Plus: T-Mobile Trade-In Scams to Watch Out For

How to Trade in Your Phone at T-Mobile

Our expert team can help you submit an official legal claim against T-Mobile for free.

Trading in an old device is an opportunity for you to reduce the cost of getting a new device. When you trade in an existing cell phone you can see reduced start-up costs or get some initial credit to help you toward the purchase of a new device.

What Are Trade-In Deals?

Trade-in deals are situations where you qualify for a specific deal either through T-Mobile or a third-party. In most cases T-Mobile offers trade-in deals when you activate a new cell phone line, take out a new contract, or in an attempt to get you to switch to their services if you are not an existing T-Mobile customer.

Best Trade-in Deals for T-Mobile

T-Mobile trade-in deals

The safest deal you will find comes directly from T-Mobile because you will know definitively that the phone you have traded is applicable with your sim card and your service provider. T mobile makes it quite easy to trade in your phone.

  1. Fill out a quick estimate of your carrier, the device manufacturer, and the device model.
  2. Receive your quote from T-Mobile.
  3. Either go into a physical store to trade in your phone immediately or use the My T-Mobile online option to print a label, ship your old phone, and then order your new phone.

New or current T-Mobile users can trade in a device if they have what is considered a qualifying transaction this includes:

  • Activating a new line
  • Adding a line to your existing subscription
  • Upgrading with a device purchase

T-Mobile says you are allowed to trade in one device per active line, per month when you upgrade or activate a new line on your account. 

Third Party trade-in deals

There are plenty of situations where third parties offer reputable ways to trade in your phone when T-Mobile doesn’t give you the estimate you want or you don’t qualify for a current T-Mobile trade in opportunity.

 With third parties you are not bound by the same restrictions as T-Mobile and you can choose to trade in a new cell phone at any time. You might have one or two extra cell phones lying around that are older but still in good shape in which case third-parties theoretically give you a chance to trade those in for cash or exchange them for a different phone.

With many of these companies the steps are the same such that as with T-Mobile:

  1. Fill out their quick estimator waste details of your carrier, the device manufacturer, as well as the device model.
  2. Receive a quote from the company based on the current condition of your device.
  3. Either visit a physical store or trade your phone in online. Be advised that most third-party trade in services are online so they would send you the shipping information and once you mail it in, give you your refund.

Trade-In Scams to Watch Out For 

The Wrong trade-in value

Some common trade-in scams from T-Mobile take the form of being quoted a specific amount and then not receiving that total value or in some situations being provided a quote that is much lower than the phone is worth.

Third party scammers

Third-party device trade-in “deals” might be scams. Forbes noted that every year 29 million cell phones disappear because of scams. There are two main scams that happened on places like Craigslist, eBay, and other third-party websites, and in some cases even through fraudulent cell phone insurance providers.

Reporting the phone lost or stolen

In this case, the company or individual purportedly offering you a good trade-in value for your device trade-in, received the device and then claims it was stolen. In these cases the nefarious party can actually submit for insurance compensation because of “stolen” or “lost” device either through the postal service or through an insurance provider.

Nonetheless if they claimed it was not received, they don’t have to offer you compensation.

Tangentially, not receiving a device can disqualify you from receiving compensation even through a reputable trade-in deal from T-Mobile which is why T-Mobile suggests you come to a store nearby first and if that’s not possible use extra tracking and shipping on the package.

Selling a stolen or blacklisted phone

The second most common type of scams especially off places like eBay or Craigslist is being sold a stolen or blacklisted phone when you trade in your old device. This might happen when a deal seems otherwise complete and you receive your new phone after getting a great trade-in value, but then the device is locked or simply won’t work at all.

To combat this you can check the CTIA’s Stolen Phone Checker online to verify that a phone is not stolen or blacklisted.

Moreover, if you go to a local carrier, you should get a completed bill of sale and verify the identity of the seller and their ownership of the phone you are trading in if you are getting a new device.

What to do if You’ve been Ripped off by a Trade-In Deal

There are still trade-in scams to watch out for. The FTC provides consumer information about what to do if you were scammed and how to report it to them.

If you report your complaint to the FTC it can help the organization stop the third-party scammers from taking advantage of others, but it won’t help you get your money back or your phone back. It also won’t help you address  situations where you didn’t receive the correct compensation from T-Mobile or they refuse to honor a qualifying trade-in deal.

When that happens, turn to arbitration. Arbitration allows you to present your case in front of a neutral, third-party arbitrator and we can help. 

FairShake helps put the power back in your hands

Learn More