Thursday, Apr 15, 2021, 15:29 Hardware

Apple's Trade-In program & Phobio – Criticism And Even Allegations of Fraud

Apple has intensively promoted its own trade-in program for older hardware for years. In some cases, Apple even quotes prices with asterisks, which only come about when the user also returned a previous device to Apple. While it is pretty straightforward to lower the purchase price this way, there is one major reason against using it: The purchase sums are almost always ridiculously low - between 30 and 50% below market value is not uncommon. An iPhone 11 Pro Max with 512 GB storage capacity in impeccable condition is worth just $515 when traded in. If you sell it regularly, the street prices are $800 or more. However, several complaints about the process of the program itself - more precisely about the partner that handles it for Apple.

Apple's service partner increasingly criticized
In the U.S. and several other countries, Apple relies on a provider called Phobio, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. According to reports, there is an alarming accumulation of complaints that do not match Apple's other support and processing quality. For example, more and more users are reporting surprising feedback from Phobio - more specifically, about alleged defects. The already low purchase prices drop drastically if the devices are no longer in mint condition. This is exactly what happened in many cases, because Apple's service partner informed the user that they could only pay half the price due to strange product defects. Of course, the user can then cancel the trade-in, but many will settle for even less due to convenience.

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Strange, incomprehensible defects
One example of many: One developer has been offered just 140 Dollars for his 2017 MacBook - allegedly because the display had several defective spots. While one can wonder why he thought the original $340 was an attractive offer, $140 is no longer comprehensible in any case. As the developer pointed out to The Verge and also provided his MacBook as proof: The notebook is in impeccable condition, and there is no question of "more than three white spots on the display". However, he is not alone with complaints of this kind, because more and more similar reports have appeared in the past months. Apple has not issued a statement in this regard, although we can assume that Cupertino is closely monitoring the issue.

Warnings on Reddit and other sites
Meanwhile, criticism of Apple and Phobio is growing louder in social media - with explicit warnings on Reddit and other platforms not to take advantage of the trade-in program under any circumstances. As already stated in earlier discussions: Those who want to sell used Apple devices can usually enjoy high value retention. Therefore, you should check very carefully whether the convenience of the trade-in is worth the high discount.

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