There are a million different ways to sell your old phone before you pick up something shiny, new, and likely much more expensive than your former device. While the classic advice is to just “eBay your phone" you have two options if you want to sell a smartphone on the auction giant.
You can put it up for auction the same way you’ve been doing since you offloaded your Beanie Baby collection, or you can give eBay’s new “Instant Selling” program a try.
If your older smartphone is eligible — eBay has a huge FAQ and online selling wizard you can use to figure out if it is — then eBay will buy your device directly. (Technically, you’re selling it to CExchange, but eBay is facilitating the deal.)
You input your device’s specifics, indicate its condition, detail what accessories you still have, and eBay will quote you a price. Accept the deal, and you’ll send the device in for inspection, hoping that CExchange agrees with your assessment. You’ll get an eBay voucher to use on the service immediately, however, which is a nice touch. Waiting for your “cash” via other services can be annoying.
Your eBay voucher limits you to, well, eBay, so it’s not going to be as good as getting hard cash (or a digital payment of cash) for your device. Still, if you eBay a lot — or if the deal is right — you can do a pretty decent job by sacrificing your device to an eBay Instant Sale.
I took a look at a few phones that are eligible for eBay’s service, and here’s how eBay’s offers match up against other selling services you can use. (To note: You’ll have to buy a shipping label to use eBay’s service, and you’ll also get hit with a 10 per cent final payment fee. These prices don’t reflect that, or other fees charged by other providers. You can never escape the fees.)
Apple iPhone X
The specs: 256GB, unlocked, space grey, CDMA + GSM, used, excellent condition, all original accessories
eBay Instant Selling: $1,271
A normal eBay auction: probably around $1,000 - $1,500
Amazon trade-in: Not available
Apple trade-in: $684
Summary: You can roll the dice by throwing your iPhone X up for auction on eBay, and you might get a bit more, but you also might not. You probably won’t be able to clear $1,000+ for an iPhone X right now. EBay’s Instant Voucher aren’t a bad deal, especially since you’re guaranteed a sale.
Apple iPhone 8
The specs: 64GB, unlocked, space grey, CDMA + GSM, used, excellent condition, all original accessories
eBay Instant Selling: $707
A normal eBay auction: probably $800 - $1,000
Summary: If you’re looking to part with your older iPhone, then you're not going to get much better than this. The older a phone is, the lower the price drops and eBay is one of the few sites still offering a decent deal on the iPhone 8.
Google Pixel 2
The specs: Unlocked, 128GB, black, used, excellent condition, all original accessories
eBay Instant Selling: $649
A normal eBay auction: $800 - $1,200
Summary: I’d probably try a normal eBay auction. Even at the low end, you’ll probably still make close to what you’d get from an Instant Voucher — and you won’t be stuck with “eBay bucks.”
Samsung Galaxy S9
The specs: Unlocked, 64GB, black, used, excellent condition, all original accessories
eBay Instant Selling: $709
A normal eBay auction: $800 - $1,399
Summary: This one’s tricky. I couldn’t narrow in on a good selling price for the Samsung Galaxy S8 on eBay, because the spread is huge. The safest best would be with the eBay Instant Selling for a quicker sell if you need the money now.
Is eBay’s Instant Selling program a good deal?
It’s nice to have a guaranteed sale, since you can never truly know what your older smartphone might sell for — higher, great! lower, bad! — if you go the eBay auction route. Giving your device straight to eBay won’t make you rich, but you also won’t get upset if your auction doesn’t go according to plan.
If you’re looking to sell a newer device, you probably won’t be able to use eBay’s Instant Selling program. Of course, if you’re already looking to ditch your iPhone XR or Pixel 3, you should go to the store and really try out your next big smartphone purchase before you buy it.
I’d avoid more established trade-in services, like Apple’s, or third-party trade-in services, unless you don’t want your cash tied to eBay’s platform. That’s the one obvious downside of eBay’s Instant Voucher program, but it’s not that big a deal if you’re going to turn around and use that credit for a brand-new smartphone (via eBay auction). You can also research plenty of other trade-in services, like your smartphone’s carrier, to see if you’ll get a better deal.