iPodmeister Takes Used CDs, DVDs, Gives You iPods

A New York-based company called iPodMeister swaps out new iPods and portable hard drives for used CDs and DVDs, covering shipping costs. The business has been around since 2004, but it’s new to me.

The exchange rate is a little less than a buck per disc — For example, send them 250 discs and you get an 8gb iPod Touch ($200) — which seems generous for CDs and a little less than market value for DVDs, based on what you can get for the discs at used bookstores.

I can’t vouch for the company’s legitimacy, but as long as it’s on the up-and-up it provides a nifty de-cluttering service for lazy packrats (speaking for myself here). I emailed some questions to Kris, the company’s PR guy, and here are his responses:

What do you do with the DVDs and CDs you accept?

In most cases we accept 100% of the items sent to us. We don’t make a big fuss in case 5 CDs out of a collection with 200 or 300 items seem a little more scratched to us than to the customer. There are very few cases where we have problems. Usually the problems are clustered among these a very small number of customers. There will be more than one thing wrong with these problematic collections: scratched … promos … bootlegs … non-working items. Half of the people affected didn’t bother to read the guidelines for eligible items posted on our website. The other half simply wants to take advantage of us, for example by sending us liquidation ware. It happens very rarely that we have to send whole collections back. We pay for the shipping, and insurance in case we don’t accept a collection. Again, this is very rare and happens 2-3 times a year.

Now to the recycling aspect of your question: nothing is thrown away. Over the years, we have developed relationships to other companies that buy everything from us, even loose CDs without cover art and jewel case. We get these CDs because some customers misplace a CD into an incorrect cover, i.e. we end up with a loose CDs without cover art or original case. We export in bulk, different genres to different countries, e.g. classical music is in great demand in Korea and Taiwan. There is even a market for radio edits (CDs that are being sent to radio stations which contain several versions of the same hit track, e.g. just the vocals, just instrumental, call out, etc.). Most of our business is international.

Do you accept Bluray?

Yes, and they count double. We haven’t gotten a lot of Bluray’s so far.

Do multi-disc DVDs (season series, etc.) count as just one DVD?

No, all sets count by the number of physical CDs in the set, e.g. the famous Led Zeppelin boxset counts as four because it has four CDs inside.

Do you accept DVDs in nothing less than boxes of 150? Why?

No, CDs and DVDs can be combined. You can send in 140 CDs and 10 DVDs for a total of 150 items. We require at least 150 items in one box because shipping costs have not only a weight component but also a per-package price.

What happens if you don’t accept certain discs due to scratches or incomplete packaging?

We recycle them but we can not return them to the customer. In most cases (see above) the customer won’t even know that we can only use 145 of the 150 items sent to us.

Can customers send in partial orders (for instance, 150 DVDs as a down payment of 300 for an iPod Touch), then send more in later to pay it off, then get the iPod? Or do they need to send everything at one time?

We haven’t done this because it causes too much confusion. Picture our warehouse: every day we get dozens of different shaped boxes. It’s difficult enough to match the different boxes and to keep track of each customer.

What happens if someone sends in a box that has less than 150 DVDs or CDs?
Every customer has the option of substituting cash for up to 50 missing items at a rate of $1/item. Example: if you have 117 items but want an iPod that requires 150 items, you would simply include a check for $33 made out to ‘iPodMeister” together with your shipment. We couldn’t help you if you only had 95 items because you would then have to substitute more items than allowed (maximum = 50). Bottom line about paying cash instead of sending CDs: we are not in the business of selling iPods. We just want to give people a chance to participate in the trade who are a couple of items short.

Our CDs-for-iPod barter is so attractive for most folks because they are recycling old CDs and DVDs they don’t longer use and are getting a brand new iPod without paying for it in cash.

iPods and iPhones are the hot gadgets of the moment and great Xmas gifts. iPodMeister offers an opportunity to give a great gift without having to come up with purchase price in cash.

Has anyone used iPodmeister before? Let me know if there are any Cash4Gold-like horror stories before I send them a box with all the DVDs and CDs I bought that seemed like a great idea at the time.

(Photo: iwantamonkey)

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