Sounds like a great deal: Amazon gives future purchase credit for your old laptop or netbook.
Amazons buy-back program is not new, but it may be a great way to trade in your gently used business laptops. Before you take any credit offer, its important to remember these safety precautions:
Buy-back programs can provide a false sense of insurance on your product. Buy-back programs essentially guarantee a resale value, meaning they act as insurance against loss of value. But like any insurance policy, its true value can become nominal and hard to define. Before becoming a member of a buy-back program, make sure to read the fine print. Many buy-back options have conditions and constraints that could ultimately keep you from being able to sell back your used gadget.
Remember, the interest of the retailer is usually at heart. In exchange for your old gadget, your return will come back in the form of a gift card more times than not. The plan and gift card mean you are locked into using the issuing retailer for your next technology purchase.
While sales tax rules vary from state to state and buy-back programs vary from program to program, you are the one responsible for paying the tax. You pay sales tax on whatever you buy that you return through the buy-back program, and you pay sales tax again when you use the gift card you receive. When you buy items on the Internet, by phone, or through mail-order catalogs, and theyre shipped to you in Idaho, the items are subject to sales tax.
Most buy-back programs insist that the original items be brought back to the store at the time of the exchange.
Mobile phone contracts are not covered. When you purchase a new phone and add the retailers buy-back program, you can resell your phone back to the retailer for the agreed-upon dollar amount. But keep in mind that even when you sell your phone back, your cellphone provider will keep billing you for the duration of your contract.
You can compromise your identity. Before selling your electronics back to the retailer, take care of your personal data. Many electronic items such as your smartphone or laptop can hold a ton of personal information. If this information gets into the wrong hands, your identity could be compromised. Be sure to fully wipe out all personal data.
Finally, consider selling your electronic gadgets through online auction and classified sites. In most instances you could get more for your electronics by using these sites than opting for a retailers buy-back program.
ROBB HICKEN Chief storyteller for the Better Business Bureau serving the Snake River Region