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USPS launches electronics recycling, pays you for old smartphones

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Detailed within a press release from the United States Postal Service, the government organization is partnering with MaxBack to launch an electronic recycling program that pays consumers for old electronics. Similar to Gazelle or Amazon’s Trade-in program, consumers can visit the USPS site and click through to the MaxBack site. Using the search field, consumers can look for their smartphone, tablet or iPod in order to see the cashback value of the device. At this point, the consumer evaluates the current condition of the device and categorizes it under a specific quality level. Identical to other electronic recycling services, the amount of money paid to the consumer is completely dependent on the current quality of the device.

maxback usps displayAccording to the site, all devices must ship with the original battery despite the working condition of the device. However, accessories like the charging cable, instruction manual or original packaging aren’t necessarily required to hit a specific value.

Once the item has been assigned a quality level, the consumer packages it up in a USPS Priority mail box and ships the device for free to MaxBack. If the consumer forgets to delete personal data from the smartphone or tablet, MaxBack performs a data wipe on all devices in addition to destroying the SIM card. 

If a device was shipped out today, MaxBack estimates that payment would be issued within five days. Upon inspection of the device, the MaxBack representatives can approve the appraised value and issue a PayPal payment immediately. However, if the MaxBack appraisers alter the value after inspection, they will issue a re-quote and ask the consumer to approve. If the consumer does not approve, the device will be shipped back to them at no extra cost. 

When comparing the services, this is the value of a locked, 8GB AT&T iPhone 4 in “good condition” across a variety of electronic recycling services. Note that the amounts listed from Target, Walmart and Amazon are not cash, but store credit in the form of an electronic gift card.

Device   USPS / Maxback      Gazelle      Target      Walmart      Amazon     
iPhone 4 8GB (AT&T) $119     $96      $150      $161.83     $144.50    

One advantage to using the service through USPS is that MaxBack kiosks will be on display at your local post office. In addition, users will be able to utilize MaxBack’s Rapidquote program to get an instant quote. Using a QR code, a consumer inside a USPS office will be able to scan the code and run through the entire MaxBack process from the mobile device. With nearby shipping materials, everything can be completed at the post office without having to go online and completing the process with a personal computer.

Beyond Paypal, consumers can choose to receive a check or Amazon gift card. However, the Amazon gift card doesn’t make much sense as a payment option if Amazon will give the consumer approximately 20 percent more store credit through its trade-in program. However, MaxBack is also partnering with the educational system and allows consumers to select a school when registering for an account. For each device that the consumer sends, MaxBack will send the selected school a ten percent commission check based off the final quoted value of the device.

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