The Precipitous Fall of Amazon's Trade-In Service

What happened to Amazon Trade-In?

Amazon.com trade-in review

 Lifewire

When Amazon's Trade-In program launched in 2010, it initially drew customers in with generous Amazon gift cards in exchange for used electronics like old Xbox games and HD-DVDs. A decade later, the service is very different and, unfortunately, not really worth your time anymore.

Information in this article applies specifically to Amazon's Trade-In service.

What Happened to Amazon Trade-In?

The main problem with Amazon's Trade-In service is that the rules and policies have changed a lot over the years. At first, Amazon was overly generous, offering inflated trade values for certain DVDs or games that clearly weren't worth what Amazon was paying. Thus, the company lost a lot of money early on. Unfortunately, Amazon has over-corrected their policies to the point that they are almost anti-consumer.

Judging the Condition of Items

When the trade-in service first started, there was no requirement for the condition. You could trade in just a movie or game disc and get the same price as you would for a factory sealed copy.

Amazon later instituted condition tiers that offered different values depending on the condition of the product. This is a good policy for both Amazon and consumers because it rewards customers for trading in quality items that Amazon can actually re-sell.

However, Amazon's rules for condition quality seem to be pretty subjective. There also seems to be confusion about what constitutes a "complete" product. Since many publishers no longer include printed manuals with their products, there have been reports of Amazon denying trades due to missing materials that never existed in the first place.

Along with the new condition policy, Amazon lets you choose whether to take a lower value if the inspector downgrades it to a lower quality, or you can have them send it back to you. Of course, it's in the company's best interest to give you the lower value, so if you choose to let them keep it, you risk getting far less than you expected.

Decreased Item Values

Another policy that has greatly diminished the appeal of Amazon Trade-In is that values for games rarely approach the $30 mark anymore. Even new releases plummet in value after a couple of weeks. Movies seem to top out at just $20, and that's only if your copy is shrink wrapped. Opened movies get significantly less.

Amazon once offered better values than GameStop for new and old games; however, now that the company has done away with special promotions and other incentives, Amazon's trade values are actually worse than GameStop's.

Still, you might get more money for your old games from Amazon Trade-In than you will on eBay since you don't have to pay any extra fees.

Problems With Processing Trade-In Orders

Another issue with Amazon's Trade-In service is the logistics of the trade-in process. Sometimes it can take more than a week for Amazon to acknowledge they received an item, even if you have a tracking number that shows it was delivered. There have also been reports of items getting damaged during shipping, which led to the item being denied and sent back to the customer in worse condition.

Disputing Trade-In Values With Amazon

If there is a dispute over an item you sent in, Amazon is often willing to just concede and give you the credit. That said, Amazon could ban your account if you abuse the system. If you have adequate proof that you are right in your claim, you shouldn't have much to worry about.