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How to Sell Your Tablet / iPad Guide: How to Avoid Getting Trade-In Stung

feature-image-tablet-pricesIf you use a tablet as your ‘computer on the side’ for work, gaming, or general everyday use, it can get outdated quickly. It’s always good to cash in and offset the new devices cost when you upgrade. In our mystery shopper guide below, we explore where you get the most money to selling it privately, online or instore.

We’re all guilty of upgrading our electronics and dumping the old one in a drawer as a ‘backup.’ But let’s be real here, how often do you really use them, they eventually end up being worth as much as a candy bar and getting tossed in the garbage (taking 100+ years to biodegrade). The good news is that there are people and places that will pay good money for your old tablet, even if it’s cracked, non-functional or took an unintentional swim!

The problem is, over the past 10-15 years, the choices have spiraled out of control, with options to sell online, instore, kiosks, carriers, manufacturers, and classified ads. Quite frankly, we haven’t got time to check all those options, and you’ll just blindly choose one if it sounds fair. In our mystery shopper, we found out what everyone is paying in each avenue so you can avoid getting ripped off.




What to do Before Selling Your iPad / Tablet

Before we get started, it’s important to mention that when you’re selling your old iPad or tablet for cash, you’re potentially handing it over to a stranger. In most cases, this will be a trustworthy company, but for your sanity, I recommend you make sure your personal data is cleaned (which include log-ins, photos, and messages).

No matter the path you choose in this guide, here are some quick tasks you’ll want to take care of before you part with your tablet.

Make sure you do the following:

  • Backup your device (if you haven’t already transferred to a new one)
  • Factory reset your old device (also cloud services)
  • Take out any storage expansions like MicroSD cards.

Both tasks are straightforward to do, if you’re unsure of how to do a factory reset on your device to remove personal data and cloud services – follow our guide here – You’ll be all clear in minutes.

Mystery Shopper: Where to Sell Your Tablet / iPad

Below we explore the different values you can get online, through your carrier and classified ads. Depending on where you live, chances are there will be a variety of locations nearby where you can sell your old tablet instore too.

Our test subject:

  • Device: Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2nd Gen)
  • Storage size: 512GB
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi + 4G
  • Condition: Working / No Damage

Mystery Shopper: The Winners:

Tablet Personal Sale Winner:

Facebook Marketplace

Selling your old iPad or tablet though Facebook Marketplace was the option that brought in the most money out of all the services online and instore. This is because you’re cutting out the middle man, no one is taking a share of the value of your phone, and you will only need to negotiate the right price.

If you’ve never used it before, it’s not that difficult if you have a Facebook account – go online and add some photos, model name, and description of the tablets condition then set your price.

Pros:

  • Easy to use and you set your own pricing
  • Facebook doesn’t charge ANY fees
  • Arrange collection when and where you want with the buyer

Cons:

  • Sale timescale varies on buyers in your area
  • Have to meet someone in person to make the sale
  • Buyers will try to haggle the price down, be strong!

Learn more on how it works here

Tablet Trade-in Service Winner:

BankMyCell

Out of all the tablet trade-in options below, we found BankMyCell offered the most money for selling iPads and tablets to a company, rather than a person via classified ads.
The typical process with these electronic buyback stores is very straightforward. You visit the website and find your device based on name, storage size, condition, and carrier (if applicable). Then you pick a payment option between PayPal, Direct Deposit or check, chose if you want all the FREE shipping kit sent to your address or you want to print a label and send yourself. After 5 minutes that’s all done, and you just have to send it to get paid – if you print off your own label, you could have a 3-5 day turnaround for payment too.

Pros:

  • Up front prices and zero fees
  • FREE shipping and returns
  • Fixed payment timescales when you send your device

Cons:

  • Get paid less than classified ad sites
  • Can’t negotiate on prices

Learn more on how it works here

OUR MYSTERY SHOPPER:

Personal Resale though Classified Ads

Ads worked out as the best option in terms of payout, you set your very own price based on what others are selling it for, and you need to take into account fees and shipping.

By using a classified ad website, you can get people trying to negotiate, but overall, you have control over the price you sell it for. Places like Craigslist and Facebook let you list your device for the price you want with no fees. You set up your own advert with images and content then wait for people to contact you. When you both agree on the final price, you’ll meet up and sell it for instant cash.

eBay, on the other hand, is slightly different, as well as listing and shipping fees you have the option of putting a fixed ‘Buy it Now’ price or a time-dependent auction. In every case, you have the power to get more money than any other method of tablet trade-in providing someone is there wanting your device.

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WINNER: Facebook Marketplace – $650.00

With no listing fees, the iPad was available to buy used for $650, now you can expect some people to try to barter that price down, but it’s still way higher than most other options.

Craigslist – $619.00

Craigslist had the iPad listed by local sellers for the next best price. It’s worth noting that typically you set your own price, but you must take into account that if you go to high, you probably won’t get a buyer anytime soon.

eBay – $497.43

The actual listing price for the iPad was $599. However you need to take into account all the fees involved, for example  -$59.9 eBay fee, -$17.67 PayPal fee, -$24 shipping cost, there are plenty of free calculators floating about online, so find one and estimate what you’ll get back.

* iPad Pro 12.9 (2nd Gen) prices taken on 06/26/19

Online Tablet Trade-In Services

Typically online trade-in stores offered $57-$210 less than classified ads but $45 – $185 more than our other options: Carrier, retail store or kiosk. If you don’t want all the hassle of creating adverts, responding, and meeting people, selling to an independent trade-in store is 100% the way to go.

Stand-alone online trade-in stores typically offer prices for smartphones, tablets, smart watches, consoles, and other small electronics. Out of all the avenues we found, they usually came back as the second best option in terms of prices offered, but offer the least hassle.

You get an up-front estimate of the value of your device that depends on your own evaluation of its model and condition. Once the store receives the tablet, they will inspect it, if it matches what you said upfront in terms of model and condition, you get paid. If not, they’ll reevaluate the quote and you can either accept it or get the device back for free – minimizing any risk.

Payment is typically through PayPal, Direct Deposit, check, or gift card.

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WINNER: BankMyCell – $440.00

Rated 5-star on SiteJabber, BankMyCell operates a little like a comparison site getting prices from several stores and displaying the top price you can get along with the options each store provides.

TheWhizCells – $410.00

The second best deal we found, TheWhizCells has over 1,000 reviews giving it 8.52 / 10 on ResellerRatings making it a pretty safe place to send your old tablets.

BuyBackWorld – $400.00

BuyBackWorld has been around for a long time, rated 8.61 / 10 on ResellerRatings, it boasts one of the most extensive ranges of electronics to trade in around.

It’s Worth More – $400.00

With a stunning 9.19 rating on ResellerRatings, It’s Worth More offers reasonable values for iPads and tablets with bulk trade-in options too.

Gazelle – $321.00

One of the oldest trade-in options on the block, Gazelle may not always offer the best prices, but as a well-known company, it has a good reputation.

* iPad Pro 12.9 (2nd Gen) prices taken on 06/26/19

Retail Tablet Trade-In Services

Typically retail stores only offered store credit and $45-$120 LESS than you can get via online trade-in stores and $122-$275 via classified ads. Stores are clearly ONLY a good option if your tablet is really, really old and not worth much.

With the following retail options, you can visit a store or kiosk and trade-in your old device, which works out really well if you’re looking for a quick sale and not too worried about losing some value on your device, e.g. if you know it’s old and not worth much anyway.

The key benefit is the device is evaluated on the spot, so you get an instant offer. In most cases, you’ll be paid right there without shipping the tablet or meeting a random person off classified ad websites.

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WINNER: Best Buy – $375 – Store Credit ONLY

  • Apple – $367 – Store Credit ONLY
  • Amazon – $350 – Store Credit ONLY
  • Walmart – $315 – Store Credit ONLY
  • GameStop – $310 – Store Credit ONLY
  • Staples – $300 – Store Credit ONLY

Eco ATM is a kiosk in shopping malls and stores that offers on the spot trade-ins, they didn’t offer a price for the iPad we chose, so instead we’ve compared it to the iPad Pro 10.5 64GB (1st gen)

  • Eco ATM – $145 – CASH

For some perspective, this is the value versus the leading trade-in option and carrier offering cash BankMyCell – $300.00 / Verizon – $225

* iPad Pro 12.9 (2nd Gen) prices taken on 06/26/19

Carrier Tablet Trade-In Services

Typically carriers offered the lowest values, $110-$185 LESS than you can get via online trade-in stores and $167 – $330 through classified ads. Also, they are generally via store credit too, so you get less to spend in only one place.

If you purchased your tablet through a carrier on Wi-Fi and 4G, chances are they have their own buyback services where you can sell your tablet. The process works exactly the same as stand-alone online trade-in stores. Alternatively, you can visit a store to process the trade-in. The most important aspect of this that you need to keep in mind is that they don’t always offer cash payouts. If you don’t want credit to spend on an upgrade, stay clear.

Below are carriers that have been marked for offering cash vs. credit to you don’t have a wasted journey.

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WINNER: T-Mobile – $330.00 – Store Credit ONLY

T-Mobile will buyback old devices for the most money; however, it’s with store credit only. You can redeem this credit on their products online or instore.

RUNNER UP: Verizon – $325.00 – Cash AND Store Credit

Verizon has been labeled a runner up here as they came in a close second but give you the option of store credit and cash, so you can spend your earnings how you want.

AT&T – $285.00 – Store Credit ONLY

AT&T offered a fairly low amount for the iPad Pro. Again, this would only be via credit to get used on their goods and services online or instore.

Sprint – $255.00 – Store Credit ONLY

Sprint was by far the lowest offer coming in at $185 less than the top trade-in offer of $440 from BankMyCell AND $395 less than Facebook marketplace at $650. They also only provide credit to be used on their goods and services online or instore.

* iPad Pro 12.9 (2nd Gen) prices taken on 06/26/19

In conclusion

Well, that’s a wrap for the mystery shopper section! I hope you found the differences in what’s offered as surprising as I did, based on these prices it’s clear that carrier buyback options are not worth looking into.

In fact, there was a -51.13% difference in prices between all the trade-in store options, which is huge, however, it’s clear that classified ads are the winner in terms of value. You need to decide what options you’re comfortable with doing now you know the difference in price.

  1. Create a classified ad and sell it yourself if you want more money and are happy making the advert and, in the case of Facebook, meeting someone in person to sell it
  2. Shipping it with the online trade-in store free kit. It does require you going out to send it, but no meeting potential weirdos and making adverts. Just keep in mind you’ll take a small hit on price.

BONUS: How to backup and delete your tablet’s data

To ensure your personal data is backed up, simply follow the steps below. This will safeguard you from losing any of your old data when you transfer to the new tablet. Of course, if you upgraded a while ago and are just selling you’ve probably already done this and can skip straight to the data deletion.

How to back up your data on Android tablets:

  • Content: Use Google Photos Backup & Sync service to save all this data
  • Data & Settings: Settings > System > Advanced > Backup > Backups (Turn on)

How to reset & delete data from your Android tablet:

  • Settings > General Management > Reset > Factory Data Reset > Reset Device

How to back up your data on iOS tablets:

  • Settings > iCloud > Backup > Turn everything on (so the sliders green) then select ‘Back Up Now’

How to reset & delete data from your iOS tablet:

  • Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings > Enter your password > Erase iPad.

How to back up your data on Windows tablet:

You have to keep in mind that all your settings and stored in your Windows account with regular backups by Microsoft. It’s your files, photos, videos and general documents that will get lost, so you need to back these up by:

  • Insert a memory stick or portable hard drive into the tablet
  • Type ‘File History’ into the tablet search box and pick file history settings.
  • Once the tablet finds your storage device, is asks if you want to backup, toggle this on and let it back up.

How to reset & delete data from your Windows tablet:

  • Hover over the Start Button and ‘right click’
  • Settings > Update and Security > Recovery.
  • Get Started > Remove Everything > Remove Files and Clean the Drive > Reset.

Looking for a new tablet to play games on? Check out our Gaming Tablet Buyer’s Guide.

Hey, I’m Brent. I’ve been building computers and writing about building computers for a long time. I’m an avid gamer and tech enthusiast, too. On YouTube, I build PCs, review laptops, components, and peripherals, and hold giveaways.

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