Amazon Downgrades Your Electronics Trade-In Value? Complain

Ian decided to use Amazon’s trade-in service to get cash for his iPad. The third-party company that runs the trade-in service decided that his device had invisible scratches, and downgraded its condition. They offered him $30 less than if it had been in “like new” shape. He was annoyed, and contacted Amazon about it. Amazon stepped in and promised him that if he sends the iPad again, he’ll get the full balance of the “like new” price.

I recently used Amazon’s trade-in service to sell my iPad 2 for what I thought would be $335. It should be noted that Amazon’s trade-ins are handled by a third party. My iPad was in flawless condition, so I selected the “like new” condition for maximum credit. I mailed it in in original packaging with additional bubble wrap in a box. Well, a week later they say they rejected my trade due to “light scratches.” It would now be worth only $299. I was quite angry about this, but I had selected the option to return downgraded items. Now my iPad is on its way back to me, and I hope it wasn’t purposefully damaged!

This is where Amazon’s great customer service comes in. I sent the following message to their customer service: “I have two problems with the iPad 2 I traded in a week ago. Firstly, instead of the two business days, it took a week for the merchant to reject my iPad for minor scratches. This is my second issue, and is unacceptable, as there was no absolutely no scratches at all on the device. There is a $30 difference in the condition for like new and good iPads. I feel the downgraded condition was an attempt to lower the available credit to my account. I would like the difference in credit to my account, and if my device was damaged before being returned to me, I will have to contact the BBB and complain.”

In just a few hours, the customer service agent replied to my message and said to complete another return and accept whatever the trade-in merchant gives me, and they would issue me a credit for the difference from the original value.

I’m not sure if this is above and beyond, as a cursory web search yields several cases of people whose trade-ins were mysteriously downgraded or broken upon receipt by the vendor. It’s too bad that this shady third party is leaving Amazon to make up the difference.

Well done, Amazon, but it’s too bad that only the customers who complain get all of the money they’re owed.