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Cash for Clunkers: Best Buy Offers Buy Back Program for Obsolete Electronics

pile of e-waste

Best Buy is offering a profitable solution for electronics hoarders with its just-announced Buy Back program, which allows customers to give back old electronics in exchange for significant amounts of cash. Here’s how it works.

Starting this month, customers can opt into the buyback program whenever they buy a laptop, netbook, tablets, post-paid cell phones, or television. A customer buying a new laptop, for example, can purchase the Buy Back program for
$69.99. Best Buy will then guarantee that it will buy back the laptop within two years, with customers able to get up to 50% of the purchase price back as long as the device is in good working condition.

Once Best Buy has repurchased a device, it will be resold, refurbished, or recycled. It won’t go into a landfill, unlike the countless other electronics tossed into the trash by consumers.

“A program like Best Buy’s Buy Back should encourage higher consumption
by early adopters and fast followers that are considering new
technologies, because it gives them confidence that the electronic
devices they have just purchased will have real value going forward,”
said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis for NPD Group, in a statement.

The program will also assist Best Buy in reaching its goal of collecting one billion pounds of e-waste over the next five years. Would it be more environmentally sound for consumers to simply stick with the same personal electronics for years on end? Of course. But that’s not going to happen anytime soon, and Best Buy’s program is at least a smart stopgap solution.

Ariel Schwartz can be reached on Twitter or by email.AS