October 16, 2021

Gazelle is shutting down mail trade-ins: here are some good alternatives

You aren't stuck if you need to sell a used phone.

  • Gazelle is shutting down mail trade-ins on February 1, 2021.
  • You’ll have to visit an ecoATM kiosk to sell phones to the company.
  • Don’t worry, though — there are multiple options for offloading your used devices.

You’ll soon lose a key option for selling your used phone. As The Verge reports, Gazelle is shutting down its mail-based device trade-ins on February 1, 2021. You’ll have until January 31 to get a quote and send in your device. Gazelle will still process trades that are active after that point, but you’ll be out of luck if you wanted to sell a phone after that.

The company didn’t explain why it was shutting down the mail option, but the market has changed over the past several years. You may be more likely to lease your phone instead of buy it, whether through a carrier or the phone maker. Brands like Apple and Samsung frequently offer their own trade-ins. And if you do buy, you may hold on to your phone for longer as performance and features are increasingly “good enough.�

In-person trade-ins are still available through kiosks from Gazelle’s parent company ecoATM, although The Verge cautions that you might not get as much money as you would through the mail.

Related: Refurbished phones: Where you can buy and sell them

Don’t worry if you were relying on a Gazelle trade in to help fund an upgrade to device like the Galaxy S21, though. There are a number of alternatives, and you might even prefer some of them.

Some trade-ins options come from direct Gazelle rivals like Swappa and Decluttr. However, you can also trade in devices through online retailers like Amazon. You can auction your phone through sites like eBay, too, if you don’t mind negotiating prices and arranging shipping. It’s also worth checking with your carrier or the manufacturer of your future device — they may offer a simple trade if you’re more interested in convenience than the best possible deal.

You might also want to forego a trade-in altogether, whether or not you go through Gazelle. You can donate your phone to organizations like Hope Phones  or Cell Phones for Soldiers to help connect people in need. You can give your phone to a friend or family member. And of course, you can repurpose your device for everything from a home theater remote to a server. Your phone isn’t obsolete just because you have no need for it — it could mean everything to the right person.