Mobile phone recycling – why eBay always has the best price


If you have ever upgraded your phone, you may have just thrown your old model into a drawer and forgotten about it. Perhaps it’s time to think about selling it however, as there are plenty of services out there that want to buy it from you; the only question being whether they are going to offer you a good deal?

In a recent article for Which?, we looked into the various mobile recycling sites to see which one offered the best prices for old phones. The results surprised us. We suspected that the prices might be low, but what we didn’t expect was just how low they could be, with huge disparities between quotes in some cases.

For every single phone we looked at we also checked average sold prices on eBay to see if the auction site would net you a bigger profit. We found that the best price was achieved through eBay, without exception. In some cases it was possible to make an additional £100 profit by selling a second hand mobile through eBay, compared to a dedicated recycling site.

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Selling mobile phones on eBay

It may be that you’ve recently upgraded to a shiny new iPhone 5s, and you want to cash in your old iPhone 5 16GB. Take it to Currys/PC World Trade Ins, and you’ll get just over £125. Mazuma will give you a slightly more reasonable £205.

However, take the time to list it on eBay, and you can expect around £313 – that’s more than twice as much as Currys/PC World would have given you. This isn’t just a one off – take a look at our comparison table below to see the sort of prices you could get for your phone.


The prices from the dedicated recycling sites are the quotes for the phones in good condition – there’s every chance this may be lowered on inspection should it not meet the criteria. The prices for models sold on eBay are an average price taken over a week.

3 Mobile recycling-Tech blog

It’s worth remembering that there will be fees if you’re selling on eBay and there is some chance involved with eBay being an auction site. However, even taking this into account, you’ll should still get much more for your mobile.

So, if you prefer profit over convenience, take the time to list your phone on eBay. We’ve given a few pointers below to ensure your sale goes smoothly.

Tips for selling on eBay

  • Phones with accessories and boxes will achieve a higher price
  • Photos and detailed descriptions will make your auction more attractive
  • Don’t forget that there are fees to consider, including listing and postage costs
  • Ensure you qualify for PayPal seller protection, which should cover you if anything goes wrong with the sale – PayPal Seller Protection
  • Most sales should complete without issue, but an unsatisfied customer can return the item under eBay’s Money Back Guarantee scheme.

Have your say

Have you had a good or bad experience when selling your old mobile phone via a website? Let us know in the comments section below.

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