iPhone trade-in

Why We’re Not Worried About Apple’s iPhone Trade-in Program

It’s here, Canada. Apple has brought its iPhone Trade-in program to the Great White North.

The techie corners of the internet are buzzing with the news. It is especially intriguing for those of us with a clear stake in the iPhone resale market. Will they offer competitive prices? More convenience? We read the announcement with the measured concern you could expected from a start-up devoted to buying and selling used iPhones.

The news didn’t come as a total surprise. Apple launched a similar program in the US last August and had previously allowed Canadians to mail their older-generation devices to the company for recycling. Until now, Apple had not been offering credit incentives to trade in old phones.

iPhone Trade-in Program

We collectively exhaled when we read the details of Apple’s new service: customers trade-in their used devices and receive store credit toward an on-the-spot purchase. With prices comparable to other trade-in programs, the switch brings Apple in line with other mobile device giants, like Telus and Best Buy, who have been operating similar programs for some time now. Not to mention the cottage industry of used device sales that occur on platforms like eBay, Craigslist, or Kijiji–the veritable wild west of iPhone resales.

Apple’s iPhone trade-in, with its maximum value capped at $275 dollars, potentially offers a slightly better return than big chains like Best Buy. Though this still places the Apple iPhone trade-in program comfortably within the category that we call the Liquidators, which offer a convenient sales process in exchange for more than 35% of your device’s value.

The difference

What makes Apple a bit different from the other programs out there is that, to trade-in their used phones for credit, customers must be walking out of the store with a new iPhone and a new wireless carrier contract.

That means you walk into the Apple store with a working iPhone to trade-in and you must walk out with a brand new iPhone. No gift cards to put towards other products, no waiting until the model you want comes back in stock. And, of course, 2 more years of a wireless contract.

What does that mean for us at Orchard?

We are staying our course; we will continue offering what we consider to be the perfect balance between convenience and price. And we will continue to do it without requiring you sign up for a contract. We’ll help you sell even if you don’t want to buy from us and we’ll help you buy if you don’t want to sell your old phone with us.

Orchard specializes in enabling both buying and selling of high quality used iPhones. That means we’re here for a lot more than just trade-ins.

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4 comments

  • Samuel Lai 2 October, 2014   Reply →

    But it’s not true one has to be put onto a new contract once trade-in occurs in an Apple Retail Store. I’ve been told by them my iPhone as an unlocked device doesn’t require a contractual agreement with a trade-in. Most iPhone owners sell their old iPhone in order to buy a new one and not to buy something else from Apple. As such Apple’s trade-in doesn’t have any disadvantage there. Few iPhone owners sell to profit from it alone. Plus, one can always ask what’s in stock prior to completing the trade-in. And most iPhone owners live within range of an Apple Retail Store where most would prefer transacting with an associate for immediate action. It’s an experience that’s quicker, safer, confidence-inspiring and comes without delayed gratification not waiting, provided they want what’s in stock. I’d choose that over selling to a small establishment anytime despite the lower reimbursement compared to selling to a third party.

    • Samuel Lai 3 October, 2014   Reply →

      I think few iPhone owners sell their older model in order to buy a used model that’s superior to what they sold. Most owners sell in order to buy the latest releases. Fewer still are those who sell in order to buy a smartphone that isn’t an iPhone.

    • Orchard 6 October, 2014   Reply →

      Hi Samuel,



      Thanks for your thoughtful response. :)


      While your thoughts on third party options are totally valid, they aren’t representative of all iPhone owners. Based on the data we’ve collected from our customers, there are users who prioritize value over speed or convenience. While around 70% of our users are selling to help pay for the cost of an upgrade, more than half of them considered selling on Craigslist or Kijiji before us while under 20% of them considered a trade-in program. We think this nicely speaks to our initial point from our exchange on Twitter: our business structure is different and thus we have different customers.

      As someone interested in the trade-in/resale market, you might be interested in checking out some great data compiled by CIRP LLC from February 2014. They found that less than 40% of sellers go through their carrier, while only 5% go through Apple. We’re curious to see how Apple’s share develops since their trade-in program, especially if they can mobilize the more than 1/3rd of iPhone owners who do not sell or trade-in their old phones.

      • Samuel Lai 7 October, 2014   Reply →

        What about the risk of losing a shipment to Orchard? How likely is this, and in the event it does, is it fully insured?

        How much it deducted from the appraisal for service fees?

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