Gazelle revealed to customers this week that starting in about a month, it will no longer allow them to trade-in their devices via the mail.
“Beginning February 1st, 2021, we will no longer be offering our trade-in option on Gazelle,” an email to Gazelle’s customers explains. “If you have a trade-in that is in process right now, your trade-in will continue as planned.”
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Gazelle will continue selling used smartphones and other devices via its website, which begs the question of where they’re getting the inventory if they’re no longer accepting trade-ins. Gazelle’s parent company, called ecoATM, offers over 4,000 kiosks in malls and other locations that let you trade-in devices in person and be paid immediately.
There’s been a lot of speculation about why Gazelle is ending this service, with some believing that it’s somehow tied to there being fewer people selling used devices because of the pandemic. That doesn’t make sense to me, however. My guess is that mail-in device trade-ins are expensive, error-prone, and can even involve fraud and stolen devices. And that ecoATM/Gazelle is simply protecting itself from that.
Those interested in trading in devices via mail will continue to have other options, too, of course. Amazon is probably the highest-profile company to offer such a program. (Though, of course, you get an Amazon gift card, and not cash.)