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Buyer Beware of iPhone Buying Service: NextWorth
Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 at 1:05 PM - by John Martellaro
Based on a recommendation from another writer, but still with trepidation, I sent my iPhone 3G into a service, NextWorth, that buys used electronics, including iPhones. What followed was a mildly depressing saga and a warning.
Another writer I know sent out a tweet in early June about how he sold his iPhone 3G. Curious, I asked him about it in person, and he said that he got a very good price, paid via Paypal, for his mint condition iPhone 3G from NextWorth. Of course, he was heading for the acquisition of a new iPhone 3GS -- just like me. So I decided to head forth into uncharted waters. At least I knew I'd get an interesting review out of the adventure.
Here is the timeline of events.
June 19. I go to the NextWorth Website and enter information about my iPhone. I have handled it with kid gloves, but just to be sure, I take a video of the old iPhone 3G with the new iPhone 3GS. I am offered US$253. Sounds good to me.
I did not identify myself as a member of the press. I wanted to be treated as any other customer so that my subsequent review would remain unbiased.
Screenshot from NextWorth Website
June 22. NextWorth supplies a label which can be printed out. The iPhone 3G is shipped, post paid, USPS, priority mail. On their advice, I add $250 insurance and delivery tracking. Cost: $4.40.
June 24. USPS tracking confirms delivery very early AM.
June 24-29. iPhone sits somewhere in the NextWorth warehouse, awaiting appraisal. I inquire on June 26. They say it takes up to five business days for the appraisal to occur.
June 29. E-mail received from NextWorth stating that the appraised value is actually $188.75. A $64.25 discrepancy. I send a return e-mail asking for an explanation.
June 30. NextWorth responds as follows:
E-mail explanation from NextWorth
That's interesting. The iPhone 3G has had a screen protector from day one and has been kept in a DLO soft carrying case. Here's a video of the condition of the phone. I held it at an angle against the light to reveal any scratches on the back -- I didn't see any. Decide for yourself.
The Bottom Line
The lesson here is that no matter what you think of the condition of your iPhone, you'll be constrained by the subjective discretion of NextWorth. If that doesn't appeal to you, or it's too big a risk, versus the the benefit of a confirmed, quick buyer, I'd suggest going with one of the other online services like Craig's list or eBay that allow for a meeting of the minds on a price before the exchange takes place. That may take some time, however, so it's a trade-off.
Finally, NextWorth said my payment to PayPal will arrive in the next 10 business days. I'll post an update if anything untoward happens there.
On a positive note, NextWorth customer service responded to every one of my e-mails in a timely fashion, and nothing has led me to believe that this is not a reputable company.
And that's my saga of getting quick cash for an iPhone 3G from NextWorth. YMMV.
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