A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from eBay’s Green Team (something I undoubtedly signed up for during one of my online shopping marathons). For once, I was pleasantly surprised by something that seemed like spam. The email blast was advertising eBay’s electronic recycling services, so I decided to check it out. Hey it was National Recycling Week, so I thought, why not?
I have to admit, the headliner grabbed me. It said, “Christina, you can reduce e-waste and make money with eBay’s new instant sale program!” Ok making money and saving the planet: you have my attention. Buy what’s the catch? How many hoops am I going to have to jump through on this one? I read on and it did seem surprisingly simple. “In less than five minutes, eBay sellers will give you a cash offer for your old electronics! Simply type in the name, make, and model of your device, answer a few simple questions about item condition, and voila! Get a cash offer (and a free shipping label) instantly. What are you waiting for?”
Being my curious self, I just had to click the Get Started tab and see what it was all about.
Step 1 – Find Your Item
There’s a list of gadgets that are currently accepted for this program: Laptops, Tablets, Phones, PDAs, Digital Cameras, MP3 Players, GPS systems and Camcorders. It was simple enough. You just type in the manufacture or item in the search box and a ton of different models pop up from which you can choose. Choose the right one, and answer a few simple questions about it. For example, I typed in Samsung, since I know I have one of those in my “need to be recycled gadgets drawer” and about 30 different models popped up. I found my model, selected it and answered 3 basic questions. Does your phone work? Does it come with the charger? Is it in good condition? Yes, Yes and Yes!
Step 2 – Your Offer
After you answer a few quick questions, you click “Offer” in the offer box! It’s pretty exciting waiting for your results. Mine came back with $13. Not too bad for a cell phone that’s just sitting in my drawer collecting dust. If you like the offer, you click “Accept,” which means you’re agreeing to the terms of the offer.
The fine print reads as follows,
This offer is based on your responses to the questions about the condition of the item. The buyer will provide you with a free shipping label to mail the item. Once buyer receives the item, it will inspect the item within two days. If the item is as described, then the buyer will deposit the funds in your PayPal account. If the item is not as described, then the buyer will make an updated offer and allow you to accept or reject the offer within 5 days. If you accept, then the buyer will deposit the funds in your PayPal account. If you reject, then buyer will ship item back to you free of charge. If you do not reject the updated offer within 5 days, you are deemed to have accepted the updated offer.
Step 3 – Check out
You get to review the item you’re selling and the listing price, and then click more of those little boxes that say, “Yes I agree to your terms,” blah de blah. If you’ve used eBay before it’s basically the same jargon, except here, you ship the item first and get paid later. But what have you got to lose? You’re probably selling something you’re not using and haven’t even thought about in a while.
Step 4 – Ship it Free
Once one of the approved buyers finds your listing and accepts the offer price you will print out a free mailing label, package up your clever little gadget and send it on to the next techy who will hopefully enjoy it as much as you did.
Step 5 – Making Money
Once your buyer receives your package, inspects it and says it’s as good as you described, you get paid! The money will be deposited into your handy PayPal account.
I completed the first three steps and it was just as simple as promised! Now I’m hoping I get a buyer! But even if I don’t, I see that eBay even has a plan for that. They state, “If your device has no value and does not sell, we’ll recycle it for FREE.” Win-Win! I have a whole drawer full of these electro-goodies just waiting to be recycled. This gives them a chance to be sold, reused and recycled! I love it. eBay has partnered up with approved E-Steward buyers for this program. E-Stewards are organizations that are certified with one of the “highest standards out there for responsible recycling and reuse of electronics waste.”
I don’t know about you, but I’m heading home to see what else I have that I can recycle with eBay’s instant sale program! Those old cameras and cell phones aren’t going to do anybody any good collecting dust in my drawers. And at least this way, I know they won’t end up improperly disposed of, leaking toxins into our landfills!
Chrissy Edwards writes for the repair services network urging everyone to prevent e-waste.