Best Buy Launches Curious "Buy Back" ProgramFebruary 7, 2011 0 Comments
What do Justin Bieber and Ozzy Osbourne have in common with smart electronic purchases? Probably nothing, unless it's an endorsement deal with Best Buy. Best Buy has created a curious refund program called "Buy Back" where, according to their trademark slogan, you can "future-proof" your electronic purchases by paying a new upfront fee. Looking over the details, I can't say I'm thrilled.
For those paying the fee, Best Buy will offer partial refunds on products out to 2 to 4 years after the purchase date. Please note: the above links are not affiliate links. The "Buy Back" is free until Feb. 12th, after which the following scale will apply:
- Laptops, netbooks and tablets: $69.99.
- Mobile phones: $39.99 to $59.99 depending on the price
- TVs: $59.99 to $349.99 depending on the price
Then, depending on when you return the item, you'll be reimbursed on this scale:
- Within 6 months — up to 50 percent
- Between 6 and 12 months — up to 40 percent
- Between 12 and 18 months — up to 30 percent
- Between 18 and 24 months — up to 20 percent
- Between 24 and 48 months (only TVs are eligible) — up to 10 percent
In essence, this program feels like a back-end ~10% off coupon, provided of course that you actually remember to sell back your item after 2 years (or 4 years for TV's). So for example, if you purchase a laptop for $1,000, you must pay an extra $70 for the Buy Back. After two years, you can sell the laptop back for "up to" $200. Same with an iPad, if you purchase one for $600, you must pay $70 so that in two years you can sell it back for $120.
Notice Best Buy's disclaimer "up to 20%" which implies that the buy back price will likely be lower than these hypothetical examples. If you're considering this program, make sure to ask for a concrete quote, if possible.
The time value of money should also be a careful consideration here. In the iPad example, you are in essence paying $70 in more cash upfront, in order to get a *potential* $120 in two years, representing I guess ~%70 return on your "investment" of $50.
Ultimately, I don't see "Buy Back" as a good deal. What are the chances you purchase an iPad for $600 which you can't sell to your neighbor or someone else for $60 after two years? Beating their buy back prices feels fairly easy on the used electronics market. This program is mostly for people who don't want to bother with getting rid of old stuff...but just beware, two years is a long time to remember your exact purchase date.