Apple iPhone 11

(64GB unlocked)

£194 (Amazon voucher)

£222 (cash)

£306 (Cex voucher)

£265 (cash)

Samsung Galaxy S20

(128GB unlocked)

£171 (Amazon voucher)

£247 (cash)

£306 (Cex voucher)

£340 (cash)

Nintendo Switch £65 (Amazon voucher)

£112 (cash)

£160 (Cex voucher)

£135 (cash)

PlayStation 4 (500GB) £63 (Amazon voucher)

£98 (cash)

£140 (Cex voucher)

£95 (cash)

Xbox One (500GB) £65 (Amazon voucher)

£79 (cash)

£113 (Cex voucher)

£70 (cash)

(i) Based on the device being fully working with minor cosmetic damage. 

What to watch out for before you trade-in tech

Before you trade-in your old tech, there are a number of key points to watch out for: 

  • Always compare trade-in prices first. We've used CEX and Music Magpie above but you may be able to get more on other sites. Compare and RecycleCompare My Mobile* and Sell My Mobile* all compare the best trade-in prices for your tech across a number of different firms - just do your research on the company before committing. 

  • Quotes are never set in stone. Any quotes shown on trade-in websites are never set in stone and they could decrease or increase depending on the deemed condition of your tech once it's arrived and has been evaluated. So if you'd like the option to have your goods returned free of charge once they've been evaluated, make sure the firm in question offers this before sending in your item.

  • You may be able to get more bang for your buck by accepting vouchers rather than cash. As seen with CEX above, you may be quoted more if you exchange used goods for vouchers instead of cash but consider whether you'd spend them at the desired retailer first and weigh up the risks - see our Gift card and vouchers guide for more info on your rights.  

If you're looking to sell your old mobile phone, see our Sell your Old Mobiles guide for more information on how to bag the best deal.

What does Amazon say?

An Amazon spokesperson said: "This service aims to make it easier for Amazon customers to trade-in their old devices. We work with multiple trade-in partners on the service, with these partners setting the trade-in values.

"Trade-in values are dependent on a variety of factors (e.g. phone condition) and may vary on a case-by-case basis. We are all about making our customers happy, we're constantly looking to improve our service and will continue to work with our trade-in partners to offer the best price possible."

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