Pros and Cons of Apple’s Phobio Trade-in Program

Getting a brand-new device is exciting — and expensive. It also creates a big question for most people: what should you do with the device you’re replacing?
Some people use a device until it’s on death’s door, but that isn’t always the case. If your computer, tablet or other device still has some life left in it, you probably want to get some cash out of it. After all, it’s one way to reduce the cost of your brand-new MacBook or Chromebook you just bought.
Selling your old gear is definitely possible, but how should you do it? Selling on social marketplaces can be sketchy... Do you really want to meet up with a stranger in a parking lot holding your old phone or PC? Further, auction sites can be hit and miss.
Trading in your old device is one great way to get value out of it. So here’s what you need to know — especially about one specific trade-in firm called Phobio.

Understanding the Trade-in Market

There are numerous services that will give you cash or credit for turning in your old device directly. Gazelle is one of these. You can tell them about your device and then ship it in. If it matches the condition you described, you’ll get the advertised amount of cash for it.
Now there’s got to be a catch, right? Well, there is. You won’t make as much on this kind of trade-in as you could selling your device yourself because there has to be some margin in it for the reseller. Still, there’s great value in receiving straight-up cash for your device without the hassle and security risk of selling it yourself.

Intermediary Firms like Phobio

There are other services that work with major retailers to service their trade-ins, too. Phobio is one of these. US-based customers who trade in with Phobio do so through major retailers, like Costco or Apple itself.
Seriously: if you walk into an Apple Store and hand them your old MacBook, you’d probably think you were trading in with Apple. You’re not. You’re trading in with a third-party intermediary firm, and it’s probably Phobio.
There are pros and cons to this kind of setup. Make sure you know the ins and outs before you use Apple's Phobio trade-in program by reviewing the pros and cons below.

Pro: A Seamless Process

One of the biggest advantages to using Apple’s Phobio trade-in program is how easy and seamless the process is. You can drop off or mail in your device with minimal hassle. No parking lot meetups, no complicated eBay shipping, none of that. Just walk into an Apple Store or follow their easy mail-in instructions.

Pro: Clear Trade-in Values

When you use this kind of service, you’ll also get a very clear and obvious trade-in value displayed up front. Now, there are some huge caveats here that you’ll find in the cons below. But on the surface, it’s nice to know exactly what you should get for your device.

Pro: Trade-in Value Reduces Actual Purchase Price, Sometimes

When you trade in with Apple directly, sometimes the actual purchase price is reduced by the trade-in value. So, if you’re buying a new $999 MacBook Air, your actual purchase or finance price could drop by $200-$300, or whatever your trade-in value. (Again, see the caveats below.)

Con: You’ll Often Get Less Than if Selling Yourself

As mentioned earlier, when you trade in using a service like Phobio, you will nearly always get less for your device than you would selling it yourself. There are exceptions, though. For one, Apple has been known to offer above-market rates on older phones to encourage new purchases.

Con: Trade-in Values Can Change

The big con here is that trade-in values can change, sometimes in ways that could surprise you. If your device passes Phobio’s inspections and they agree that it’s in the condition you said it was, you’ll get the full value. But if they find some flaw or hidden problem you didn’t know about, your trade-in value can drop — sometimes by a lot.

Con: Recent Customer Complaints

Along these lines, there have recently been a significant number of complaints against the Phobio trade-in program. Customers have alleged Phobio claiming damage that was not present when they shipped the device in or failing to provide clear evidence of the claimed damage, according to reporting from both 9to5Mac and MacRumors.
These issues are especially disconcerting for customers who thought they were dealing directly with Apple and their high levels of customer care.

Trust Upsie to Protect Your New Device

Whatever way you choose to get rid of your old device, one thing’s for sure: your new device needs protection. Upsie offers industry-leading extended warranties on all sorts of Apple devices, including iPhones, iPads and MacBooks.
For less cash than the big box stores, you’ll get the same, or better, high-quality coverage. Upsie even has 24/7 customer service when you need to make a claim.

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* This article is over 6 months old and may or may not be updated.