" And yes, there's still the trade-in market: There are plenty of companies willing to do the job online. Many resellers--among them NextWorth, Gazelle, YouRenew, and the venerable eBay.com--will gladly pay to take your iPhone off your hands. Most of these companies were offering upward of $200 this week for the basic Wi-Fi-only 16GB third-generation iPad.
But, as uSell's Brauser and NextWorth's Trachsel both warned, finding a reputable reseller online isn't always the easiest task. Some companies, they say, will offer you a good price for your tablet online, but then claim it's in worse condition than expected when they receive it, sending you a smaller-than-promised check as a result.
"There's a lot of bait-and-switch," Trachsel said.
NextWorth has tried to enhance its legitimacy by partnering with Target, the national retailer; iPad owners can walk into Target stores to sell their tablet to NextWorth and get paid on the spot. uSell addresses the problem by showing users offers from several resellers, and showing customer-satisfaction ratings for each.
It's also a good idea to do an online check-up on the companies offering to buy your iPhone to see which ones have good reputations and which have a string of unsatisfied customers. Start by checking with the Better Business Bureau website.
If you are going to trade in your third-generation iPad to buy one of the newer devices, though, you'll probably want to act quickly: Once the iPad mini and fourth-generation iPad go on sale Friday, the offer prices for the older model will probably decline fairly quickly.
"The sooner you can lock in a quote, the better," Trachsel said. "Obviously, values decline over time."
And just what happens to your old iPad when you resell it? Some other lucky person gets to buy a cheap iPad.
"There's a budding secondhand market for all small consumer electronics right now," Brauser said. Like the iPad 3, most devices are "built to have a longer useful life than what we're seeing consumers actually use them for ... There's a lot of value that's left in that."
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