Dropped your phone into the pool one too many times? We can relate to the sorrow. But don't fret too much — there are ways to sell that water-damaged (or otherwise broken/used/old) phone for cash.
We've scoured the web for the next best move after your phone has reached the point of no return.
For the purpose of this article, we’ll be trying to sell a water-damaged, unlocked iPhone X, 64GB — that doesn’t turn on.
Here’s what it’s going for on some of the top device trade-in sites:
- GreenBuyback: $180
- BuyBackWorld: $160
- Gazelle: $140
- uSell: $135
- BuyBackBoss: $130
- Decluttr: $125.20
- Glyde: $88
- Swappa: Won’t accept non-functional devices, but offers repair resources for broken phones
- SellCell: Aggregates prices from around the web, ranging from $90 - $375
- MaxBack: Unable to trade-in a completely broken phone
We’ll dive deeper into these, and walk you through how to trade-in your water damaged device at each.
The site is offering the most right now for an out-of-service, water-damaged iPhone X is GreenBuyback. You can sell a ton of different items on this site, like Apple accessories and wearables, and can even email in your rare item to see if they’ll accept it.
We decided to head right into the iPhone selling arena to see what our fortune holds:
You’ll have the option to search for numerous types of iPhones, and you can even watch a little video welcoming you, in the top right corner. We scrolled down to the bottom, found the iPhone X, and clicked it. The site showed this preliminary offer, and gave us a few choices:
Since ‘unlocked’ wasn’t offered, we chose Sprint. Of course, we chose 64GB as the storage size.
When it came time to admit our phone’s condition, only 3 condition options were given. We went with “Broken,” and got this offer:
GreenBuyback will buy your water-damaged iPhone X for $180. It’s the best deal we found on the web.
To continue on, select “Sell Item” to continue to the checkout. After entering your info and choosing either PayPal or mailed check as our payment method, you can print out a free UPS shipping label and pack up this bad boy to mail out tomorrow.
But what else is cool about this site?
Well, for one thing, they wipe all data clear from all the phones they receive, and won’t sell phones where they can’t. They also remove and destroy SIM cards and SD cards:
And we think that’s pretty important! Read more on the subject here.
Next up, BuyBackWorld. Their claim to fame is “the world’s largest instant cash quoting platform” — you can sell iPhones and other smartphones, gift cards, gaming consoles, cameras, tablets, and more. You can also buy a lot of the same, and all orders come with free shipping and free returns, no questions asked.
We decided to get right to business and see about selling this iPhone X we dropped in the pool (again). So we started here and had some choices to make:
So we went with our iPhone X, of course, and the 64GB capacity and ‘unlocked’ carrier, and got this offer — for a phone in ‘Excellent’ condition:
That’s a great price, but we know our phone is broken? We chose that condition and found they’d give us $200 for a phone that still powered on, or the following on a phone that doesn’t:
Sweet! $160 for a water-damaged iPhone X. We chose that price and then needed to create an account to follow through with the sale. No problem. Now we wait for our shipping label again. But what else does BuyBackWorld have to offer?
We decided to look around and found both retail and business bulk buyback options, as well as an option to sell drones, home automation devices, speakers, MP3 players, Macbooks, laptops, media players, calculators, guitar effects pedals, GPS, video cameras, mobile broadband, wearable tech, and literally everything else. Cool.
To date, Gazelle has paid over $200 million to happy sellers, has a 9.5 out of 10 reseller approval rating, and boasts a following of almost 75,000 on Facebook.
To sell your water-damaged phone on Gazelle, you'll just need to select your type of phone. Scroll through the matching types they buy, choose its condition (either broken, fair, good, or flawless), and check yes or no to whether or not it still powers on. If it still powers on, you can get paid for some phones, like the iPhone X we entered below:
Then, follow the mailing instructions to get paid right away via check, PayPal, or Amazon gift card. You can also get a $5 bonus on your first trade-in here.
If your phone, like ours, doesn’t power on, they’ll still make a slightly lower offer, or will at least recycle it for you free of charge. See below:
Gazelle’s offer? $140 for a water-damaged iPhone X. Not bad.
If your or your business has 10 or more devices to sell, check this page for bulk options.
When you’re done with that, want to shop at Gazelle too?
Visit their certified pre-owned selection for excellent deals on iPhones, Samsung and Google phones, Macs, etc. They even have a clearance section for the deepest price slashes (anybody need a $99 iPad?). They may even offer you financing if you qualify for monthly payments! Standard shipping is free, and you can pay with any major credit card or PayPal. Plus, you can get 10% off your first purchase with this promo code.
Want to trade-in/recycle an old phone or other device at a local tech ‘ATM’ instead? Use their handy kiosk locator to find an ecoATM near you. In 3 easy steps, you’ll recycle your device and have a few extra bucks in your pocket!
Search for your location from among the 2,700 ecoATMs in the U.S.:
Want to do some good in the world? Gazelle also participates in fundraising partnerships, offers tech grants, and gets involved with other charity-related activities to help create sustainable, strong communities. If you want to get involved, create a fundraising page, or donate items for a cause, check their Gazelle for Good page for options.
On uSell, you’ll not only have the option of getting cash for your smartphone, but you can get cash for other devices too, like game consoles or iPods, and even non-electronics like gift cards and textbooks.
uSell keeps things easy because they don’t have a buying option (except for those buying in bulk, which we’ll cover later). So all that’s necessary is:
To sell our iPhone X, we first went to ‘Sell iPhone’ in the top left area. You’ll see they offer several models to choose from:
If you’re following along, we went with my iPhone X, choose “unlocked” as the carrier, and went with the 64GB model.
Now, if your iPhone X is in good condition, you’ll see this:
But what about if it’s water-damaged? Damaged gets the following offer:
uSell will buy your water-damaged iPhone X for $135. Not too shabby!
Now if we accept our offer, which we will (for the damaged condition model, of course), we must enter our email address, our choice of being paid by PayPal or check, and our necessary contact info. Once the sale is confirmed, we see this statement:
“We'll send an email to confirm your order. In 1-2 days we'll mail you a prepaid, pre-addressed shipping kit. Offer valid for 30 days from the day the order is placed.”
So we’ll just wait for a shipping kit, send the phone in, and voila!
With a simplified system, BuybackBoss asks you first whether you’re selling an iPhone, Samsung, or iPad, and that’s it — that’s all they deal with. So we chose we our usual unlocked, 64GB iPhone X, and were given these options for the condition:
We chose “Broken” here, since the phone doesn’t turn on, and they made us this offer:
$130 for a water-damaged iPhone X. We’re lovin’ it! Let’s see what they’d give us for ‘Mint’ condition, just out of curiosity:
Ooh la la! That’s a nice chunk of change. And they explain what qualifies as ‘Mint’ condition right above the $675 offer too.
So once you hit the checkout and choose your method of payment (PayPal or check), enter your contact info and everything’s in motion, you can track your device to see where it is in the process and when you can expect your money.
With a site that boasts paying out over $100 million to more than 3 million satisfied customers throughout the US and UK, Decluttr is a good option when you want to get rid of your old devices or media. It's 100% free with no auction or seller fees, and they’ll send you a free shipping label to mail them your items, too.
Here's a summary of how it works in an introductory video.
For electronics like your phone, just search for the item you'd like to sell in their Sell My Cell Phone section, or for other electronics, try Sell My Tech. Tell them what condition it's in (don’t lie — put “water-damaged”), and they'll make you an instant offer.
For items like DVDs, CDs, books, etc., you just enter their barcodes into the valuation engine to get your price offer.
Then, you'll need to find your own box and packing tape, but they’ll send you a free shipping label to mail your item/s to them free of charge. Once they receive your item, they'll pay you the very next day by your choice of direct deposit or check. And with their "Price Promise", you'll get the amount they promised you initially, or they'll return the item back to you for free. Can this get any better? It actually can:
If you want to sell a lot of stuff, you can download their free app, which turns your phone (assuming you have another, undamaged one around, that is) into a barcode scanner. Just use your phone's camera to scan the barcodes of each item you wish to sell, and then you can sell it all in one simple transaction.
Are you looking around the room for stuff to sell right now? Go ahead — there's no limit (well, actually there’s a 500 item limit to each order, but if you’re that level of hoarder, you can just go ahead and start a 2nd order. And reach out for help.)
Here’s what we got when we tried to sell our water-damaged iPhone X:
Their offer? $125.20 for a water-damaged iPhone X. Not too shabby!
Is there more? You betcha! You can buy stuff on the Decluttr site, too. Shop for deals by category (film/TV, music, iPads/tablets, gaming, all tech), browse their deal of the week on iPhones or other tech collections, check their Samsung store, and lots more.
They accept payments via PayPal or any major credit/debit card (except for American Express), and offer 12 month limited warranties with all electronics purchases.
We’re not feeling too industrious today, so we decided to get right to business and click on that bottom left Broken Apple iPhone choice shown just above. Say it with us now: We chose the 64-gig iPhone X — except this time we chose Sprint as the network (‘unlocked’ wasn’t offered). Glyde also asks for the color of the phone, which is new. We chose Space Gray.
The first question jumps right into the condition of the device. We answered no, our device is not fully functional. We also said that our device has “lots of scratches,” “has been personalized,” and that we’ll include our charger, just for kicks:
They’re offering $88 for a water-damaged iPhone X. Still not bad, but just out of curiosity, let’s take out the adapter and cable:
They offered the same amount. Interesting!
But what else does this site do? Well, for starters, you can buy stuff (with promo codes available here), and you can try the Glydecast, which offers helpful how-to’s, Top 10 lists, tutorials, and product reviews. And finally, before you purchase anything, you should read the Glyde Guarantee here:
Swappa keeps it simple with a site where you can just enter what you’re searching for first thing at the top, or choose “Sell on Swappa” to select your device from among categories of laptops, iPhones, Smartphones, video games, tablets, home tech, wearables, and Virtual Reality (VR) gear that Swappa accepts.
You won’t pay a fee to sell your device on Swappa (although buyers may pay a fee), as you’re saving money by “cutting out the middleman” and trading/buying/selling directly with other users. Transactions take place securely over PayPal.
Although water-damaged, however, your phone still has to work for it to pass on Swappa — they don’t allow broken item sales. So for the sake of this site, we’ll pretend our phone still turns on.
To get started, we went with the (surprise) iPhone X again. They showed us a list of recent prices the iPhone X went for, and a list of required criteria for selling our phone:
Since it’s a seller-to-buyer marketplace, of course the device has to be in working condition.
If your phone meets the criteria (you can even check your phone’s IMEI/ESN here), you create your account to go forward. Then, you’ll make a listing for your phone, enter some details and upload some pics, then finally select your best price.
Their staff will look over what you’ve entered to make sure it’s complete, and then your listing goes up on the marketplace where others can browse, hopefully for the model you’re selling.
While Swappa doesn’t seem like the best option for your water-damaged phone, they made the list because if you think you might want to fix your broken phone instead, they have options for that, too. Find a phone repair shop near you with their locator, or select your phone from the models provided to see if it’s even worth repairing:
Feel like shopping? Browse the Swappa Store for a variety of accessories, look through gently used tech of all sorts, check the deals they’ve got on cheap phones to buy, or head over to the Boneyard for damaged items for sale.
SellCell is more of an aggregator — think of it like Expedia for selling your phone. How does it work?
Start off by entering your device into the search field shown. We went ahead and cut to the chase by entering our iPhone X right in there, and it gave us a teaser:
So we clicked in to get the details. Here it asked us to choose some criteria.
Guess what? We chose unlocked, 64GB, and a broken condition, which prompted them to give us choices on the best places to sell our phone online:
They highlighted BuybackBoss and Decluttr, which we’ve already mentioned, but quoted lower prices for them — probably best to go through the actual sites in this case.
If you’re curious, you can look through a selection of their vetted buyers here, find out about selling in bulk here, and find out how to unlock your carrier-specific cell phone here (you’ll get more for it that way).
And finally, MaxBack. You can sell your used or damaged cell phones, tablets, Smartwatches, and more on the MaxBack site, either individually, several at once, or securely sell in bulk for businesses or for educational purposes.
To get started, choose the type of phone or device you’re selling from the choices along the top of the screen, and the service carrier (or unlocked, if it is), and you’ll end up at a screen that asks for its condition:
Looks like I can get a pretty sweet payout on my iPhone X, even in poor condition — but not if broken completely. This may limit our chances on getting a lot back for a water-damaged phone, unless it still functions. But there’s still a glimmer of hope on the horizon:
To see what they might pay, we went through the full process, only to be shown the same options as earlier. So it looks like as of right now, this one offers some deals, but nothing for the totally broken phone.
If you do decide to go ahead with the sale, you’re offered a quote which you can accept or refuse (you’ll need to create an account for this). If you accept it, you can use their free shipping label to send your device in free of charge. You’ll lock in your quoted price as long as they receive it in the condition described within 30 days.
And if your device is still working, and you’re getting that cash back already, this exclusive promo code will get you an extra $15 on any trade-in over $150.
Once they receive it, you’ll be paid in an average of 3 days via a PayPal account, or maybe a bit longer (an extra 3-5 days) on mailed checks. (You may get a re-quote if they discover the device is different than originally described — but you can refuse this if you choose, and they’ll send it back to you at no cost).
Well, there you have it in a nutshell. Where do you think you’ll send your damaged cell phone? We’ve got our eye on a couple up there (whenever it really happens!) and we hope you’ll share your thoughts with us. Have you used any of these spots? How about an ecoATM? Tell us everything you think in the comments!