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Get What You Really Want! A Guide to Store Trade-In Policies

Now that the holidays are over, you can return unwanted gifts for store credit or even cash. Amazon, Gazelle, Target, and others all have trade-in programs, but rules vary.
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Now that the gifts are all unwrapped, your house is probably feeling a little bit cramped. Luckily, you can trade your excess loot in for cash, gift cards, or other goods at several sites and stores. It isn't like the old school days of swapping in your used punk rock CDs for a few extra bucks either. Some big name retailers have gotten in on the game, and you can swap or trade in just about anything.

Most places will take both used and new items (so you can swap your old stuff and those gifts you didn't really want), but some places are better than others depending on what you have. To help you sort it out — and get through your post-holiday declutter faster — we break down seven popular trading services.

Amazon

The online giant offers a trade-in service for electronics, video games, movies and music, and text books.

You don't need to sign up for an account to use the trade-in service. You'll receive an immediate offer and shipping is free. However, you'll only get Amazon gift cards for trades, and it can take up to 10 days to receive payment, according to the site.

Best For: Cameras and wearable devices. (Many other electronic trade-in services don't accept high value DSLR cameras.) You may also get the best price for used video games if you have the box and original materials, but price shop before you finalize the deal.


Gamestop

Gamestop accepts video games, consoles, and other small electronics like smartphones and tablets. You can receive either cash or store credit, but store credit offers are typically higher. But you'll have to do the deal in person, as Gamestop doesn't currently allow online trade-ins.

Best For: Used video games. Amazon offered slightly higher prices on some video game trades, but unlike Amazon, Gamestop offers the same price for used games with or without the box.


Target

Target offers a trade-in program in-store and online for electronics, video games, and DVDs. However, some categories like Apple and PC laptops can only be traded in-store. If you swap in-store, you'll get an instant quote and Target gift card for the value upfront. Online trades will take longer.

Best For: Tablets, MP3 players, and other small electronics traded in-store. Amazon offered slightly better trade-in values on some products like the Apple iPad 2, but Target offers instant gratification if you're looking for a quick trade.


Gazelle

Gazelle offers a buyback program for smartphones (from all major carriers), tablets, and some computers. Shipping is free and you can choose from three payment options: PayPal, check, or Amazon gift cards.

Best For: Recent model smartphones. Gazelle offered better trade-in value than Amazon and Target on some recent models. The site is also currently offering a $20 store credit for any customer who trades in.


Play It Again Sports

Play It Again Sports accepts all sorts of used sporting goods. Trades have to be completed in-store and the company offers both cash payments and store credit. However, if you take store credit, you can get 20% to 30% more, according to the company website.

Best For: Kids sporting equipment. Trade in your kids' outgrown or unwanted sporting equipment for other gently used products in their size and you'll save a bundle.


PaperBackSwap

PaperBackSwap is an online swapping community for used books. Members post books they want to part with. Other members review available books and request the ones they want. For every book you mail out, you'll receive a credit to "purchase" a new book from another member. The site is free to use, but you will have to pay shipping for books you send to other members.

Best For: Popular fiction. Since PaperBackSwap works on supply and demand, you'll have more offers (and a better chance at finding what you want to read) if you're into popular fiction.


Swap.com

Swap.com is an online consignment store. The site works a little differently than other trade in programs, but is great for shedding off all those non-electronic items taking up space in your house. To sell an item, you send it in to the site. The items are photographed and posted for you and you can accept offers online. If your items don't sell, you can sell directly to swap.com, have the items shipped back for a fee, or donate to charity.

Best For: Women and children's clothing, and accessories. Swap.com does accept other items like home decor and toys, but the site's bread and butter is gently used clothing and accessories.

Have you tried any of these services? Where's your favorite place to trade-in your loot? Share your finds in the comments below.


Contributing Writer

Angela Colley has covered everything from money saving technology to how the Mayans might affect your savings. She’s appeared on publications like MainStreet and MSN Money. You can follow her on Twitter @angelancolley.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Unless marked as a "Sponsored Deal," the opinions expressed here are those of the author and have not been reviewed or endorsed by the companies mentioned. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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