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Score deals on gently used gadgets

Hey there, Tech Savvy fans! I hope you all had a merry and blessed Christmas, and got to spend time with your family and friends. I got to thinking, as I was sitting there watching everyone unwrap new gadgets and toys, that there is always an inf...

Hey there, Tech Savvy fans! I hope you all had a merry and blessed Christmas, and got to spend time with your family and friends.

I got to thinking, as I was sitting there watching everyone unwrap new gadgets and toys, that there is always an influx of "stuff" that folks sell after the holiday season and it can potentially be a great time to score a good deal on some gently used gadgets. In that same breath, you have to be cognizant of the quality of goods you are getting, and from a seller's perspective, how can you make your offer the best so you can beat out everyone else getting rid of an iPhone 5 now that you've just gotten a 6 Plus.

To begin with, you need to stop thinking that your gear is worth as much as you paid for it. Or even that it depreciates at a steady rate. For the most part, your gear is probably worth about half of what you've put into. That's true of most any electronic, or gear that can wear out. This could be video game systems, cars, cellphones, etc. Think about it, even the cell providers sell their phones for half the price as usual only six months after they are released.

It doesn't matter which way you try and sell your stuff: classified ad, online ad, Facebook group, or even word of mouth. Everything depreciates quickly.

There are some ways that you can get at least some consistency to your offers - if you are looking at selling phones, tablets, or camcorders and items like that, www.Gazelle.com or www.buybackworld.com are two options that I have used in the past. They offer pricing based on a five question survey they ask, they send you a mailing package and you send your device. Once it arrives, they check it over to make sure you were accurate in your assessment of the quality of your device and then they send you a check. All in all the total turnaround time is about 10 days, so it's pretty quick.

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What I like about this service is that you don't have to worry about taking care of anything other than sending it out in the package they mail to you. That and cashing your check.

If you do choose to sell via classified, Facebook, or other online ad, I recommend doing a little research ahead of listing and check if anyone else is selling the same item, and what they are looking to get out of it. This will give you an indication at least of what others are considering, and you can use that to help gauge the price you want to offer.

Some other things that you really need to consider as you're selling, or getting rid of, your devices is that you need to make sure your personal information is taken off of them. If you have a phone or tablet, you want to make sure that you back up your device somewhere secure that you have access to, and then perform a Factory Reset. This basically gets it back to the same condition you got it when you purchased it. This is a vital step as it removes your passwords, settings and information from your device. In most devices this can be found in your Settings.

There are some other actions you may want to take before you wipe your device - you may want to back up your pictures and files, I take screenshots of the way I had my screens set up so I can imitate that on my new device. You may also want to consider removing your SD card if you have one. This is where you can store additional photos, etc. and most Android devices have it so you can simply remove the chip. I usually recommend removing and keeping this, as it's basically already backed up, and even after you wipe it, the technology does exist that you can recover files from it. By simply removing and keeping it, you have secured your files a little more than before. These chips can also be reused in many other devices before, just like you would have used a USB drive before- streaming media players, MP3 players, Roku boxes, and other phones and tablets can all use them. If you have gone the route of buying your movies digitally and want to back them up on a hard disk to save space on your device, you can do this to an SD card and swap them out.

If you are on the buying end, you need to understand that once you make this purchase, there are no warranties, guarantees, or protections. Some ads, like through classifieds, or other ones that are paid to list, often have higher success rates because the seller is investing time and money into promoting their item. Other methods, Craigslist, Facebook, and other free options can run into challenges. I have used both effectively and for the most part as long as you are thinking straight you will be OK.

This is part of the reason why you should be getting low prices for any second hand sale - there are no guarantees - if you wanted to sell something for $50 less than retail, I would prefer to pay the extra $50 knowing I can return it if I have an issue. For better or for worse this is part of the risk involved with third party buying.

Another thing to keep in mind is your safety - ads and sites are great for connecting people so they can get the items they are looking for, but the fact of the matter is you don't always know who you are buying or selling from. If you do meet up with someone, go somewhere public that is well lit, and pick a time of day that other people will be in the vicinity. If you can't avoid an after hours meeting, still meet in a public place, somewhere well lit, and if you can find a place with video surveillance that would help too. Of course, you can always have personal protection methods with you, but using your environment to eliminate unnecessary risks is always a good idea.

Another option that you can consider if you are in the market is looking at some of our great local stores - many retail locations have fantastic after Christmas sales and you can find some really great products for great prices. The same was true after Black Friday Week and is usually true after Christmas as well. This is a great way to support our local businesses, and you can find some real gems.

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If you just have some extra things you need to offload, there are also some great local opportunities that you can use to help free up your space, and help others too. There are a number of local donation programs that you can easily get access to that are continually on the lookout for items in good condition that others can reuse. I have found with our donations that it is sometimes best to give the location a call ahead of time to make sure that they are still able to take donations, and to find out if they don't take certain items - some do not take electronics for example.

Stay tuned as we start gearing up for the new year with our predictions for the future.

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