Trade InSource: Apple

What you need to know

  • A report claims that increases in third-party repairs may have led to Apple reducing prices for its Trade In program.
  • Apple drastically reduced Trade in values overnight earlier this month.
  • The report suggests that people repeatedly trading in phones with third-party components reduces the value of the devices.

A report from Forbes suggests that Apple's decision to significantly reduce Trade In prices for some devices may have been driven by an increase in devices being traded in with third-party components.

On January 10, it emerged that Apple had drastically cut the trade-in value of many its devices by up to $100, or one-sixth of the original value. At the time, there was no indication as to what might be behind the move, and no seemingly regular pattern. The iPhone XS Max, which had been available to trade in since September, saw its value fall from $600 to $500 overnight, despite there being no significant release that might have explained why the phone was now worth less. The changes were worldwide, being reported in the US, as well as the UK and Germany.

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Now, a Forbes report citing two anonymous Apple employees claims that an increase in third-party repairs, and devices being traded in with third-party components, may be to blame.

The report notes that Apple does not set its own Trade In prices, but rather it uses partners for trade-in and recycling. This is publicly available information and is stated in the small print on Apple's Trade In page In the UK for example, Brightstar provides the service. As one of the employees noted:

"Apple buys those phones on behalf of a third party company. Apple does not set those prices… Apple ships the collected phones at the end of each day to two different companies, one who purchases higher-end and another lower-end generally split at the 2017 manufacturing mark."

Another employee confirmed this, and also claimed that "the primary reason" for the drop in prices was ""people repeatedly turning in phones with third party parts that cut the value." As the report states:

"Apple has no control of the pricing or when it changes and those prices can drop on us when customers bring in phones that have had original Apple parts harvested and replaced with lesser third party parts to our buyers' dismay."

Naturally, if you were to have your iPhone's display or battery replaced by a third-party repair service that wasn't an Authorized Service Provider using official parts, you can imagine how if you traded that device in, it might not be worth as much to a recycling service as initially thought.

Apple only spoke to Forbes to confirm that reductions were worldwide, but wouldn't comment on pricing or any third parties involved.

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