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Radio Shack launches in-store trade-in program for used gadgets

The new program offers gift cards in return for old phones, MP3 players, and game systems that still work.

Radio Shack old gadgets
If you've got old (working) gadgets to spare, Radio Shack will take them back for store credit. Erica Ogg/CNET

Starting this week, Radio Shack will pay you to bring back your old, unwanted electronics to its stores.

The retailer has launched a new in-store trade-in program that it's describing as a way to instantly upgrade to the latest technology.

It works like this: Bring in working phones, cameras, MP3 players, game consoles, video games, or GPS receivers to a store and an employee will appraise the product's value and offer a Radio Shack gift card for that amount. The gift card can be used right away, but proper ID and a current address will be taken to ensure that the person trading in the items is the actual owner.

While stores will not take large items like high-definition televisions, monitors, and notebook PCs, will.

A Radio Shack representative adds this tip: Bringing in chargers, manuals, and other accessories that originally came with the device being traded in can enhance the appraisal value.

The trade-in program is handled by a third-party company, CExchange, which says that the old electronics it takes are refurbished and resold. The refurbished items are not resold through Radio Shack, according to a representative for the retailer.

The in-store program is an extension of the online trade-in program that Radio Shack has offered since October 2008.