Think Hard Before Signing Up for an Electronics Buy-Back Programs


Technology buy-back programs may be a good way to keep up with the Joneses, but the U.S. Better Business Bureau cautioned consumers to examine the advantages and disadvantages before locking into a program.

Retailers like Best Buy, Radio Shack and Walmart have buy-back programs designed to keep consumers up to date on the latest gizmos. Consumers pay an upfront fee to get into the programs, and in return, the retailer will give the consumers store credit equal to what the used gadget is worth based on its age -- the newer it is, the more money it's worth.

Under Best Buy's program, for instance, a product that a consumer has had for six months or less would get 50% of its purchase price. So a laptop that cost $1,200 would have a buy-back price of $600 within the first six months -- once the consumer has paid $49.99 to get into the program. (Check out our previously published tips on figuring out whether the Best Buy program is worth it.)