eBay vs CEX vs Vendi: Where’s best to sell your tech?

With the smartest phones getting pricier with each launch, you can raise some serious cash from flogging your old tech online to fund your new purchases – but as long as you do your research first.

There are more places than ever to sell your gear, but which one you choose can dramatically affect how much money you can make, and how safe the sale is.

Recycling and trading websites specialise in buying secondhand handsets, but how much you’ll get will vary depending on which one you use and the condition of your tech.

In some cases, your gadget will need to be verified or, if bought by a reseller, could lead to a drop in the offer originally made.

Done right, you could be like tech repair obsessive, Wayne Stringer, who told us he has made thousands of pounds selling his preloved tech on Vendi.

Who offers the most cash?

Trading websites and shops like CEX save you loads of hassle, but they won’t make you as much money as you can get elsewhere. On the other hand, they do have High Street stores, so if you’re in a hurry and need cash from a mobile phone sale quick, it might be a good place to go. If you’re online, beware that the original quote might be significantly lower once you send the phone to them and they inspect it, as many users have reported. Assuming you’ll get the same price as they quoted you originally, let’s look at one of the most popular phones, the iPhone SE (2020) 64GB. What would CEX give you for a new one (say an unwanted gift, for instance)? As of writing, they’ll give you at most £176.00 for a model selling at John Lewis for its RRP of £399.00.

With peer to peer (p2p) sites – people like you and me selling to each other, and occasionally very small businesses – you can often get more for your money, as you set the minimum price you’ll accept. This is the case for eBay and Vendi, which are both p2p marketplaces, online and via their slick apps. Of course, with many other products on the market, it pays to price your product competitively.

While eBay and Vendi both allow you to get the maximum price for your device, they both charge fees. eBay charges a whopping 12.8% of your final sale price as well as your postage and any related taxes, which can really eat into your profits. So for the same iPhone SE, which typically fetches around £350, you’ll give eBay £45.00. But you’ll still pocket £305, which is £129.00 better than CEX. Tidy.

Vendi goes one better on the fees front, however. It only charges a mere 3% + £10 to cover its clever verification process which I’ll come onto shortly. So for the same sale, you’ll only pay £20.00. That means you’ll pocket £330, which is £35.00 better than eBay and almost DOUBLE – £164.00 – more than CEX. Now we’re talking! 

How quickly can you sell

There’s no question, quick CEX is for people in a hurry, who don’t mind potentially losing almost half the value they could get on a site like Vendi. Simply visit one of the many stores they have dotted around the country, and staff will inspect the phone there and then (between 20 minutes to an hour). Once you’re signed up as a member, they’ll give you a quote which you can take or leave, either in the form of cash or in-store credit. Job done. If you transact online, expect the process to take longer due to posting the products.

eBay and Vendi take longer than an in-store transaction, but same day sales and payments are possible. Your product might take some time to sell, but equally it could sell as soon as it’s listed, and could be en route to the buyer the same day.

With eBay, you’re sending the product directly to the customer, so you could list it and post it the same day. But, you can have problems with buyers; you never know if they’ll pay, or if they’ll pay on time, or flake out of the sale, and if you’re particularly unlucky, might be paid in counterfeit money. An eBay seller, Rachna Sadana, recently sold a pair of AirPods Pro and agreed to an in-person collection. She took the money and only later noticed the notes all had the same serial number which means they were copied. When she contacted the buyer he got aggressive. She passed his details onto the police who eventually arrested the buyer. Thankfully Sadana got her Airpods Pro back, but the experience left her shaken up.

Vendi’s process is a little different from eBay but you can still list and sell on the same day, and even be paid the same day. Rather than send it direct to the customer, you send your device to Vendi, who inspect it, pay you, then package it nicely for the customer and courier it to them. One customer bought a device at 8.30 am and received it two hours later.

Am I safe from scammers?

Unfortunately, fraudsters have gone into overdrive over the past 12 months. Some local authorities have reported a 40% jump in complaints about fake items, the Local Government Association have said. The financial ombudsman has also seen an approximate 50% increase in complaints about scams and fraud. And Apple has said it gets millions of fake products every year removed from online marketplaces. Sadly, due to their rise in value, high end smart phones and their accessories are the most counterfeited products. These can be more than dodgy and disappointing, they can be downright dangerous, with even their chargers representing risk through lack of proper insulation.

With CEX one thing you can be sure of is you won’t be scammed. Though people online often report feeling gouged, or annoyed with inconsistent customer service which varies from store to store, all products are inspected carefully before sale. Sadly, eBay certainly can’t say that as it doesn’t verify any items before sale.

Generally on eBay items only sell well if the seller has built up a history of reviews to show they can be trusted. Today, even the review model system doesn’t lead to trust, as investigations by the likes of Which? have found that fake 5 star reviews are now easily bought in bulk. When 5 star sellers can’t be trusted, and instead some sell millions of pounds worth of fake devices in the UK every year, buying becomes riskier. 

Vendi has a solution. It uniquely uses a clever AI and a team of trained, expert authenticators to inspect every single product sold. So sellers don’t need reviews to sell, they instantly are trusted thanks to the verification, which means that their target shoppers can buy with total confidence. It’s a model that works, as the service’s Trustpilot scores show.

When it comes to trust, Vendi and Cex offer more reassurance than eBay.

Overall

My personal preference is for Vendi. It’s part of a new breed of P2P marketplaces, doing for mobile devices what Depop has for clothing, Etsy for crafts and StockX for sneakers.

Shoppers describe the service as being just as good as the Apple store, but obviously for them the discounts on new products are great, from 18% right up to 70%. As a seller, the shopping experience is the same for used as it is for new, I know that anyone who buys my stuff is going to have a consistent, quality experience, that even I can’t mess up with duff packaging and sluggish postage! And I don’t have to worry about time wasters or scammers, thankfully. 

Most of all, the trust factor is where Vendi feels really modern. Sure, CEX verifies all products, but Vendi’s AI element seems the most ready to tackle the rising tide of scammers and counterfeiters. And of course, CEX isn’t peer to peer. So as a seller, Vendi’s scam-free guarantee reflects not just well on Vendi, but on every seller that lists anything for sale on it. And that’s good for me and anyone who buys one of my gadgets.

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