If you were one of the millions of people to buy a new iPhone yesterday, don’t throw away your old smartphone just yet.
The first step is to find a trustworthy company. There are several big names out there, including Asda, Tesco, Mazuma Mobile, CeX and Music Magpie. Moneysavingexpert.com has a comparison tool that lets you check which company offers the best deals.
Most of the major networks also have their own recycling programmes. For example, Three is currently offering a £50 bonus when you buy a new contract phone from it and recycle your old mobile through mazumamobile.com.
There are also several options if you want the proceeds to go to a good cause. These include the Multiple Sclerosis Society, which treats all the money from recycling as a donation, Guide Dogs UK, which receives £3.50 for each recyclable mobile donated and Envirofone, which aims to be as green as possible when recycling the phone.
Once you’ve got a quote that you’re happy with, the company will usually send over a Freepost envelope, so all you need to do is post it back. If you want to play it safe, you can always send the phone in by recorded delivery. Generally, recycling companies don’t want the charger as well, but it’s a good idea to double check.
Don’t forget to make a back-up of any data you want. Most phones have a “factory reset” option that will erase all data on the phone, and you should make sure there is no personal information left on the phone before you send it in. Also take out the SIM card.
Once the phone reaches the recycling company, it will check the device to see what sort of condition it’s in and to verify that it is not stolen. Expect the quote to be reduced if there is damage to any of the components, or if there are visible scratches and other cosmetic damage. You can ask for the phone to be returned if the new offer isn’t good enough — this is often done free of charge but not always, so do check before you send your phone away.
If you accept the offer, you will be paid by bank transfer, cheque, or in vouchers, depending on the option you chose when getting a quote. Although cash is always an alluring option, you usually receive a larger amount if you choose vouchers for retailers such as Argos or Amazon, so it is worth considering. Most companies will dispatch cheques and vouchers or make a bank transfer on the same day you accept their final offer.
Mr Anker points out that you can usually get more for your phone if you sell it yourself on sites such as eBay.
“Mobile recycling companies are making some cash out of the phone so if you’re prepared to do the leg work yourself you can usually get a better price,” he says.