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eBay wants to give you instant money for your old phone

Just snap some pics of your phone and eBay will give you the cash instantly.

Published onOctober 22, 2018

An image of a tablet with the eBay logo featured prominently.
  • The new eBay Instant Selling program will give you instant money for your old phone.
  • All you have to do is snap some pics of your eligible phone and eBay will give you a cash credit toward a new phone on eBay.
  • This is the third time eBay has tried a program similar to this, so hopefully, this one sticks.

If you have an old smartphone lying around, eBay wants you to sell it. In fact, it is so eager for you to sell it, the company will give you instant credit for the device.

That’s what the new eBay Instant Selling program is all about: turning your old smartphones instantly into cash. All you have to do is snap some pics of your device, check to see how much you get, agree to the terms, and boom: you have a credit you can use towards a new smartphone.

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At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work in theory. I’ve tried to sell numerous phones I don’t actually own through the provided eBay Instant Selling interface and each time I don’t get an instant quote. Instead, I got a link to list my device on eBay and sell it in the usual fashion. I tried iPhones, Galaxy Notes, Galaxy S devices, and even tried unlocked and carrier variants. Each time, I was directed to list it instead of getting an instant credit.

I guess eBay still has to flip a few switches.

Regardless, here’s how eBay Instant Selling is supposed to work:

  1. Visit and enter all the information for your device.
  2. Once entered, eBay will inform you if it is available for Instant Selling (which didn’t work for me).
  3. If it is eligible, upload some pics of the device and accept eBay’s terms.
  4. You’ll receive an instant voucher for the agreed amount which you can then use towards a new device on eBay.
  5. Ship out your old phone with a shipping label provided by eBay.

According to eBay, most people will get more money for their device from eBay than they would from other sellers and/0r trading in your phone at your carrier. However, eBay conspicuously didn’t compare its new service to the average rates at Swappa, which is arguably one of the best places to buy used smartphones.

Hopefully, eBay Instant Selling works and sticks around, as this is actually the third time eBay has tried a service similar to this. It first tried in 2010 with Instant Sale which focused on all electronics (not just smartphones), and then again in 2016 with Quick Sale, a dedicated site which used eBay Valet to sell phones. Both programs didn’t work out and were shut down.

If you want to give eBay Instant Selling a shot (and see if you have better luck than me), click the button below:

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