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In-Depth Review

Buyer Beware of iPhone Buying Service: NextWorth

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.


Initial NextWorth offer

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:

NextWorth explanation

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.

13 comments from the community.

You can post your own below.

vasic said:

The phone really looks pristine. I can’t imagine where it could possibly show wear and tear. Can it be that they have some way of checking, perhaps based on the IMEI/serial number, when the phone was sold, and if it is a full one year old, then, in their opinion, it can’t possibly be so perfect?

If you have the time to do it yourself, just avoid the middleman altogether. Saves you money anyway.


davebarnes said:


What did you expect?
This is no different from trading in a used car.
You think it is in condition #6 and the used car manager says: #4 because that is how he makes his profit. The actual condition of the car is not material. He is always going to low ball you. After, of course, you have fallen in love with the new car.



Bosco (Brad Hutchings) said:

John, I think if you really want the best price you can possibly get, you should identify yourself as a member of the press. I do it all the time.


gswave said:

I tried - same service on paper but they offer it at no risk, one of my 2 phones was reduce from “Perfect” to “Good” - but they offered an option to decline the offer and sent the phone back to me on their dime… clearly they respect their customers more…


John Martellaro said:

Bosco: I threw myself on my sword to benefit the readers. smile



Bill said:

I could hardly believe it when I read this. I did exactly the same thing - sent in my iPhone3G to NextWorth based on the same article. It had been lovingly cared for and was in mint condition and included all original items (except the replacement charger) in the original box. I never had a single problem with it and it was working perfectly until the moment I removed the sim chip and put it in the padded shipping container to be professionally wrapped. This is what I got back from NextWorth:

“We have inspected your Apple iPhone 16GB 3G / item 13518 and we value it at $45.35. The quoted value for your item was $253.50…....

...Your phone was broken.

Our inspection process is completed by two different trained technicians. We receive in your item, each inspector does not know what you classified the item as, and they perform an inspection. If both independent inspectors classified your item (s) equally, then an automated email is sent to you with our quoted value.

If they both do not agree, then the item is brought to the department manager, and a final decision is made. We understand that conditions can be subjective, but the majority of our inspections are perfect matches with what our customers have said.”

I have requested them to return it and to their credit they said they will.


Robert Schwartz said:

John, yes you did throw yourself on the sword for our benefit.

I created an eBay auction for my iPhone 3G in less than 10 minutes. While my front glass was free of any scratches, the back side had a 1/2-inch long stress crack near the sync plug and some small scuffs here and there. Overall, your phone looked to be in perfect shape, and mine had some scratching around the chrome bezel, too.

I did a 24-hour auction and sold it for $360. iPhone 3G’s as nice as yours are going for north of $400.


diverreb said:

I sent my 2G 16 GB phone into with a quote of $191.00

I said it was in Good Condition, which it was.

I got my new 3GS the day (First day of release) I returned the 2G to Gazzell.

A few days later I rechecked the value of my phone and they were now quoting around $130.00, which they still are today.

I fully expected an e-mail saying the value has dropped due to the current market conditions and release of the new model…

To my surprise and delight, they are honoring their original quote, which I found out they guarantee for 30 days.

I obviously highly recommend them…



Dan Clement said:

I have used NextWorth two times now. Once with the first gen iPhone and second with the iPhone 3G. Both times I was quoted a very fair price and their inspection agreed with the condition I stated. I received a check for the full amount quoted minus $5 for check processing fee in a timely manner. I have had a positive experience with Next Worth on both occasions.


Alex said:

I had the SAME experience with this company.  My phone had a skin on it, it was in excellent condition.  They dinged me down from the quoted price when it arrived though.  Not an honest way to do business.


said elmasry said:

man isee your site
it is good
i wait your opinion about this
ok ok


stevel114 said:

My experience with Nextworth has not been that pleasant.  I too wanted to upgrade to the 3GS and when I first looked at a quote from Nextworth it said my 3G phone was worth $255. I ordered the 3GS and as soon as I received it I went to Nextworth to print out the shipping label and the price had gone down to $236.  OK fine.  My Phone was only 6 months old and had been in either a protective case or a soft holster.  The only wear I could see on the phone were some scratches on the silver logo on the back.  Very minor scratches.  When Nextworth emailed me back with a lower quote of $188 I sited the condition of phone and that their site quote $215 for minor wear I would be willing to take that.  They said sorry and that the would return MY phone.  Well they didn’t return my phone.  They sent me some other phone.  And funny thing, it did look very worn and had scratches on the front just like they told me my phone looked like.  I knew as soon as I saw the phone it was not mine.  The phone I sent in had a deactivated SIM in it but you could still use like a ipod touch if you wanted.  The phone they sent me back had no SIM and a different IMEI number. All the accessories looked different also.  I sent them a universal dock and the sent me a iphone only dock.  I had a small rectangular AC adapter that you get with the phone and the one they sent me was the kind you can change the adapter plug in. I am waiting for them to respond to my email.  Having gone to several websites to see if any one else is having the same problems I do see a pattern emerging.  Seems that only if your phone looks factory new do you get the best price.  If they detect any wear they offer you the lowest price to see if you will take it.  So be cautious and make sure you take pictures and record the serial and IMEI number before you send it in.  Good thing iTunes keeps all the numbers of the devices for you.


stevel114 said:

Here is the reply from Nestworth:

From: [email protected]
To: [email protected]
Date: Tue, 28 Jul 2009 14:58:00 -0400
Subject: RE: Trade in Item 22531 in order 54173

Sorry you are very unhappy with us.
But please, do state all the facts correctly.
We sent you your phone back. We have the item number recorded as well.
We remove all sim cards immediately, to make sure all our customers private information is protected.
We will never send a sim card back.
Perhaps a phone call in place of emails might work better.
Feel free to call us toll free 888 969 4763 X228 for our customer service department.
We are here M - F, 9 - 5 EST.
Look forward to speaking with you.
NextWorth Customer Service

NextWorth - A Better Exchange.
Your community exchange for creating
  capital from pre-owned luxury goods.

And My reply to them:

I will try and call tomorrow.  I am 6 hours behind (Hawaii time).  I am not sure how you can say you sent me my phone back when the IMEI numbers are different.  None of the accessories are like the ones I sent you.  I called ATT and confirmed my IMEI number with them.  So itunes and ATT say my IMEI number is 011776001826249.  The phone you sent me was 011613001409314.  I am sure you have some system for keeping track of the equipment that comes in, but I am telling you somehow mine was switched.  Also if I send you a SIM in the phone until we have agreed on the deal the phone should be returned as is.  I understand the need to protect customers privacy but until we agree on a price it is still my property and there is no privacy issue.  If you had said that all SIMs should be removed prior to sending them in at least it would give the customers a choice.  Now when I get the correct phone back I have to purchase another SIM from ATT even if I only want to use it as a ipod.  I think you should change 2 things about your process.  Warn the customers that the SIM will be removed and destroyed even if it is returned and have the customer give you the IMEI number (on a form) prior to shipping it to you.  At least that way there can be no dispute about the IMEI number, from your side or mine.  I hope we can resolve this when I call tomorrow.


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