EBay Instant Sale shut down. Three alternatives.

EBay Instant Sale's end means one less outlet for consumers to trade in their old electronics. But there are still a few viable options. 

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    Bostonians cashed in their tech at the eBay Instant Sale Truck, shown last year in Cambridge, Mass. EBay shut down the program earlier this month.
    Bizuayehu Tesfaye/AP Images for eBay Instant Sale/File
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If you want to trade in, say, an old cell phone, you can weigh its estimated resale value from a host of electronics recycling programs. But the number of these services has recently shrunk. The ever-popular Gazelle last year changed the type of gadgets it accepts to focus almost exclusively on more profitable Apple products, and just two weeks ago, eBay shut down its Instant Sale program.

Launched in October 2010 and grown from the idea of "resell, reuse, recycle," eBay Instant Sale partnered with reputable third-party AllTechWholesale to resell electronics purchased directly from eBay customers. Instant Sale offered consumers immediate quotes and payments for their electronics, which seemed to compliment the site's reputation for auctions and buy-it-now sales. All in all, the service had made 4 million offers in the United States since 2011. But it would appear that eBay's recent rebranding efforts aimed at generating a "more simplified and personalized selling experience" have at least temporarily suspended the trade-in program.

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Even with the absence of Instant Sale, there are still a number of reputable and competitive electronics recycling services available. Consumers can still turn to the likes of NextWorth, Glyde, Amazon, and specific electronics manufacturers (like HP, Sony, and Toshiba, to name a few) for competitive resale prices on old electronics. Moreover, a Google Shopping-esque site called Flipsy launched recently, that allows users to compare trade-in offers across several sites in one fell swoop.

On the flip side of the resale market, will the shuttering of Instant Sale make it more difficult to find a deal on a refurbished or used iPad on eBay? Unlikely, as a not-so-mysterious-anymore eBay store has been undercutting Apple's own prices on refurbished devices. But having one less outlet for selling off and re-using recycled devices could mean an overstock of obsolete electronics in other outlets and subsequently less cash in hand for consumers looking to trade up to current- and future- generation devices.

What do you think, readers? Have you traded-in any old electronics via NextWorth, Gazelle, or Instant Sale? Do you think the absence of an eBay trade-in program will affect the stock of used and refurbished devices available for purchase in the long run?

This article first appeared in

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