Iíve just signed a new contract and got a new mobile phone as part of the deal. Whatís the best way to get some cash for my old handset?
Anne, via email on 03 March 2010
An increasing number of companies are offering cash for your old mobile, and with promises of up to £150 and more, itís an attractive proposition.
Every time someone signs a new contract or upgrades their mobile phone, they're given a new handset, resulting in some 90 million old phones sitting around in peopleís homes - thatís more than one for every person.
Most of these companies operate online, where you fill in a simple form to get a quote for your old phone. If you agree to the offer, you simply send your phone off to be tested, and if itís in the condition you said it was, theyíll pay the cash direct into your bank account.
Recycling your old phone has many other benefits as well as getting you some extra cash:
The price you'll be offered for your mobile will depend on the age, model and condition of your phone. It needs to be in decent working condition, with only mild cosmetic damage, an original battery and you must be able to switch it on.
Obviously, an old phone wonít get anywhere near as much as one of the latest smartphones in great condition.
If your phone isnít up to scratch - though few phones are actually rejected - you'll be contacted and offered a new, lower price. If you donít accept the new price, your phone will be returned free of charge.
Many mobile recycling companies will also consider broken phones, offering you between 10% and 50% of the working price. In order to get the best price, make sure that you tell the company that your phone is damaged when you get a quote.
If your phone is in too poor a condition to even be broken down and used for parts, these companies can dispose of your phone in an environmentally friendly way.
Few mobile phone recycling companies offer special deals for completely new phones, but if you do find one offering to pay extra for your unused handset, it will have to be in unused, pristine condition, in the box with full accessories and usually with the screen seal intact and no calls made.
However, if youíve got a completely new phone that you want to sell, you should bear in mind that you'll get a much better price by selling it on eBay or Gumtree.
While you'll often get a better deal selling your phone to a recycling company than you would if you traded it in on the high street, you might be able to get an even better price on eBay or Gumtree - especially if itís in good condition.
Many phone recycling companies will sell your old handset abroad once itís been restored, though some also simply sell it on eBay, getting a better price.
However, this does involve more hassle than selling your mobile to a recycling company and there is no guarantee of a sale.
If you think you're not likely to get a good price for your handset, you might be better off simply trying to trade it in with your network provider to get a better discount on your upgrade.
If you donít want to sell your phone, or you're being offered a very low price for it, you could use it to raise funds for your favourite charity.
You can send your handset direct to a charity like Oxfam or Action for Children who will then receive money for each reusable handset they get.
If you send your phone to your network provider, it will usually make a donation to charity. For example, in 2007 Vodafone collected 235,000 old mobiles - and donated £948,400 to charity, most of which went to the National Autistic Society.
However, these schemes only give a cut of the money to charity and you might be able to raise more money by selling it and donating the cash you make instead. And because of the Gift Aid scheme, the charity will also be able to reclaim your tax, giving them an extra 28% on top of your donation.
If you collect points as part of a loyalty scheme, you might also be able to get points for your old phone.
Many major supermarkets, including Tesco, Asda, Sainsburyís and even Boots, offer loyalty card points and charity donations for each handset they receive - though this might not equate to as much for either you or the charity so make sure you look into the details of each supermarket recycling scheme before sending in your phone.