How does make money? is my new favorite website but I have no idea how they stay in business. The idea is you send them your old computers, cell phone, electronics, etc (shipping is paid by them), and they recycle them for scrap and/or resell them, and then send you a check for the recycle value. There is no fee to you (not even shipping costs).
I’ve done it twice – the first time was for a four year old laptop, and then sent me a check for $48. The second time was for my year old IPhone 3G – they gave me $202 for it. Which is pretty amazing considering I paid only $199 for it a year ago. HOW DO THEY DO IT???
Now granted, when I bought the iphone for $199, there was also a hidden cost built into the monthly cell phone fees, so the true cost was higher than I paid. I get that. But even so, how in the world can make a profit buying my used Iphones for that much?
I’m sure the electronics in that four year old laptop are worth something as recycled scrap, but are there really so many recycle buyers that can make a profit by paying me $48 for the laptop (plus their shipping costs), inspecting it, taking it apart for scrap, and then selling off the used pieces?
Are there really people out there willing to pay more than $202 for my old Iphone 3G (especially considering you can get a brand new from apple for only $99, and a refurbished one for $49 if you’re willing to sign up for a contract)?

I keep thinking they must be ripping me off somehow, but so far, all that’s happened is they sent me checks, exactly as they promised. So how are they making a profit at this?

This actually isn’t too informative, but someone else has it on their mind . . . .

Those items are both easily worth several times what you were paid for them.

I recycle my electronics locally. In turn, they give me a blank tax form where I fill in the amount (dollar value) and apply it to my income taxes.

To who? The Iphone I could understand maybe since those are hot. But my four year old HP laptop? I only paid like $700-800 for it brand new four years ago, and technology has come a long way since then. This old laptop had only 512 megs of memory, which was decent back then, but these days, 6-8 times that is standard. Same thing with the processor and everything else. It’s seriously out of date, and you could buy a brand new netbook that’s considerably more powerful for only about $400.
To whom is that old laptop worth several times what I got? Do people buy the laptop whole? Or do they buy it in pieces?

A netbook probably isn’t more powerful than your old laptop. Netbooks are like Pentium 3s.

I can see the iPhone since it will untethered.

The laptop, I can also see since if it was working, its a working laptop. Last year, I sold my 2003 Dell Inspiron 8200, P4-M 2.0GHz, with 1GB RAM, 1600x1200 w/dedicated Rage 8000M 64MB, valid XP license, and 60GB HDD for $200 off of CL. That may sound like way too much but that’s what i sold it for. Consider what it costs to just buy XP? A laptop with a dedicated video card and with a 1600x1200 screen? $200 is a pretty good deal and a netbook with its crappy integrated video and low-res screen will be nice for an airplane flight and an internet hobby. But, mostly unusable for anything really productive.

So, I’d have to know the specs of your laptop but I bet you could have gotten more off of CL for it. Especially if it was fully functional and the XP sticker on the bottom had a valid key code.

But, other parts are worth money like the LCD screen w/inverter, a pretty common item that needs replacing and they go for at least $50. Mainboard as well will go for $50. That XP sticker is valid for an OS. So, I’m seeing at least $150 here maybe more.


I’m shocked – shocked! – by that price. I just checked and they have a brand new 15.6 inch computer from Acer that is superior on every single single spec you mentioned. And they’re selling it for only $329.99.

OK, granted, Acer is a bit of an off-brand. But even if you want a namebrand like Dell or HP, BestBuy is selling similarly equipped machines from them that are also brand new, much more powerful than your 2003 machine, and still under $500.

Why in the world would anyone pay $200 for a computer from 2003 when they can get something much more powerful (and brand new and still under warranty!) for only a little more?

I looked at its Web site and I’m sure they’re the most happiest people in the world. But what happens to the data? Just asking. No disrespect intended.

  • 65% isn’t “only a little bit more”
  • Many users do not need anything more than the specs provided by electronbee, so spending more could be a waste. Hell, I’ve more than once considered trading in my computer for a crippled older one since practically nothing I actually need it for (wordprocessing, reading text), as opposed to use it for (endless wasted hours on the internet, games) requires anything built in the last decade.
  • Yeah, $200 for those specs is a bit much

In my case, I manually deleted all my files and cleaned out my browser cookies, etc before sending it in. I assume some people probably forget to do that.
But that’s another argument for selling your computer to this company instead of a random guy on craigslist. This company has a reputation to risk if they try to steal your data, and plus they have well known contact info (and presumably deep enough pockets) where they could potentially be sued. But if you sell it to a guy on craigslist who steals your data, then you may not be able to find him again (and even if you do, he may not have enough money to justify suing him).

The only reason a netbook is even remotely valuable is because of the lightweight factor. And you can buy one for $200.

We’re talking about different things. Even if you’re happy with the specs of a used 2003 computer, I claim most people would still chose to spend the extra $129 to get a brand new machine instead of buying the used 2003 machine – not just because it’s more powerful (though that is a nice bonus) but because then you get a warranty, and the ability to return it to the store if it turns out to be a lemon. That’s very important when buying on craigslist.
After all – anytime you buy something from a guy on craigslist, you have to wonder “if this is such a good deal, then why is he selling it?” Maybe it’s because he got a newer one, but maybe it’s because he knows something’s wrong with it (the battery sucks or the X key sticks, etc).
Plus you don’t have to worry that BestBuy installed a secret data theft program on the computer, but you do have to worry about that when buying from a guy on craigslist.

Sure, if the price difference were $200 vs $1000, then you might take a chance on the 2003 computer. But $200 vs $329.99? The risk hardly seems worth it.

There’s quite a market in parts. If Apple can buy an old used iPhone and part it out among a dozen different repairs, that’s surely worth something to them - especially compared to the cost of retooling a factory line for a short run of an obsolete part.

If you look on eBay, you’ll find plenty of buyers for nonfunctional computers and laptops. They’re buying because they can still part them out for what does work.

So, let’s look at the value of an HP laptop for parts from a parts retailer:
[li] $20 to $80 for the keyboard alone.[/li][li] $170 for the 15.4" LCD screen.[/li][li]$50 to $80 for the LCD Inverter alone.[/li][/ul]

The economics make sense for the parts market. Few people buy a whole computer that’s 4 years old. But if you have a broken keyboard on 4-year-old computer, it’s much, much cheaper to have it repaired than to replace the whole computer. In that sense, used computers are a lot like used appliances - more valuable taken apart than they are as a whole unit.

I think the guy only had $200. If you only have $200 to spend then $350 plus tax is more than what you have. Not everyone has the disposable income to almost double-up on price. I was surprised myself. I listed it for $250, we got down to $200 and he bought it. I would have sold it for less as I had no real use for it anymore and I was just selling it off to buy my wife a Valentine’s Day gift. So, to nail it down, it was sold within the first week of February of last year. :slight_smile:

FYI, 99% of the time that’s probably good enough, but it’s that 1% that kills ya. At a minimum, you need to reformat your drives to nuke all the data, but personally, I never recycle operating drives with computers. I’ll take it out of the computer, fire up the power drill, and turn the platter into Swiss cheese before I hand it in to the recycler, separately.

You can also find a local recycler that shreds drives.

Better safe than sorry!

That may have been true a year or so ago, but the Atom-based machines that became widely popular in the second half of last year are a fair bit better - they outperform P4s, in my experience.

The latest crop is better still (the spec was actually capped so that they could meet Microsoft’s definition of ‘low powered computer’ and have XP on them) - the current ones are selling with Windows 7 on them.