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Think twice before using ‘cash for laptops’ sites

Which? research reveals poor payouts

Selling your laptop at specialist ‘cash for laptop’ sites could net you less than a quarter of what you’d get by selling it yourself on eBay. 

A Which? Computing investigation tested what the sites webuyanylaptop.co.uk, buymylaptop.co.uk, sellyourlaptops.co.uk, and laptoptrade-in.co.uk offered for a range of two-year-old laptops.

Which? found that while these laptop-buying sites may be user-friendly, they offered just a fraction of their value. The investigation also tested Asda’s Tech Trade-in scheme, which in one instance offered almost six times less than eBay for the same laptop.

Laptops quickly depreciate in value

We also found that laptops quickly depreciate in value. For a 2009 13in MacBook, worth £1,125 in 2009, sellyourlaptops.co.uk only offered £67, despite eBay selling it for £350. Likewise, the Acer Aspite 8920G was worth £750 in 2009, but webuyanylaptop.co.uk offered just £87 (see table below). 

Selling your laptop online – are you getting a good deal?
  Model
Website Dell Studio 15 Acer Inspire 8920G HP Pavillion DV3505EA Toshiba Satellite P100-227 2009 13In Macbook
Retail price £649 £750 £650 £750 £1125
We Buy Any Laptop £55 £87 £57 £44 Not sold
Buy My Laptop £100 £99 £86 £47 £202
Sell Your Laptops £82 £92 £74 £37 £67
Laptop Trade-in £104 £104 £90 £44 £90
Asda Tech Trade-in £75 £75 £75 £75 Not sold
EBay £215 £410 Not sold Not sold £410

Table notes

  1. eBay prices were the best prices on offer when we carried out our tests in November 2011.

Disposing of laptops

Our research discovered people’s preference for giving away old laptops rather than selling them. Some 44% of people who buy a new laptop to replace an old model would give it to a friend, while 11% would recycle it.

Similarly, 43% who said they wouldn’t sell their laptop would rather give it to someone who can’t afford one. Charities like ComputerAid offer people the opportunity to donate old laptops and computers, which are then refurbished for use in education, health, agriculture and the not-for-profit sector in developing countries. 

Remove your data before selling a laptop

Before giving away your laptop you must remove any private and valuable data yourself. ComputerAid told us it uses OnTrack Eraser, which it said has been approved by the UK secret services to wipe data. 

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