What: Swappa is a site aimed at selling cell phones, ipads, laptops, games and game consoles, as well as other lightly-used electronics

Commissions & Fees: graduated scale from $0 to $100 (for items worth more than $3,000)

Husl$core: $$$$$

Review: Unlike many of the other sites that offer to buy your cell phone or other electronics, Swappa is not buying your items itself for eventual resale. It is providing a marketplace for you to reach the final buyer. As such, it promises a higher price because you’re cutting out the middle-man (or, more accurately, the middle-website). The disadvantage is that you have to do a bit more work to sell your phone, including verifying that you own it and that it’s not locked by a carrier. You’ll also communicate and possibly negotiate with the final buyer. If someone buys the phone, you get paid through Pay Pal.

By and large, the process works nicely for both buyers and sellers. The relatively few complaints we found about Swappa largely were from sellers, who didn’t like the extensive verification process. Buyers also complained that some phones that were on payment plans escaped Swappa’s screen and were later found to be problematic. If you buy on this site, you should do some due diligence about the phone you’re getting; if you sell on the site, you will do more work, but likely get more money. We think that’s a good trade. 

What their users say:  From the Better Business Bureau:

“My experience with Swappa was awesome! I have used them a few times now and I will never go anywhere else for electronics. I had my new phone in hand within 5 days and it was better than described, There is no reason to ever pay retail when Swappa is around. Thanks so much for yet another successful transaction!”

“I was very nervous with buying a phone online but due to being on a tight budget it was the best option. The phone I got is excellent. I waited about a week before I reviewed. The seller I dealt with was very professional. They are a marketplace for anyone or any business to sell phones. They provide me with assurance by setting strict guidelines for used phones. This makes sure when a phone is listed at a certain condition level (fair, good, mint) know exactly what that condition level means. The sellers must abide by these standards and often exceed these standards.”

“Swappa facilitated the sale of a phone that I purchased which was later found to have a financial eligibility flag on it. Swappa does not allow the sale of financed devices and thus I could not sell the same phone that I purchased from Swappa. Swappa provided no remedy and ultimately chose to… take no action against the seller since the phone had a “clean ESN” despite Swappa not allowing the sell of a financed device. The reference for this transaction is ******. It should NOT be acceptable that Swappa can state that I should be okay with being sold a financed device but turn around and refuse to allow me to sell the phone because financed devices are unacceptable.”

(SWAPPA RESPONSE) The buyer purchased a phone on Swappa in March 2016 from another user, paying them directly. For the transaction the buyer paid Swappa $10 as a service fee for hosting the marketplace. Nearly 12 months later the buyer has made the determination that the device has an issue that existed… before the item was sold.If the buyer was sold a phone that does not meet our marketplace guidelines they have a right to a full refund. However, that refund has to come from the seller (which is not Swappa) and has to come within PayPal’s refund window of 180 days.Swappa has policies and safeguards in place for protecting against devices on payment plans being sold. However, some devices have to be checked directly with carriers by the seller and/or buyer due to carrier policies. For each sale the buyer is also instructed to confirm the state of the device before completing the sale. We provide a checklist for doing so which is includes contacting the carrier to ensure the device isn’t under a payment plan. The buyer completed the sale March 2016 confirming the device was acceptable and met our guidelines for sale. If this was done without confirming all items on the checklist then it must be acknowledged that a safeguard that would have prevented this situation was knowingly bypassed by the buyer. If the phone was determined to be unacceptable within PayPal’s refund window the buyer would have been able to receive a full refund without issue.Regarding the desired settlement: Swappa is not the seller or middleman to this transaction. We operate the marketplace as facilitators allowing buyer and seller to transact directly. Swappa cannot consider reimburse the buyer as requested because we are not the seller of the item.Fault for selling a device that does not meet our guidelines lies with the seller as Swappa never handles the device. The seller’s account has been noted and reviewed due to this incident.”

Recommended reading:

Toms Guide also did an extensive review of using Swappa that’s worth reading. 

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