Apple Trade-In (GiveBack) is a scam (via Brightstar)

Apple run a Trade-In scheme (previously called Apple GiveBack) which lets you trade in your old device for a credit against a new device. There are lots of trade-in companies in the UK and some offer cash, gift cards, etc but Apple’s own scheme offers you a credit/discount against a new Apple device and they seemed to offer good trade-in prices too.

However, the scheme seems to be underwritten and handled by Brightstar and I had two separate trade-ins dramtically reduced in value when they received the devices.

My iPhone 6 was reduced from £140 to £60. No reason given.

My iPhone 7 was reduced from £225 to £160 saying it was locked to a network when it was bought SIM Free direct from Apple.

In both instances they just assumed I’d accept the lower value and issued gift cards for the lower prices. I anticipated something like this might happen so I made sure I documented, photographed and took videos of each device before shipping them. When challenged they instantly rolled over and blamed a “system error” for the reduced valuation and generated a separate gift card for the difference but I wonder how many people don’t have this evidence and just accept the lower value unecessarily.

If you receive an email from Brightstar stating “While inspecting your <device> we noted the following….This changes your trade-in value from £XXX to £YY” do not simply accept it and assume they are correct. You should ALWAYS CHALLENGE the inspection, especially when no reason is given. You should also ensure you take lots of photographs and a video that show the device operating perfectly before you ship it off to Apple GiveBack. I reached out to Apple for comments on this and sent them the emails to let them know Brightstar are trying to rip off their loyal customer base. I’ve yet to receive a response from Apple but thought it best to warn others who might be thinking of using Apple’s Trade-in program to think twice.

Email from Brightstar saying trade in reduced from £140 to £60 with just a blank section where the explanation should be.
iPhone 6 quoted value dropped from £140 to £60 with no reasons given.
iPhone 7 trade in value reduced from £225 to £160, apparently because the device is “locked” even though it’s a SIM free unit bought direct from Apple and logged out of iCloud and reset to factory.
Eventually Brighstar honor the two original quoted values.

4 Replies to “Apple Trade-In (GiveBack) is a scam (via Brightstar)”

  1. I gave truthful answers to all the trade in questions and was given a price of £200 for an ipad pro in genuinely perfect condition. This was reduced to nil on receipt with claims about spots and distortion on the screen. When returned the ipad was covered is dirty fingerprints. No evidence of screen faults whatsoever. This practice by Apple is fraudulent if the offer to trade in is an inducement to purchase and Apple knowingly allows this dishonest practice to continue. So disappointing and even a great brand cannot expect to get away with this without damage to its reputation.

  2. My experience is even worse! I was given an estimated trade in of £280 for an iMac. I have just received a message similar to those above saying value reassessed as £0! The explanation is they found a problem with the display – which was working perfectly well before I sent it to them.
    I intend to complain to Brightstar and to Apple.

  3. Thank you so much for this article. I thought I was going crazy when I received exactly the same email from them, quote reduced, no explanation why. But it gets even better, my laptop is still with the courier and I have a proof of it (updates from DPD and my chasing emails). So they reduced the quote before even seeing the laptop! I’m investigating it now and definitely not going to let them get away with it.

  4. Yes, I’ve been ripped off by Brightstar too. Asked for a trade in for my iPad – perfect working order, always been stored in a proper case and they said the backlight wasn’t working properly, so reduced to zero. Same with my iphone, they said the same thing!!!
    Complete bandits as there was nothing wrong with either device!

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