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Best Buy’s Buy Back Program, Why You Should Consider it.

Most of you know by now that Verizon’s  upgrade policy has changed and that their “New Every 2” and 1-year upgrade programs have come to an end leaving you wondering how on Earth you’ll be able to keep a phone on 2-year contract for an entire 20 months.  Things in mobile are changing so fast that it’s hard to imagine that you could be without an option to upgrade for almost 2 years, which in this field, is like 5 years.  That’s where Best Buy’s Buy Back program comes in.  Up until this point, we’ve sat back to see how this new scheme would work, and thanks to our friends at BB, we have all the details you need.

How much does it cost? Let’s use the HTC Thunderbolt as an example since it will likely be the first 4G device from Verizon to hit store shelves.  A potential situation would go something like this, should you walk into a Best Buy and decide today that you need a new phone.  As you enter, you’ll be greeted with a ton of phone options, one of them being the DROID Incredible for $1 which you decide to buy while signing a 2-year  contract to get that insanely low price.

The BB employee will then ask if you want to purchase the Buy Back program for $60, leaving you with a $61 charge in order to get into that Incredible.  This is where we suggest that you jump right in.  You will then ask, “What are the benefits of the program?”

How does it work? You are about to spend $1 on an Incredible, plus the $60 for the Buy Back program and this is why.  Once you make that purchase, you will now have 2 years to sell that Incredible back to Best Buy should some other device come out that excites you.  What we should point out though, is the fact that even though you paid $1 for the phone, Best Buy treats it as if you paid $599 aka full retail price for it.  So this is where the good stuff happens.

How much can you sell it back for? Since Best Buy looks at your $1 purchase as being worth $599, you can receive up to half of that in return on a gift card within the first 6 months.  What does that mean exactly?  That means, that if the Thunderbolt comes out in March (which is within 6 months of you purchasing the Incredible), you can return that $1 Incredible and receive a $299 gift card to put towards the purchase of the first 4G LTE phone on the planet even though you are locked into a 2-year contract.  Now, in order to get your Thunderbolt, you’ll have to use the $299 gift card and purchase your new phone at full retail which could cost you another $300.  But isn’t that better than paying the full $599 should you be locked into a contract over at Verizon?

The longer you hang on to your Incredible, the value of it to Best Buy begins to drop in 6 month increments which you can see below…

The real cost? We should point out that since you’ve actually invested $61 (phone and Buy Back program), when you get your $299 gift card, that in reality it’s only worth about $238.  Not to try to confuse anyone, we just want to make sure you don’t forget the cost of the program.

Why not do it? If Verizon is going to remove all of their early upgrade incentives, then options like this one from Best Buy seem like a no-brainer.  This is obviously for the tech-obsessed who can’t hang on to the same phone for more than 6 months, but for those in that category, this will save you at least a few hundred dollars.

Anyone interested?  I am.

Additional details can be found here.

Cheers Jason!

  • Aavery1

    Sprint will buy back any old phone for free…even if you are not a Sprint customer. No contract needed. I purchased this contract and am now quite disappointed because I DOUBT they will refund me my money after having found this, however, Best Buy is the devil, so steer clear!

  • Anonymous

     Lol Droid Life is owned by Best Buy too? You gotta be kidding me.

  • wendyloo

    Why not just go do it at Target, they don’t charge anything for the service. There are many Target locations that take phones, iPhones, iPods and video games and give you a gift card on the spot.

  • Guest

    Considering I’m already in a contract, Could someone please explain how I would get out of the contract i would need to sign to get the subsidized phone(incredible). This whole plan seems good but it seems we would be locking ourself into a second contract. If I try to cancel the plan within 30 days, they will want the phone back, and I won’t have it because I will have already sold it to the them.

  • Conrad

    Complete scam you could easily sell it on your own for more money. I work for best buy and I would never recomend it or sell it

  • Nativi

    The only reason Droid Life put this up is to advertise for best buy… if you are smart and can see it clearly this is a scam. And why would best buy want to save me money when they are all about making money

  • Thilaire

    What about tax? BB will charge tax on the higher retail price of that $1 phone and not on the $1. So the cost will be $61 plus tax. I do not see the benefits. I usually change my phone every 20-24 months.

  • Anonymous

    I see this post is generating a lot of hate. All we’re doing is providing info since Verizon is changing their policies. You have two options in my opinion at this point, pay more for the phone and sign a 1-year contract or test out Best Buy’s new program.

  • Anonymous

    You can certainly “tarde” something.

  • Anonymous

    Minus the $60 buy-in. Math, people.

  • Dr. Tom Folligans

    How long can verizon actually hang on to this new policy? Sales will suffer as will contracts. Bad business…….

  • Jawshua

    Yes when I buy my next phone I’ll definitely be getting it from BB. I actually was only able to get my DROIDX from BB because the Verizon wait for my new DROIDX since my first one broke was going to be forever. The only downside is BB turns over phone numbers after only three months. So when I changed my number there I got a huge amount of phone calls for the person that had the phone number before me and I still do up until this day. So that is one way that BB sucks bad is turning over old phone numbers way too quick.

  • D1008713

    So if I got the droid pro on verizon can I tarde it in for a new phone on best buy!!

  • Iamsteventucker

    Craigslist is better, I don’t want to pay ebay to sell my phone. But we use Flipswap in our stores and basically do the same thing, you just don’t get nearly as much as you should back ha.

  • Jay468

    Its worth noting that even if you wait 20 months to get your upgrade, they’ll still offer you $120 for your old one. Its really a great option for early upgraders or folks who enjoyed the NE2 discount.

    • Gerardv514

      Minus the 60 you paid, so its basically saying their giving you $60 bucks toward the purchase of a new phone? Sounds better than verizons new every two $30 credit I was getting. 120-60 (that you paid for the program..leaves you with +60 ???

  • CIFchamp24

    The store I work at the program costs $40 for a $200 phone…..

  • just ebay it and you’ll end off better…

  • Dude

    Stick with me, this might be confusing but I found out how I’m getting my new LED TV on the cheap. I share a family plan with 4 other members of my family. Three of them have had the same phone for 4 years now and will keep them for at least that much longer. Four of us are up for renewal. I will just have two of them get the Incredible with the buy back option only to return them later for $299 ($238 net) each. Even if I pay for a months worth of data charges (I’d sign them up for the $15 data package) I’d still have a nice chunk of change going towards that TV. The reason I would only do 2 of the upgrades is because my brother and I will be getting new phones soon, but I could feasably get even more.

    • Brett

      why not buy them at Verizon for the two year contract price and sell them on craigslist for full retail? That should save you the data package fees and the buyback program fees…

  • Jesse Howeth

    A new high end phone generally retails for about $599. Verizon regularly offers the latest new high end phones for $199 w/ a 2 year contract. However, you can pay just an additional $70, bringing your total to $269, and only have a 1 year contract.

    $199 = 66% discount. Locked in for 2 years (actually 20 months)
    $269 = 55% discount. Locked in for 1 year (actually 10 months)

    If you purchase an exciting new high end phone shortly after it comes out, you can easily sell it for at least the $269 you paid for it 10 months ago, if not more. So essentially $70 more up front gives you a ton more flexibility, and not feeling like you’re stuck with a phone for too long.

    • JSK

      This. 1-year deals will become the new in-thing with Verizon. That is what I signed with my OG Droid. Now, I probably should have sold it sooner to maximize my profit but I wanted to hold out for a 4G/Dual Core phone. But now I expect to get the Bionic for $270 (hopefully) on a 1-year deal and I can probably get around $200 with all my accessories for my Droid.

      Much better idea than Best Buy

  • Rohicks

    “Things in mobile are changing so fast that it’s hard to imagine that you could be without an option to upgrade for almost 2 years, which in this field, is like 5 years.”

    lol serisouly?

    I’ve been with verizon for probably 10 or more years. I’ve been on their 2 year contract through all of those years. 2 years is not that long in phone technology, considering regular computing power doubles every 2 years.

    • Jesse Howeth

      I’ll have to disagree here. The first 2 Android phones launched in the fall of 2009 on VZW. It’s only 15 months later, and Android phones that have been out 6 months ago are like 4+ times as quick as the original Android phones, along with nicer screens and new options. Of course basic “feature” type phones (prior to the iPhone) didn’t change all that much over the years, which is why you were fine with keeping a phone for 2 years. Times have changed. Phone tech has been marching forward incredibly fast in the past 3 years.

      • Rob

        The first two Android phones launched in the fall of 2008 and summer of 2009 on T-Mobile.

  • Logic439

    Sounds like a decent idea.. Especially if you change phones alot. Definitely will keep this in mind

  • dbone

    Is BestBuy a sponsor on this site??

  • Anonymous

    Does Best buy offer 1 year contracts for verizon

  • If you get Buy Back and Black Tie Protection you get Buy back for 30 dollars 😉

  • In your scenario, you’ve paid $162 to rent an Incredible for 2 months. Really terrible advice.

    • Anonymous

      And you’re locked into a two-year contact and paid more than the subsidized price for your new phone. Horrible advice. There is a reason Best Buy is offering this, and it’s not to save you money.

      • Jay468

        How do you figure? You know if you upgrade with a 2yr contract you will have to pay full handset price if you want a new phone before 20 months. I’d rather pay 300 for the next phone I buy instead of 600, if I want to upgrade before my contract is due for renewal. They are helping you by creating a loophole in the carriers agreements.

        • Anonymous

          The new phone would cost you $150-$200 (typically) on contact. Even if the new 4G phones cost $250, you’ve just spent $300 plus the $61 for the Incredible in the example. You get hosed, plain and simple. It’s bad logic that makes people think this is a good idea.

          • Jay468

            Bro, L2Read. If you were going to wait on contract renewal, this doesnt concern you. If you are under contract, you pay $600-$650 for this phone. This allows you to upgrade early without paying more than half a grand. Also, and hey, this is especially for you seeing as you have a hard time grasping things, if you’re planning on waiting until your contract renewal for your next upgrade. If your device is worth $600 full retail, when you upgrade 20 months later they’ll give you $120 for your old phone.

            Math, try it. Its not terrible.

          • Anonymous

            Brah, I’m not an impatient imbecile who would even bother to upgrade 3 – 4 months prior to a new killer phone launch. This program is for idiots and people who “need” the latest and greatest. Best Buy is making money and you’re losing it. And like Viper76269 said below, they get to sell your phone again to someone else.

            A fool and his money are easily parted.

      • Viper76269

        it’s because they will be able to potentially, sell the product twice

      • Viper76269

        it’s because they will be able to potentially, sell the product twice

    • Ace87

      This post sounds more like a Best Buy advertisement than a news story.

      • Anonymous

        That’s because it is.

    • Jay468

      Prove this ridiculous math please. You’re paying $61 for the ability to get half off full handset price on a new phone in the next 6 months.

      • 1ofdakoolkidz

        One thing this article forgot to tell everyone is you don’t need a contract. You can pay full price at best buy and then still get half back within 6 months, also this is for all electronics not just phones. Using there scenario, I will buy a thunderbolt for $600 and then in July trade it in for a bionic(which will now cost 300) just like buying it subsidized but still no contract.

        • iamsteventucker

          so you’ll spend $900 on phones in 2.5 months? assuming the thunderbolt only cost $600

          • Anonymous

            $960, because the Buy Back program costs $60, too.

        • Anonymous

          $960, because the Buy Back program costs $60, too.

      • Scenario #1: $1 for the Incredible (with 2 year contract) + $60 Best Buy buy back + $300 Thunderbolt after buy back with $299 gift card – you’re out $361.

        Scenario #2: Wait for the Thunderbolt to come out. Phone will probably be $199 subsidized.

        $361 – $199 = $162.

        The Incredible is $1 because you’ve wasted your subsidy. You can make the numbers better and maybe break even, if you hold onto the Incredible for the full 6 months and the Thunderbolt’s price drops in the time. Overall it’s just not a not idea, this is essentially a new way to get “extended warranty” money from consumers.

        • Word

          Correct me if I’m wrong, the premise here is that you are in a contract and so you would only be eligible for subsidized pricing once your contract is up for renewal (2 years?) – So…

          Scenario #1: $361.00 (no effect on contract’s remaining length/terms)
          Scenario #2: $600.00 (no effect on contract’s remaining length/terms)

          Granted if you are out of contract then yes you would sign up as a “new customer,” starting a new contract and get the subsidized pricing, but this is about Verizon ditching the whole ‘you-get-to-cheat-our-contract-and-get-subsidized-pricing-even-though-you-haven’t-honored-your-full-contract-1-yr-upgrade-program.’

          • The $1 phone (which is actually now $0) is a subsidized price with a new contract or 2-year extension. They’re not just giving Incredibles away

          • Jay468

            Seriously bro, how are you not seeing that you can wait for your Thunderbolt, get subsidized pricing, and choose to get buyback on that.. in case you want to upgrade early, or in case you want to get $120 for it when you get your next phone. For real man, you love looking gift horses in the mouth.

        • Word

          Correct me if I’m wrong, the premise here is that you are in a contract and so you would only be eligible for subsidized pricing once your contract is up for renewal (2 years?) – So…

          Scenario #1: $361.00 (no effect on contract’s remaining length/terms)
          Scenario #2: $600.00 (no effect on contract’s remaining length/terms)

          Granted if you are out of contract then yes you would sign up as a “new customer,” starting a new contract and get the subsidized pricing, but this is about Verizon ditching the whole ‘you-get-to-cheat-our-contract-and-get-subsidized-pricing-even-though-you-haven’t-honored-your-full-contract-1-yr-upgrade-program.’

        • Jay468

          Okay, forget the incredible for one second, big guy. Wait for your upgrade to get subsidized pricing on the Thunderbolt.. its still a 600 dollar phone. if you GET buy back on THAT phone for $60.. you can trade in your Thunderbolt ANYTIME within 6 months to get $300 back. OR, WAIT your full 20 months and still get $120 for it. Forget even about upgrading now if you want the TB, but it still makes good financial sense now that New Every Two doesnt even exist anymore. We’re not saying upgrade to the Incredible now if you dont want to, we are saying, no matter how you look at it, Buy Back (even if you wait for the TB) is a smart purchase. Full picture bro, see it.

  • Anonymous

    But then if I trade in my incredible, get my $299 gift card & then get my thunderbolt, won’t I have to pay another $60 to be able to trade on the thunderbolt at some point ?

  • Mdawg64e

    but the full retail of the Thunderbolt is not going to be $299 is it?
    when the Incredible cost $599 full retail… that is where they get you!

    • Anonymous

      He just said that you’d only be paying the difference..you’ll only be paying 300 upfront instead of the full 599 that’s the point of the program.

      • 300 dollars is a ton to pay out the door. Ive never paid that much for a phone. Ill stick to my scheme of upgrading through my moms or dads line to an upgraded new phone and giving them my old one or selling mine.

        • Guest

          Too bad most of us are adults on our own individual plan.

          • Anonymous

            So you cannot be an adult on a family plan with your mom and dad? Sounds like a great way to save your family some money. Idiot.

          • You had to call the person a name? You must be having a real bad day, buddy. Go take a nap.

          • Anonymous

            I’m actually having a pretty good day considering that I didn’t just shill for best buy.

          • /me facepalm

            You must be new to this site and how we operate. Go back to your other blogs and podcasts now. Ain’t no posers around here, so you might be out of place.

          • Anonymous

            I might need to reconsider who I am calling the idiot. Just go back to calling the iPhone the i*one. It gives you guys a lot of cred. Somehow I doubt iPhone users refer to the Droid X as the D*oid X. It’s sad how scared you guys are of the competition. I switched over from the iPhone to the Droid X and am happier than ever with my decision. There is nothing to be scared over. Competition is good for Android and the like. Would I switch back to iPhone? No. Android offers so much more and I have grown to love it. Go ahead and brand me as a poser and post your trepidations about my ownership of a Droid X but at least I’m not afraid of a word. It’s not even funny to see either, just plain sad.

          • Loving your well thought provoking argument here. Pretty sure on our site, we can call the iPhone watevvvvaaaaaa we want lol Don’t see why that’s an issue.

            When did we say iPhone competition is bad for Android? I think it’s great. What probably upsets me the most is you and I most likely agree on a lot of things Android related, but you think we’re too jaded in our big money hot shot blogger ways to realize it. Well dude, I’m sitting here at my day job, going back and forth with you for fun. We don’t have sponsors, we don’t have mansions. My HP laptop at home is missing an “M” key for God’s sake. So dude, lay off! 😛

            Now I’m gonna go to starbucks and get an iced coffee. Okay, it’s been nice chatting with you. I hope you continue reading us and calling us out when you think it’s appropriate. We don’t mind!

            Bye bye! <3 🙂

          • Anonymous

            You can call it whatever you want but referring to the iPhone as anything other than the iPhone gives the appearance that Android users and fans are scared. Like it or not, this website is a representative of all Android users and fans. I respect the effort and time you guys put into this site. It’s just disappointing to see a representative of a great brand give the appearance that they are scared of the competition by partially censoring its name.

          • It’s not fear, it’s a desire not to give them any extra search results – and not to drag in all the fruit trolls via search engines, as happens every time the iphone is mentioned in a post.

          • LeeInMKE


  • If I have them buy back at, say, month 22, I’ll have paid $61 for a $120 gift card. At that point I’m eligible for phone a the new 2-yr. contract price (maybe another $1 phone, but 2 years newer), plus I’m up $59; I just don’t have my 22-month-old phone anymore.


  • I bought my DX from Best Buy July 15th. Why couldn’t they have this program back then??

  • Inkarnit

    Of note, Best Buy will look at your phone to see if it’s rooted. All they look for is superuser in the app drawer (which remains after a factory reset) so make sure if you do this, you fix the phone first.

    • Anonymous

      If you have launcher pro plus you can “hide” the icon in your drawer. By the time they figure it out you’re out the door in car doing 60MPH.. 🙂

  • Havoc70

    wont buy anything from BB, they are the worst

    • I love posts like this. Insightful and to the point. :/

      • Anonymous

        I bet you love it considering that Best Buy probably paid you guys to run this story.

        • Wow. You’re lucky I’m in a good mood. I’m almost insulted at that. lol

          Silly commenter. Deuces.

          • Anonymous

            Silly rabbit, tricks are for kids!

          • So by your logic, every app that DL reviews favorably must be giving them a kickback, too. I bet Verizon, Moto, and HtC are paying them for talking about their brands all the time too.


            (edited for typo)

        • JaySee08

          : Even if they did.. what’s the harm in getting the word out on the program? It’s not for everyone but I know I switch phones like I do underwear so it works for me! Ha. I always have to have the latest & greatest!

    • JaySee08

      : Untrue. It’s an international corporation. Obviously everyone isn’t going to be pleasant/educated (unfortunately). But that’s how it goes anywhere.

  • BRob2k

    Hellz yea… I know 2 close colleagues that work at BB. I’ll be calling them up this week!

  • ISUVetMed

    Would it not be just as easy to just sign a 1 year contract with verizon? You pay 1 year pricing on devices but you can upgrade every 10 months….

    • Anonymous

      The one year contracts make even more sense for people who get corporate or business discounts. My Incredible, Droid X, and Fascinate were all $219 on a 1 year contract, although now they have increased to $269 for the X and Fascinate. There’s also a rumor that you won’t be able to buy the iphone on a 1 year contract, which is pretty interesting.

      • Anonymous

        It’s not a rumor. I spoke with a VZW rep and they said that the iPhone won’t be available on a 1 year contract but that this could change after February 10. I wouldn’t be surprised if it stays 2 year only because that’s how AT&T does it.

    • Tom

      Yes, just… there’s no more 1 year contract with Verizon. They don’t offer this option anymore 🙁

      • Anonymous

        I’m looking at the VZW site right now and every Android phone is available on a 1 year contract. I don’t know where you are getting your info from but it is wrong.

    • Anonymous

      No, that makes too much sense. It’s better to pay Best Buy because they can spend the money on advertising with blog sites.

  • Ryansheehan2010

    Is this only for people signing new contracts?

    • Jay468

      Its started on Jan 5th and its for new and upgrade customers.

  • Anonymous

    If it sounds too good to be true… I have a very hard time trusting Best Buy, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed. This has potential.

  • love it…thumbs up to best buy

  • this works well for older phone like the inc that are not worth as much anymore on ebay. but if your phone is newer you will get more off ebay for it than this program.

  • Hockeystud39

    Why not just sell it on ebay and avoid all of these costs and keep all the money?

    • Justice060

      Or sell it on gazelle.com?

      • Gazelle Sucks. $94 for a PERFECT Motorola Droid with EVERYTHING included in the ORIGINAL packaging? Come on.

        • Also… If it has physical problems that prevent use they will help you “recycle” it.. and if anything in the box has value they will pay shipping. How nice of them!

    • Anonymous

      Selling on eBay is not free. You have the 9% selling fee, as well as the small but not free insertion fee. I use PayPal, so there is another 2-3%. Then there is the time to set up the auction, and ship the item. For me, the convenience of not having to do anything is worth the marginal gain I get from selling on eBay.

    • Crzyppl

      Aside from the 9% seller fees and the 3% paypal keeps? Plus the shipping costs with insurance? And having to be without a phone, or using an old one, in the lapsed time between selling/shipping, transferring the money to the bank, and buying the new phone? Do the math, a phone that sells on ebay for 300 is going to cost you almost the buyback price and extra hassle. I’d rather drop it off in the store and walk out with a new phone.

  • Halo32008


  • bkj216

    Somehow the buyback you’re describing with the Incredible seems very shady and I’m sure there’s some kind of rule in place to prevent that sorta thing from happening. If not, I’m sure there will be soon, so take advantage of the flawed system while you can.

    • Anonymous

      This is straight from Best Buy. Even the story I just laid out.

  • Richard B Doane

    I’m guessing you can’t sell back a phone you bought at a Verizon store?

    • Anonymous

      Nope, gotta buy it from Best Buy.