Swappa connects buyers and sellers of smart phones, tablets, computers and other electronics
Expected pay: You set it
Commissions & fees: 3% paid by both buyers and sellers
Requirements: Legal right to the device you are selling
Unlike many of the other sites that offer to buy your electronics, Swappa is not buying your items for resale. It is connecting you with people who want to buy direct. By cutting out the middle-man (or middle-site), both buyers and sellers can get a better deal.
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The disadvantage is that you have to do a bit more work, including verifying that you own the electronics you’re selling. And you’ll have to ensure that your phone is not locked by a carrier. You’ll also communicate and negotiate with the final buyer.
How it works
If you want to sell an item on Swappa, you look up the product in Swappa’s catalog to make sure it’s covered. If it is, create an account and link your PayPal account, so the site can pay you.
The site also has some standards for listing, including that you only list working items for sale. You can’t list a cell phone with water damage, a cracked screen or that you owe money on. Otherwise, however, you simply describe what you’ve got in a complete fashion — make, model, storage capacity, etc. — and say how much you want for it.
Buyers can contact you via text message and ask questions and/or negotiate.
When someone buys your electronics, you get paid through PayPal. However, the site imposes a 3% commission on sales and charges buyers an equal amount. That’s to pay for the site’s marketing and collection service.
The relatively few complaints we found about Swappa largely were from sellers who didn’t like the extensive verification process. A few buyers also complained that some phones that were on payment plans escaped Swappa’s screen and were later found to be problematic. And, several buyers don’t like Swappa’s policy not to support returns for “buyers remorse.”
It is important to check the phone’s IMEI number when buying a product here, since this is a peer-to-peer marketplace and you don’t want to buy a stollen phone.
On the other hand, testing the site extensively, we’ve found that both buyers are sellers are likely to get the best deal here.
For sellers, Swappa is our top choice in the category, requiring a bit more work but usually bringing in considerably more money. You can sign up with Swappa here.
Our spot-checks of phone purchase prices found that you’d get about $100 more with Swappa, if you were selling a five-year-old iPhone. The differential is less — $25 to $75, when you’re selling an older phone or a less-popular model. And it can be considerably more when you’re selling top-of-the-line electronics.
Want to sell with Swappa?
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.
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.”
Toms Guide also did an extensive review that’s worth reading.