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Call Kurtis: Are Trade-In Websites Worth It?

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Kurtis Ming Kurtis Ming
Eight-time Emmy Award winner Kurtis Ming is CBS13'...
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When the iPhone 4S came out, Brad Wilbourn knew he wanted to find a way to get it.

“I was really sold on the Siri technology,” he said.

He didn’t have much money laying around for the 4S, he said, so he thought the easiest way to upgrade would be to sell his current model iPhone.

For the entire time he’d owned his iPhone, it’d been in a case, and he had all the original boxes and accessories too, according to Wilbourn.

“I mean it was in “mint condition,” he said.

A simple Google search found SellArena.com — an electronics trade-in website that said it would pay $458.00 for his model iPhone and even pay for shipping.

Wilbourn was shocked, however, when he noticed the company had dropped his offer to $326, even though his phone had been received in “like new” condition. Wilbourn called the company for a reason and was promised a SellArena.com supervisor would call him back, he said.

A few days later, the offer dropped again with no explanation — this time to $270.

“What the heck, where is my money? Send me my money!” he said. “Something is not right here.”

SellArena.com isn’t the only service claiming to offer top dollar for used electronics … or the only service with complaints from unhappy customers.

“It’s a form of misrepresentation,” said the Better Business Bureau’s Gary Almond, adding he has received and increasing number of complaints about electronic trade-in sites.

Most of those complaints, Almond said, were regarding changes in the company’s offer price.

“I don’t think that a consumer, when they’re going to send these goods off, thinks that the price is going to change,” he said.

If customers don’t accept the offer from SellArena.com, the company will ship the device back — but at the customer’s expense, according to the site’s Terms and Conditions.

A district manager with New York-based SellArena.com told CBS Sacramento, “[Prices are] up to our discretion because of market value,” but added, “We try to keep it where, what we quote, that’s what you get.”

The manager couldn’t quite explain what happened in Wilbourn’s case, but eventually said SellArena.com will “be more than happy to pay him out what he was quoted.”

Later that afternoon, the company sent Wilbourn a Paypal payment for the full $458.

“It shouldnt be this difficult,” said Wilbourn. “Something this simple shouldn’t be this difficult.”

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