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Verizon offers trade-in program

The wireless carrier has launched an in-store trade-in program in Southern states offering customers up to $300 for used smartphones. But is it worth it?

By Giselle Smith Dec 19, 2011 5:02PM

You trade in your old car at the dealership for credit toward a new one, so should you do the same with your cellphone?

Verizon Wireless last month launched an in-store trade-in program for used cellphones and smartphones -- but only in the Southern U.S., ZDNet reported.

Through the trade-in program, prospective customers can bring a used phone from any carrier to a Verizon store or kiosk, where it will be evaluated by a Verizon rep and the customer will be given instant credit -- up to $300 -- toward a new phone with service, according to ZDNet.

The program is being offered in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas, and is expected to last through the end of the year, according to Engadget.

"We're told that non-smartphones will automatically receive a $50 credit, while more advanced devices will need to be evaluated by an in-store rep," Engadget said.

The Southern states program is the first phase of a national rollout, according to The Edmond Sun in Oklahoma.

Other options for your old phone

In October, the carrier launched its Verizon Wireless Trade-In Program, which enables wireless customers, no matter which company they use, to get an appraisal of the value of their existing device online, then mail it in for a corresponding gift card toward Verizon products or services. Post continues below.

For devices appraised as worthless, Verizon offers the option of donating used phones to its HopeLine cellphone recycling program, which collects devices and accessories to benefit victims of domestic violence. To date, the program has collected more than 8 million phones, has awarded more than $10 million in cash grants to American domestic violence agencies and organizations, and has distributed more than 106,000 phones with free minutes for use by victims of domestic violence, according to Verizon (.pdf file).

Reader feedback

Reader comments to the Engadget post revealed a fair amount of skepticism about the Southern states trade-in deal, with readers mostly disputing the values offered for trade-ins.

"I went to the local VZW store (in Georgia) and was offered a whopping $46.01 for my Droid X. Maybe they'd offer more for a non-Verizon phone, but I thought that offer was pitiful," wrote "Horace Smith."

While some readers expressed disappointment that the offer wasn't nationwide, other readers disputed the report. "Earlywakening" wrote about getting a trade-in at a kiosk in California: "Most Verizon kiosks will do this throughout the country … They give up to $300. They quoted me $75 for a practically new Photon."

As "someguynamedjohn" commented: "If you pay close attention, the states included were part of BellSouth, now AT&T …. That part of the U.S. is heavily AT&T, so Verizon is hunting down customers in a region that it doesn't do particularly well in."

A number of readers suggested selling used phones on eBay or Craigslist, saying they got more money than they would have for a trade-in, without having to sign a two-year wireless contract.

As one reader observed: You don't get a lot of money when you take your car to the dealer for a trade-in, and you won't get a lot of money for a trade-in from your wireless carrier either.

What do you think? Would it be worth it for you to trade in your old phone at a store?

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