If you want to get rid of an old cell phone, Verizon Wireless could have a deal for you. Verizon has started a new program aimed at letting you dispose of a phone in an environmentally sound way while also benefiting community programs and giving credit toward a new phone or your phone bill.
Depending on the phone and what condition it's in, you might (or might not) get more for it financially by selling it on eBay. Yet Verizon's new Trade-In Program is actually an offshoot of Verizon's HopeLine, a nine-year program to help domestic violence victims by providing them with free refurbished cell phones and calling minutes.
How to Take Part
To participate in the Trade-In Program, you need to first visit Verizon's trade-in appraisal site and enter the make, model, and condition of your phone.
You'll be asked whether the display works, whether the display is cracked, and whether the phone could make outbound calls with a calling plan.
If your old phone has an appraisal value, Verizon will tell you the amount. If you want to return the device, you'll be given the option of either receiving a Verizon Wireless gift card for the appraisal value or donating the phone directly to HopeLine.
If either case, you'll then be sent a postage-paid envelope for returning the device. Phones with no appraisal value can still be returned for recycling, anyhow.
Even before the start of the Trade-In program, Verizon's HopeLine had already collected over 7 million phones, distributed more than 90,000 of them to domestic violence victims, and awarded more than $7.9 million in cash grants to groups working to stop domestic violence, according to a statement from Verizon Wireless.
Verizon had also "properly disposed" of almost 1.6 million used cell phones and kept more than 200 tons of electronic waste and batteries from being dumped into landfills.
Verizon has posted a video about HopeLine on YouTube.
Is This for You (and Your Phone)?
I went up to Verizon's trade-in appraisal site this week to get a quick look at how it works. You can get an instant appraisal on phone models already listed on the site.
For other phone models, though, you need to enter the phone's model, make and condition, and then wait to receive appraisal information from Verizon by e-mail.
I got instant appraisals this week on three phones, in various conditions. An Sanyo feature phone in good shape, the 6780BLU, was appraised by Verizon at $7.00. Appraisal values were higher for two current smartphones in good condition, the RIM BlackBerry Storm2 ($15.40) and the Motorola Droid X ($43.40).
Yet a hypothetical Storm2 with a cracked and broken screen yielded an appraisal of $12.40. A Droid X with no outbound calling abilities netted $10.00.
In a comparison check on eBay, the Sanyo 6780BLU didn't show up for sale at all. Asking prices ranged from about $170 to $310 for the Storm2 and $250 to $450 for the Droid X.
There could be some other advantages to exchanging your phone with Verizon instead, aside from helping out some very worthy causes. You'd be spared the hassles of setting up accounts with both eBay and Paypal, taking a photo of the phone, posting a listing, and waiting for the buyer to pay.
Moreover, phones with dysfunctional screens or no outbound calling capabilities are probably unlikely to sell on eBay for much, if anything at all.
Strictly from a financial remuneration standpoint, the new Exchange Program would seem to make the most sense for users looking to dispose of either an older feature phone or a new but broken smartphone.
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