Don't forget eBay!
You're likely to earn MORE selling on eBay, even than the best results here - though it's more hassle. See the eBay selling guide.
Q. How do I send my gadget?
A. Most companies will send you a prepaid envelope or jiffy bag for you to send your gadget back in. Some only provide a postage label, so you'll have to use your own packaging. Policies differ and sometimes conditions apply, so always check on the website first.
It's also worth noting that the free postage offered by some companies, such as Mazuma Mobile, doesn't cover non-delivery in case anything goes wrong in transit. For more expensive items it may be worth paying for a registered postal service yourself. When recycling larger items, like consoles, some companies will offer free courier pick-up. Bear in mind these are third parties so ensure you always get a receipt for the pick up as things can and do go wrong.
Q. Is it broken or working?
- Working items
Working condition means the item must switch on. It should have no more than mild cosmetic damage (ie, no missing, damaged, or cracked parts), and its original battery. Make sure there are no Pin numbers or security locks on the phone. If possible, restore the factory settings.
As a rule, you don't usually need to provide accessories, such as chargers or cases, but most companies will recycle these properly for you (though you could keep them as a spare or flog them on eBay).
- Broken items
If the item is broken, it should still be intact and include its battery if it has one.
Most providers will recycle non-working items for a reduced price - expect around 50-90% less. If you’re not offered money for the broken item, the company should recycle it for you (unless you ask for it back).
Typical damage includes badly damaged casing, a phone locked with a Pin number or an item that won’t turn on. Water-damaged and broken phones with unresponsive or cracked screens will probably get zero cash. Make sure you click the "damaged" box when searching for the best quote.
A. Different companies have different definitions and terms for what constitutes a 'working' or 'broken' item, but as a guideline the following is useful.
Q. How safe are recycling sites?
A. If you've sent your phone to the company and something goes wrong, or the company goes bust before it's paid you, you've little protection.
If the company goes into administration (when an insolvency firm is called in to run the company), the administrators will keep it trading, if possible. If the company isn't able to keep trading, you'll need to apply to the administrators for a refund which can be harder. For more info, see our Administration Help guide.
Q. What happens to gadgets?
A. Once tested and if in good shape, they're shipped abroad and flogged. For example, Envirofone sells phones in the Middle and Far East, Africa and South America.
If you've a particularly high value gadget, chances are these companies will flog it on eBay to bag the most money. In which case, cut out the middle man and consider doing it yourself.
If your gadget's less classy, it'll be broken down and sold as component parts and if it's totally worthless, it'll be disposed of in an environmentally-friendly way.
Q. Why is my item not listed?
A. There can be a number of reasons for this – it may be that your gadget is either very new, very old or very rare.
Unfortunately, if no sellers are willing to give a valuation for the phone then we don't list it. However if you spot your phone on a site which we don't include please report it.
Q. Why isn't my gadget worth more?
A. While older phones attract less value, some modern hi-tech gadgets are often sold to developing countries whose infrastructure is not suited for hi-tech use.
Q. What if my phone's locked?
A. The way the data is structured means that for some providers, you'll automatically see the price for an unlocked handset. If your handset's unlocked, it can be used with any compatible Sim card, on any network.
You may get less if your handset's locked to a specific network. Most new phones are locked when you buy them so if you put another network's Sim card in, the phone won't work.
Our Mobile Unlocking guide has full information on how to unlock your mobile.
Q. How does the tool work?
A. It repeatedly scans a number of recycling companies and stores this information so you can use it to find the best price for your phone. There can be small pricing errors in between scan times and occasionally the same phone may be listed twice because retailers name phones differently. If that happens please report it to us.
Q. Will I get more on eBay/trade in?
A. Recycling sites aren't the only option. With a bit of effort, you could earn more cash elsewhere.
- Online auction sites. You could earn 20-30% more on eBay than the best phone-buying site. It's also a good tool for working out how much your phone should sell for. Simply search for an identical phone to yours – in a similar condition - and check the price. See the eBay Selling Tricks guide for more info and remember to factor in selling charges.
- Sell to a friend. The difficulty is deciding on a price without ruining the friendship. A good idea is to take the best price from the phone-buying companies and add 10% - more for you and cheaper for your friend than buying it commercially.
- Re-use it. Most phones can be legally and freely unlocked to work on any network (see the Unlock Your Mobile guide). Keep it as an alternative handset, perhaps for text-only, for your kids or for overseas.
- Trade in low-value phones. It's worth checking whether your network provider pays more if you're trading your old handset in for a new phone. However, trading it in with your network usually means a new contract.
Q. How are companies picked?
A. We list any companies that are top payers for a reasonable number of phones. If you think we're missing a good mobile recycling site, please report it to us and we'll look at inclusion.
Q. Why aren't charity sites listed?
A. In a nutshell, there simply aren't any charity sites that fit our criteria of being top payers. This isn't a philosophical objection, it's just not an efficient way to sell mid to high-value phones (it's not so bad for lower value ones).
Give or sell it to a 'we'll collect your old mobile for charity' operator, and it gets a cut of the cash you would've received. Yet if you sell it yourself, you get more than the charity does.
To maximise the amount the charity gets, sell it yourself, then donate the cash to charity. This way, the charity gets more cash and it can reclaim your tax on top via the Gift Aid scheme - worth an extra 25% (see the Boost Charity Donations guide).
>Hi, we hope you enjoy the Mobile Valuer, but it's important you understand it is an automatically generated list of providers and how much they say they'll pay to buy your old handsets.
However a warning's needed; in the event that any of these companies went into administration and you had sent your phone off to them, no protection exists for you - this means there's a chance you could lose your mobile and get no cash. Though so far we've not heard of this happening.
We list these companies to save you having to compare manually, but that shouldn't be considered an endorsement or guarantee they're solvent or safe - it's purely a list of who pays the most and doesn't include that information or customer service details.
Please ensure you're happy to use the company, to help we've included links for reviews and feedback from users for each company - but of course that is an open forum, so you need to evaluate for yourself the veracity of the info.
Check for discount codes & vouchers.
The following are the current codes which boost the amount the mobile buying companies pay. This boost is not included in the tool's results - so do factor it in yourself.
Current codes available (0):
£3.50 mopay boost on any phone...
Until 9 May we've blagged a special code from mobile seller Mopay that means you will get £3.50 more per phone for the price listed in the comparison.
How to get it
- Going via Mobile Valuer: Simply click through the links from MobileValuer to Mopay and the £3.50 code is automatically added, so you don't need to do anything.
- Going direct to Mopay: Then it gets complicated, but essentially go direct to the mopay.co.uk/voucher and enter the code "happybirthday".
What's classed as a non - working phone?
Each recycler will grade phones differently but a non-working phone can generally be described as one which: does not turn on or off, is missing a battery, has badly damaged casing, a damaged aerial, has a faulty keypad, is barred or blocked (this is different to a phone which is locked to a certain network, that is fine), or is pin locked.
In some cases it won't be possible to get any cash for your phone, but in this case the company will still dispose of it in the environmentally correct way. If your phone is physically broken, in more than one piece, water damaged, has a cracked screen, is blocked or barred then you it will be classed as having zero value.
Q. What about personal data?
A. Some recycling sites will remove data for you but to be absolutely safe it's best to do it yourself. This is especially true for laptops so consider removing the hard drive, but check it won't affect the price you get.
Q. What if I'm offered less?
A. If a company decides the phone's not up to their standards, you might not get the price you've been quoted. If you're unhappy with it, you can ask it to return the phone. However, some have reported this can be difficult, so always weigh this up before you send.