eBay unveils Quick Sale in new push to snag your old iPhone

Just ahead of Apple's iPhone 7 launch, the online marketplace makes another attempt at buying used phones. It shut down a similar program in 2013.

Ben Fox Rubin Former senior reporter
Ben Fox Rubin was a senior reporter for CNET News in Manhattan, reporting on Amazon, e-commerce and mobile payments. He previously worked as a reporter for The Wall Street Journal and got his start at newspapers in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Ben Fox Rubin
2 min read

eBay joins the fray of trade-in companies, which include Gazelle, NextWorth and Amazon.


eBay is jumping back into the phone trade-in game.

The online marketplace on Monday came out with a new program called Quick Sale, which gives people an upfront cash offer for their used phones, from iPhones to Samsung Galaxy phones to Blu devices. The new program comes just before Apple's new iPhone 7 officially launches this Friday.

eBay already made a push into trade-ins in 2011 with a similarly named program called Instant Sale, which bought up a variety of electronics -- not just phones -- with the help of a partner seller. Instant Sale was shut down two years later.

Quick Sale keeps up eBay's effort to make reselling stuff easier for the casual or amateur seller. Most notably, the company has been beefing up its eBay Valet service, which lets people mail in items and have professional sellers list, sell and ship them. eBay has been struggling to amp up its slow-growing revenue and user base, and is working to bring in more small-time sellers to change that.

But the trade-in program has many competitors, with Gazelle, NextWorth, uSell, Swappa, Amazon and others looking to buy back your used electronics and resell them.

An eBay spokeswoman said Monday that Instant Sale was a test program that the company used to gain helpful insights on trade-ins. With the success of eBay Valet, she said, the company has more experience and data on the trade-in market and trending prices. She added that eBay may expand the Quick Sale program to include other items in the future.

Quick Sale is powered by the network of eBay Valet sellers in the US. Beginning Monday, you can visit the eBay Quick Sale site to get a quote for your phone, then print out a free shipping label and mail in the device. Once an eBay Valet seller receives and verifies the phone, you get paid. If the phone isn't as described, the Valet seller may offer you a lower price. The spokeswoman said the Quick Sale cash is paid with the help of eBay's "third-party partners," though she declined to specify.

The difference between regular Valet listings and Quick Sale is how fast you are paid. With Valet, you only get paid when (or if) an item sells. With Quick Sale, it's within two days after an item is received by a Valet seller. You are likely to make less money through Quick Sale than with Valet, eBay said, since the money is more immediate and guaranteed.

However, you'll likely make more money than Quick Sale or Valet by listing and selling the item yourself through eBay, Craigslist or another marketplace site, since Valet sellers take commissions. eBay shows that difference in price between a Quick Sale and selling on your own when making its cash offer.