How to turn your old devices into Amazon gift cards

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The holiday shopping season is right around the corner, which means stocking up on new electronics just got a whole lot more irresistible. But for every new technology you buy, another remains to gather dust, abandoned and forgotten. This may already be the case if you have old phones, tablets and other devices buried in a drawer or locked in the basement.

Unless you’re keeping them as keepsakes – or in hopes that something will increase in extrinsic value – you’re better off trading the electronics for recycling while earning some cash in return. Let me introduce you to Amazon’s trade-in program.

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How to Use Amazon’s Trade-In Program

from Amazon Exchange program is a quick and easy service that converts unwanted tech into Amazon gift cards and/or discounts. It’s also a satisfying way to recycle old electronics for free.

I will start by saying that there are many other exchange services. Many of them will likely produce higher rates of return and accept a wider variety of products and brands. The benefit of using Amazon’s program is the hassle-free shipping process, store discounts, and e-gift cards that are processed directly in your account.

If that’s okay with you, here’s a step-by-step overview of the service.

You will want to start from Amazon Trading Portal. You can either choose from a range of Amazon-owned product categories, such as Kindles, tablets, streaming media players, and Echo speakers, or search the “Other Exchange Categories” section, which includes cell phones and games.

Opening a category tab presents you with a manual search bar and a list of products currently registered to your Amazon account. Select the item(s) you wish to exchange.

The potential trade-in value (and discount) will be listed next to each product name and model.

Amazon Exchange Program Kindle Search

Screenshot by June Wan/ZDNET

Once you have selected your item(s) to redeem, a qualification questionnaire will appear for you to complete.

Questions revolve around the condition and status of your trade-in items, including if they are cracked or damaged, can hold a charge, and more depending on the type of electronics. Your answers will be evaluated during the inspection process, so you’ll want to be as honest and accurate as possible.

If an inaccuracy is found, you can choose between taking a lower estimated trade-in value for the electronics or having Amazon ship it back to your shipping address. The latter is not usually offered with exchange programs, so it is good to see.

Amazon Exchange Program Questionnaire

Screenshot by June Wan/ZDNET

Once you have completed the questionnaire, you will receive a UPS shipping label to pack and deliver your items. The prepaid label is free – for you, at least – and you’ll have 45 days to ship the package to Amazon. Be sure to use the label provided and not your own, as the tracking information is for your specific exchange.

Point: If you are shipping a smartphone, tablet or device that contains personal information, make sure it is reset and cleaned before handing it over. Also record and take photos of the state of electronics. This helps in the event of shipping damage and/or Amazon claiming that what you described was inaccurate.

Also: Exchange your old phone? Here’s how to factory reset it

Once the package has been dispatched and received, Amazon advises that it will take a maximum of 10 days to assess the item(s) and process the exchange offer, whether in the form of an Amazon gift card and/or ‘a discount. on certain products. In case of problem, you can visit the Exchange page for more information or contact an online representative for assistance.

More: Here are all the new Echo devices Amazon just announced


How long will it take to receive my trade-in credit?

According to Amazon’s trade-in program website, you should receive your trade-in credit within 10 days of your items arriving at the sorting facility.

What condition should my items be in?

Amazon’s trade-in program accepts items ranging from non-functional to undamaged. Depending on the degree of damage or condition of the electronics, you will receive less or more credit back.

How long do I have to ship my device?

You have 45 days after providing the prepaid shipping label to ship your device(s). The best course of action is to drop off the shipment at a local UPS store and request a drop off receipt to confirm delivery.

Michael N. Clark