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. Simple. Log on to its website, type in the make and model and it’ll give you a price. If you accept, it’ll send you a jiffy bag to post it in. Since they don't accept responsibility for non-delivery, it's worth sending it - depending on the gadget's value - by "recorded signed-for" delivery. This insures it for up to £46 and costs 77p on top of usual postage.
Wipe off any private data and send your gadget fully charged, switched off, without extras like Sim or memory cards and remove any security or PIN codes that could hamper testing.
If your gadget isn't up to scratch, you'll generally be contacted and offered a reduced price. You can then choose to either accept or decline this. It's important to note that if you do decline the offer, you may have to pay to get your item back. Most recycling sites will return it for free, but the following don't:
|Recycling Site||Returns policy|
|Boots Recycling||Will not return items once received|
|MobilePhoneXchange||Can charge up to £10 to return items.|
|RPC Recycle||Charges a minimum £5 to return items.|
|Weeebuy||Will not return any items once received.|
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 that come with your items, 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 all recycle non-working items, offering a reduced price for these. Expect to get around 50-90% less. If they can’t offer you any money for the broken item, they will recycle 'em for you (unless you ask for it back).
Typical damage which might mean you'll get less whack 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.
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.
But 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 is 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 isn't my item 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 that your phone is listed on a site and we don't include it, please report it.
Q. Why isn't my gadget worth more?
A. While older phones attract less value, it can also happen with some modern hi-tech gadgets since the handsets are often sold to developing countries whose infrastructure may not be suited to such hi-tech use.
Q. How does the tool work?
It repeatedly builds a database of prices by scanning the various recycling companies, and stores them so you can check them all. 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?
Recycling sites aren't the only option. With a bit of effort, you could earn more cash elsewhere.
- eBay or car boot. A thriving old phones market on eBay could earn you 20-30% more than the best phone-buying site. Alternatively, use eBay to get a rough idea of what a fair price is; simply search for an identical phone to yours - preferably in similar condition - and check what price it's going for. See the eBay Selling Tricks guide. Though do factor in selling charges.
- Sell to a friend. The difficulty is deciding on a price without ruining the friendship. My easy formula is to take the best price from the phone-buying companies and add 10% - more for you and cheaper for them 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, especially on the high street. For example, Carphone Warehouse offers competitive prices on old models. However, do note 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 (not just for one phone, as then we risk them manipulating it to be top for an obscure old model just to get listed). 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, rather that it isn't an efficient way to do it for 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 deals’ 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. So to maximise the amount the charity gets, sell it yourself, then donate the cash to the charity. This way, the charity gets more cash and it can reclaim your tax on top via the Gift Aid scheme - worth an extra 28% (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?
Some of the recycling sites will remove data for you but to be absolutely safe it's best to remove 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 they offer less?
If they decide 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 them to return the phone. However, some have reported this can be difficult, so always weigh this up before you send.