Trading In Your Old Phone? Always Take a Video! (Updated)

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The unthinkable has happened, folks. After years of me saying that I have yet to have an issue with a trade-in process, it’s Google that has broken the streak. Naturally. Let my suboptimal situation be a lesson to anyone planning to use their old phone as a trade-in. Believe me, what has happened to me and others is completely avoidable with this simple trick.

Let me start by saying that I have traded in many devices before. I’ve used Google’s trade-in system and Samsung’s. Both have worked great for me in the past, so even though Google’s was taking an oddly long time this year, apparently due to USPS, I was still sure that everything would work out great and that I would be refunded the proper amount.

This year, Google offered me $480 for my Pixel 6 Pro towards the purchase of a Pixel 7 Pro. Not a bad deal, I thought to myself. The trade-in process itself is easy. Google sends you a little box, you wipe your old phone, place it in the box, and ship it off to Google. Given what I do for a job, you can imagine I’ve done this process quite a few times and I’m relatively proficient at it. Let me be more clear: I wiped the phone. I am 99.999% sure that I wiped the phone. However, this is the first year in a few years that I opted to not record myself wiping the phone and placing it into the return box. Maybe I was busy or something, I don’t recall exactly.

The moral of the story is, always record a video of the device you are trading in as you place it into the return box.

As you might’ve guessed by now, I received an email from Google over the weekend. According to them, I did not factory reset my device. Because of this, they brought down my refund to just $256. That’s $200 less than what I was originally quoted.

First of all, that’s bologna. The real issue, though? I can’t prove it because I didn’t take a video. I’m ultimately to blame for this outcome. Don’t be like me, folks. Second of all, can we all agree that $200 is not a just penalty for not wiping a phone? $40 would be fine, but less than half of my quote because a phone didn’t get wiped? It takes a minute or two to wipe a phone. In my opinion, consumers shouldn’t be hurt so badly because of this possible oversight. But let me tell you something, it’s not just me that this “didn’t factory reset device” issue is happening to. You better believe there’s a group of people on reddit that have the exact same story as I do.

Over on this thread, there’s a growing list of Pixel buyers who claim to have reset their phones before sending in, only for Google to call them liars. Thankfully for a few of them, they took photos and video of the devices they traded in, meaning Google should be able to look over the evidence and credit them their money. I have spoken with Google support and was told they would need up to 72 hours to investigate and get back to me. I am not expecting a resolution in my favor as I have no evidence to back up my claim that I wiped the device.

Please, it takes a few extra minutes, but always take photos and video as you wipe your old phone and place it into the trade-in box. It’s much better to do that than waste time trying to argue against a company like Google and Samsung.

Update (11/16): After working with Google’s support team, I have been refunded the remaining quoted amount for my trade-in device. I do realize how fortunate I am, because it’s entirely possible that Google could have easily said, “No.” While this outcome is positive, please take steps to avoid the frustration entirely: Record a video of you factory resetting the device and placing it into the return box.



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