We Bought and Sold a $75 Phone. Here’s How It Went


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Do you have an area in your house where all your clutter seems to gravitate?


You know the one. It’s the place where your Hot Topic band T-shirts, NOW That’s What I Call Music! CDs, and long-forgotten DVD collection live. For me, the place that collects clutter is the spare bedroom. But instead of Blu-rays and old CDs, it’s boxes of old tech (laptops, cell phones, cameras, etc.) and books that haven’t seen the light of day in months — some, years.

Throwing them out seems like such a waste. And I don’t necessarily want to give away a set of Blu-rays that cost $20 each.

Since my most recent move, I’ve been struggling with what to do with them. I could probably sell the tech items, but ever since I got swindled out of a laptop on eBay, I’m wary of selling my tech online. And then there’s the hassle of finding a buyer, negotiating, and driving to the post office every time an item sells. 


But I recently learned there is a more convenient option: selling on Decluttr. 

With supposed instant cash offers, free shipping, and speedy payouts, I decided to put the company to the test. I bought a pristine condition cell phone from their store and immediately sold it back to them. 

Here’s what I learned. 


What Is Decluttr?

Decluttr is a company that buys and resells your old CDs, DVDs, video games, textbooks, and virtually any other technology. They act as the middleman so you don’t have to manage a listing, pay for shipping, or deal with buyers. 

According to the site, Decluttr has paid out more than $300 million to over 6 million customers worldwide. They have an A rating and are accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). A review of Decluttr’s Trustpilot profile shows that the company also boasts an excellent 4.4 of 5-star rating over 23,000 reviews. Users report that the process for selling devices is easy, simple, payment is quick, and the Decluttr app and website are intuitive and easy to use. 

Complaints generally involve receiving a lower payment than initially offered for a device, and on the buyer’s side, occasionally receiving damaged products.


Price No selling fee

DollarSprout Rating 4.5 of 5 stars

Decluttr buys your old CDs, DVDs, video games, textbooks, and various other tech. Select your technology or scan the barcode on your media items for an instant valuation. Shipping is free and all you have to do is pack the device and drop it at your nearest UPS location, or schedule a pick-up.

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  • Instant quotes for all your items.
  • Fast payment via direct deposit, PayPal, or check.
  • Tech Price Promise guarantees that if Decluttr lowers their offer on your tech device upon inspection, you can request to have it sent back free of charge.
  • BBB accreditation and high Trust Pilot score indicate a trustworthy company.


  • Potentially lower payment than if you sold the items yourself.
  • CDs, DVDs, and other media items that don’t pass quality control aren’t sent back to you.

How Decluttr Works

Decluttr makes the process of buying and selling used media and technology simple.

Notably, they’ll buy your used: 

  • CDs, DVDs, and games
  • Textbooks
  • Cell phones
  • Apple products
  • Kindles
  • Wearables (e.g. smartwatches)
  • Tablets
  • Video game consoles
  • LEGO®

The site gives you a free instant valuation on all your devices before you send them in. For tech devices and cell phones, choose the make, model, and condition to receive a quote.

There are three options to choose from for your device’s condition:

  • Good: device works properly, has no major damage, and only light signs of wear and tear
  • Poor: device works properly but has scuffs, dents, and major scratching
  • Faulty condition: device may not be working properly or at all (major software problems, significant physical damage, water damage, cracked screens, etc.)

Bent or crushed devices or those missing components are not eligible for sale.

For CDs, DVDs, games, and other items, you’ll need to enter the barcode. Decluttr’s free app allows you to scan them rather than enter each item manually. And for Lego products, you need to make sure they are genuine Lego brand and the total weight is at least 1.1 pounds.

If Decluttr is accepting your item, you’ll receive an immediate offer. If you can’t find the tech item on their list, it means they’re not currently taking it. In addition to older model iPhones (iPhone 5 or earlier), a few items they don’t accept include vinyl, cassette and VHS tapes, pirated copies, and promotional items received from a magazine or other publication. 

🔍 Reviewer’s take:

The Decluttr store both buys and sells a large variety of tech; virtually every popular make and model you can think of, so long as it isn’t too dated and there’s still some consumer demand for the device.

For the purpose of our Decluttr review, I went the budget route and purchased an older, “Pristine” condition Galaxy S7 32GB using their app with the expectation that I could immediately sell it back to them. I paid $75.81 for the device after confirming they were accepting the device for consignment. 

decluttr cart screenshot

I received the item in 2 business days and was pleasantly surprised that the item was legitimately in the stated Pristine condition. There wasn’t a single aesthetic issue with the phone — it looked like it was straight out of the box. 

The item was factory reset and was ready for use immediately upon turning it on. 

If you’re on a budget and looking for sleek, functional modern tech without paying retailer MSRP on brand new devices, Decluttr has a robust selection with great prices. With a free 12-month limited warranty, there’s virtually no risk in receiving a faulty refurbished device you’re simply stuck with. They offer free returns here too, so buy with peace of mind.  

Ship your electronics for free

When you sell directly to buyers through sites like eBay and Amazon, shipping cost typically falls on your shoulders. With Decluttr, that’s not the case. 

Once you accept Decluttr’s offer, they’ll email you a welcome kit with a prepaid shipping label. Pack your goods into any box, print out your free shipping label, and send it through UPS at one of dozens of local Access Points.

🔍 Reviewer’s take:

The free shipping label makes an immediate difference in how much you can expect to receive for an older device. If your device is worth less than $100.00, this equates to 10% or more of the final sale value — a huge perk.

Where UPS Small Flat Rate packages start at $12.40 at the time of writing, that’s a good bit of cash back in my pocket that I would have otherwise lost selling on eBay, Facebook, or any other marketplace. 

Higher prices than competitors

Compared to similar sites, Decluttr offers some of the highest prices for smartphones and tech devices.

Each site has a different method for evaluating your phone’s condition. For consistency, I noted that each device was in “good” condition and chose the carrier as “factory unlocked.” You might get a slightly higher offer if you have the original packaging, charger, or additional accessories.

For most of the devices below, Decluttr’s offer was comparable to or higher than similar buyback competitors.

  Apple iPhone 11 64GB Apple iPhone 12 Pro 128GB Samsung Galaxy S10 128GB Samsung Galaxy S20+ 128GB
Decluttr $257 $552 $132 $270
Buyback Boss $256 $548 $133 $278
Gazelle $271 $571 $122 $296
Amazon Electronics Trade-In $195 $430 $103 $220
BuyBackWorld $235 $430 $115 $250
Note: These estimates are accurate as of June 2022 for unlocked phones in “good” condition.

🔍 Reviewer’s take:

Immediately after receiving my Samsung Galaxy S7 from Decluttr, I tested it, verified that it was in working order, and began the process of selling it back to them.

My immediate cash offer was $24.00.

This may seem low considering I paid just over $75 for the device, but I felt it was pretty fair for a number of reasons: 

  1. It was the highest offer I received from any competing buyback service. 
  2. The highest sold listing I could find on eBay or Facebook Marketplace for an identical device was $42 net of fees (which means less after shipping and ~15% platform selling fees). 
  3. I would have made little more selling elsewhere and avoided the hassle of taking pictures, creating a description, talking with buyers, and dodging scammers. 

similiar samsung galaxy s7 sold on ebay

It’s reasonable to expect a fair bit of profit margin for the business as they’re the ones footing the shipping cost and they have to pay their engineers to inspect the device on arrival. Add to that the cost of paying an employee the list the item for sale afterward and it’s not hard to see where the $75 total sales figure came from. 

While I may have pocketed an additional $5 or so selling the device on a commercial selling platform (like eBay), the risk of someone trying to create a fictional return with a fake/damaged device didn’t seem worth the risk.

The more expensive my tech becomes, the closer to the vest I like to play it. Where commercial platforms most often default to protecting the buyer, it’s just not worth it to me to potentially lose a device worth hundreds of dollars to try and earn a few more bucks selling it myself. 

Fast payment

With Decluttr, you don’t have to wait weeks for payment. Once they receive your items, they’ll check everything over, remove any personal data from your tech devices, and pay you the day after your shipment arrives.

Payment options include direct deposit, PayPal, check, or a donation to the charity of your choice.

🔍 Reviewer’s take:

For my device, I received an email the next business day (in the morning) after my tracking information suggested the package had arrived.

decluttr shipment received

By late afternoon the device condition had been verified and I received a partial PayPal deposit.***

All this in less than 24 hours after arrival. 

***I emailed their customer service alerting them to the smaller-than-expected payout and they promptly scheduled payment for the remaining balance. I was told the intake engineer made a mistake upon admission in determining device functionality but it was nice to see them own up to it and make good.

It was a small but important factor to note in an otherwise smooth transaction. 

payment received from decluttr

Related: 42 Creative Ways to Make Money Fast


Like any company, Decluttr’s ultimate goal is to make a profit on the items it buys. If it didn’t, then they wouldn’t stay in business. That means you may earn less money than if you listed your items and sold them yourself.

As we previously alluded to, what you miss in earnings you get back in the form of time. That’s time you don’t have to spend making accounts, creating listings, writing descriptions, communicating or haggling buyers, and possibly getting scammed.

Is the Offer You Receive What You Actually Get Paid?

When you enter the information for your tech devices, Decluttr will lock in their offer for 28 days. Once they receive your order, Decluttr reviews your item. If it matches your description, you’ll get the full offer.

If your device is damaged or doesn’t match your original description, Decluttr may revise your offer. In that case, the Decluttr Tech Price Promise allows you to request it back free of charge. After Decluttr sends you a revised offer, you have 14 days to respond.

Media such as DVDs, CDs, games, and books operate differently. They’ll also check these items for quality to make sure they match your description. However, if they fail the quality assessment, you won’t get them back. So if you’re not sure an item will pass the quality control and you aren’t willing to part with it for free, you might want to rethink sending it in.

How Much Can You Make with Decluttr?

The amount you can expect to make with Decluttr depends on the quality, number, and type of items you have to sell. For instance, I also have a 64GB iPhone 8 that’s been sitting in a drawer for months that clocks in at $176.

I also cleaned out my CD and DVD collections years ago. But to give you an idea of how much you can reasonably expect to make selling on Decluttr, I scanned some books that have been sitting in boxes since my most recent move.

Decluttr Review: Book Valuation

In total, that’s $186.98 for stuff that’s just lying around my house in boxes and drawers. If you have old books, CDs, Legos, and tech devices you’re not using, check Decluttr to see how much they’re worth.

If you have newer technology — maybe something you received as a gift or even purchased for yourself but never use — then you could earn even more.

Decluttr quote for iPad 4th generation

I bought my 4th Generation iPad Pro brand new for $1,649. Decluttr offered me $790 for it after a year of use. Since it’s in excellent condition (I’ve only used it a handful of times), I could probably get more selling it myself. But for someone like me who prefers not to haggle with buyers or spend time messaging back and forth, Decluttr’s offer again seems fair.

Referral program

In addition to giving you top dollar for your tech devices, books, CDs, and other items, Decluttr has a program that allows you to earn an extra $5 by referring your friends. All you need to do is claim your unique code and share it via social media, text, email, or in person. When your friend completes a trade, they’ll also receive a $5 credit. 

There’s no limit to how many friends you can refer.

How to Have the Most Success with Decluttr

There were a few obscure titles in my book collection that Decluttr gave a hard pass. But I was also surprised at the books it accepted, including some yoga-related ones that came in at more than $1 apiece. That leads me to believe that even your most unsellable items have a shot.

However, you’ll want to follow some best practices to get the most out of your goods. A review of Decluttr’s terms and conditions offers some helpful advice:

  • All items must have a barcode.
  • Covers, disc artwork, and/or sleeve notes should be in good condition.
  • Games should contain the original instruction booklet and artwork.
  • Electronics and tech devices must match the reported condition.

One final tip: be honest. Decluttr reviews every item before finalizing their offer. Not describing an item accurately might cause them to lower your offer or even send the item back to you. For instance, if you say your old iPhone is in “good” condition but there’s actually a crack in the screen, you’ll likely get a lower offer when Decluttr reviews it, or it may not qualify for an offer at all.

Decluttr Review Summary: A Solid Option to Sell Online

Decluttr is one of the best selling apps on the market and a convenient alternative to selling directly to buyers. They offer a free instant valuation on all your items, so as long as you’re honest about the condition, you’ll know how much you’ll earn before sending anything in.

Selling on Decluttr is as simple as scanning barcodes, printing your shipping label, and dropping a box at UPS. The biggest downside is that they won’t send back any media items (books, CDs, DVDs, games, etc.) that don’t make it through the quality assessment. But as long as you’re willing to risk a few cents for the convenience of not having to sell anything yourself, there are few drawbacks to trading in your electronics with Decluttr.


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