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Trading up to the next iPhone? Gazelle has a deal for you

Gazelle is offering to lock in prices for used iPhones until October 1, after the next iPhone is rumored to hit stores.

Josh Miller/CNET

For those planning on upgrading to the next iPhone model in September, Gazelle is taking the gamble out of early trade-ins with an extension of its price-lock guarantee.

Consumers who plan on selling a used iPhone to Gazelle can get a price quote locked-in now, but don't have to mail in their iPhone until October 1. It's widely rumored that the next iPhone model will go on sale September 21. If rumors are true, this would give sellers enough time to hold onto their current iPhone before replacing it with a newer model.

The extension only applies to quotes made on Gazelle between today and August 31. There's no obligation for sellers to go through with the trade-in, but it's a safe to bet that gadget-buyback sites will pay less for iPhones by October 1. The used value of iPhones tends to decrease as a new iPhone launch day approaches.

The Massachusetts-based electronic trade-in site has extended its typical 30-day quote guarantee to encourage more trade-ins from consumers looking for the best deal but skeptical about Apple's launch rumors. Rival buyback site NextWorth requires gadgets to be mailed in 21 days from the order date.

Anthony Scarsella, Gazelle's chief gadget officer, says the site began to see a spike of iPhone trade-ins last week. But that means sellers would have to go without their phone, or use an alternative phone in the meantime.

As of Monday, Gazelle offered $277 for an AT&T iPhone 4S 16GB model in "good" condition. Scarsella said that offer could lower to $100 by the end of September.

"We're buying so many phones and it floods the markets," Scarsella said. "That tends to drop pricing."

Those planning to sell another type of phone, like an Android or BlackBerry, won't see the same price fluctuation as iPhones, Scarsella said. Despite the typical launch-day dip, Apple products do hold their value longer than most gadgets.

This is the first time Gazelle has extended its price guarantee, and there are no plans to repeat this offer for iPad sellers.

"People can do without their iPad or tablet for a month, two months," Scarsella said. "People don't want to be without their phone."