Taking the time to sell your old smartphone on Craigslist, Swappa, or on eBay can be time-consuming and frustrating, which is why instant trade-in and buyback programs are quite popular. eBay is the latest to join the fun with what they’re calling “eBay Instant Selling.”
It works just like any other buyback program where you enter in some details about your phone and they’ll pay you money for your device when you ship it to them. However, there are a couple of caveats with eBay’s own program.
You have to list your item first, which involves the typical listing process for any other eBay auction listing, like uploading photos and providing some details. It feels odd that you’re “listing” the item for sale when really you’re just filling out a form, but maybe they’ll polish that aspect of the experience up soon. After that, though, you can click on “Get Voucher.” Or at least, in theory, you should be able to. Despite the phone we listed appearing on the list of approved phones (which you can check out here), the system didn’t work for us and just ground to a halt at that point.
Per eBay, the phone has to be either unlocked or compatible with Verizon and AT&T. Plus, it can only be a Samsung Galaxy S7 to S9+, and an iPhone 6S 16GB through iPhone X 256GB. However, T-Mobile, Sprint, Google Pixel and select LG devices will be eligible sometime next month. As we noted, however, even with an eligible phone, however, things are running a little rough in the system at the moment.
Even if you get your phone listed with no hiccups there’s a final caveat: eBay won’t give you straight-up cash for your phone, but instead will give you eBay credit, which can only be used to purchase stuff on eBay. If you already use eBay a lot, then this probably isn’t a huge deal but it’s pretty problematic if you want that cash to go buy a brand new phone with.
The good news is that it appears eBay gives you a bit more cash than other trade-in programs. Gazelle, for example, offered me $75 for my 64GB iPhone 6s, while eBay says I could get up to $127. While it’s good they’re offering more than other resellers, that’s still way less than what I could sell it for myself because that model of iPhone can easily sell for $180 or so.