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Good Question: Can You Make Money Selling An Old iPhone?

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO)– With hours to go until Apple is expected to unveil the latest version of the iPhone, many are already thinking about what to do with their old iPhone 3 or 4.

“I’m salivating, I can’t wait,” said Matt Towns, an IT guy from Osseo.

When Matt first heard that Apple was launching the iPhone 5 on Wednesday, he decided to unload his old one.

“That’s what I did. Bang. Quicker than you can blink,” Towns said.

There is no shortage of websites ready to buy.

“It’s been a crazy few weeks,” said Jeff Trachsel, chief marketing officer at NextWorth.com.

“We take it in, refurbish it, wipe the data, and then we resell it,” said Trachsel, who said his company sells the phones domestically on eBay and Amazon, as well as internationally.

“It has been quite crazy,” said Anthony Scarsella, chief gadget officer of Gazelle.com. Scarsella said over the past 30 days, his website has made offers to buy more than 1 million phones from iPhone owners.

“For iPhone 4, we’re offering up to $150,” Scarsella said.

I put my good condition, 16GB, AT&T iPhone 4 through the motions at Gazelle.com and was offered $146. NextWorth.com offered $147.

“Values are strong, even 3Gs and 3GS,” Trachsel said. “3GS around 70 bucks, 3Gs around $40.”

Those values aren’t bad, especially considering most of us only paid $199 to get the iPhone new.

“Apple products hold their value better than any product in consumer electronics,” Scarsella said.

Both sites let you keep your current phone for a while. NextWorth gives you 21 days before you have to mail it in. Thus if Apple announces the iPhone 5 Wednesday and puts it on sale the next week, you’ve got a week to get your hands on new one before you send it in, Trachsel said.

Gazelle has a longer grace period; they give you 30 days. No one knows for sure what will happen on the used market, but both people we spoke with said they expect prices to drop after Wednesday.

“Once (CEO Tim Cook) gets on stage – you are gonna see prices start to steadily decline,” Scarsella said.

Towns had a second phone – so he sold his iPhone 4 through Glyde.com – directly to another buyer for $236.

“It staggered me,” he said. “They sent me the box; it came the next day. Within 24 hours after I sent them the box, it was done.”

There’s also good news for people who buy a used iPhone and are looking for a less-expensive choice for service. T-Mobile is working hard to get people to buy used iPhones and bring them to their network. They call it Unlocked & Unlimited and argue that consumers can save up to $40 a month over similar plans from other services that sell the iPhone.

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