Who Buys Old Cell Phones?

By Katy Lindamood

Every year billions of new cell phones are purchased around the globe. Most cell phone users upgrade every two years when they renew their contracts while others renew more frequently to keep up to date with the latest technology. What happens to all the old phones? Some companies will offer cash or credit toward a new purchase if you use their services to dispose of the used device.


Each time a consumer upgrades, she is left wondering what to do with her old device. Many end up in the trash. Others are given to friends or family members who need to replace their existing device but can't afford the high price of a new phone. Some get tossed into a drawer or the closet, never to be used again. Finding a person or group to purchase a used cell phone is a worthwhile alternative to it ending up in a landfill. Regardless of how old the phone is or what shape it's in, some companies will gladly give you a small fee for your used device.

Pace Butler Corp.

Pace Butler is one of many companies offering to buy back used cell phones for better than average prices. Consumers visit their website (see Resources below) and compare their model with the buyback price list. Once customers know how much the phone is worth, they can print a postage-paid label and ship the phone to be inspected. If the phone is found to meet resale requirements, Pace Butler issues a check for the agreed amount. In many cases Pace Butler will pay upwards of $75 for used devices that are in good working order. For customers who send more than three phones, Pace Butler will pay the cost of shipping, as well. Pace Butler also works with groups to buy back cell phones in order to raise funds for projects.

Sell Your Cell

Sell Your Cell works in the same manner as Pace Butler, though instead of requiring the consumer to print the shipping label and send in the phone, Sell Your Cell will send a postage-paid shipping box to anyone who requests one. Sell Your Cell accepts phones from all major carriers and all major brands of devices. Payment is made to customers within 30 days of receiving the device via mail.

Buy My Tronics

Buy My Tronics is another site that offers cash payment for used cell phones. Unlike many similar sites, Buy My Tronics also accepts iPods, iPhones and numerous smartphones such as the BlackBerry and PDA devices. Buy My Tronics also pays for video game consoles, digital cameras and laptop computers. Payment is sent via check or PayPal once the device has been inspected for damage and usability. Buy My Tronics will credit shipping costs at the time of payment of up to $5 per item, as long as the item is worth more than a 10 dollar payout. Shipping cost varies based upon the location from which you're sending the item, but Buy My Tronics recommends insuring packages worth more than $100.

Other Options

If the phone you are wanting to sell won't get you top dollar on the sites mentioned above, eBay may be another option. Even if the phone doesn't work right, you may be able to make a few dollars by selling the device. Buyers generally purchase dead phone for parts. Another option is donating the device to a charity. Many charities accept donations of cell phones as part of a fundraising effort. Check with your local shelters to see if they may need a phone.


Don't put a used cell phone in the trash--it contains toxic materials. Some communities offer curbside recycling programs that accept cell phones and similar devices. If this isn't avaliable in your area, check with the local home-improvement retailer or office supply store to see if they have a recycling box. It is possible that the above companies will reject your phone after you send it in, either because they can't use that model or because it is too heavily damaged. If this is the case, each of the companies listed above will allow you to request your phone be returned to you, but you will be required to pay the shipping cost of the returned item.