Tag Archives: electronics

Waterproof electronics?

Water and electronics just don’t mix. Rice and heat may help save your device but it doesn’t always work. New devices are pouring into the market that may wash away your worries. Should you consider one this holiday?

Companies are offering after-market solutions that waterproof your electronics. It’s still a new venture, so the companies offering this service are limited as are the products that you can waterproof. Right now, Liquipel, limits the products to high end gadgets like the iPhone or a simple iPod Shuffle.

The Liquipel service costs about $60 and right now the company is waterproofing the following products: iPod Shuffle, iPhone 4, Galaxy S2 from T-Mobile and AT&T, iPhone 4S, iPhone 3GS, Evo 4G, Evo Shift 4G, HTC My Touch 4G, Samsung Charge, and Motorola Droid X and X2.

AT&T is selling a Pantech tablet that’s waterproof. We’re not talking about little spills. This product claims to last 30 minutes underwater. So, I put it to the test for a NewsChannel 5 story.

The tablet costs just under $300 with a two year contract.

Do you think the cost is worth it? Click comment below.

Recycling your hair products for cash

Recycling old electronics and earning cash for them is becoming easy to do. Many stores offer you cash for old gadgets, or you can sell them online at any number of sites. Now, a company specializing in hair products is offering cash for recycling products.

Folica, an online beauty products site, is offering customers $40 on an order if they recycle an old hair dryer or flat iron / straightener. It’s a great way to get other bulky items out of the trash and into the recycling bin.

I have a straightener that stopped working earlier this year, and I didn’t know what to do with it. I didn’t want to throw such a clunky item into the trash, but what else could I do with it? Now I can get green for doing a green thing.

Of course, it’s a good idea to recycle more basic items as well through your city or county recycling program. Sites like Recyclebank also make it easy to earn points and rewards / coupons for recycling items your local refuse department may not take.  Recyclebank takes everything from #5 plastic containers to Ziploc bags.

There’s also Freecycle. As the name connotes, it’s free so you won’t earn cash but it’s a good way to keep your trash out of the trash.

It’s a good time of year to think about recycling that clutter. Spring clean, and this year don’t forget your hair care products. The Folica offer is good until the end of June.

Related links you may like:
Tubeless toilet paper
Cash for your electronics
Lighting the path to new bulbs
Why do we still get phone books? 

Third party companies to sell electronics on Best Buy’s website

Just in time for the holiday shopping frenzy that will arrive before you know it, Best Buy is teaming up with third-party sellers to offer you a third more products online.

Best Buy will launch Marketplace. It will feature items from partners like Buy.com, Cameta Camera, ANT Online, MamBate, Beach Audio, Wayfair, SF Planet, and Electronic Express.

“Increased assortment of products, brands and price points is exactly what people have told us they want,” said John Thompson, senior vice president of Best Buy and general manager of online operations. “We listened, and developed Marketplace to meet these unmet needs.”

Best Buy says it will continue to add businesses based on their tenure in business, overall customer satisfaction, order cancellation history, and back order history. You will earn Best Buy Rewards Points when you buy from the Best Buy Marketplace, but the seller will handle shipment and returns.

Plus, Best Buy will offer a guarantee in case there is a problem with your order that you can’t resolve with the seller. It’s a service guarantee rather than a product guarantee. Best Buy will help mediate the situation if you don’t receive your order, the product was not what you ordered, it was damaged during shipping or not working, or if you didn’t receive satisfactory customer service.

Free extended warranty if you pay with an eligible credit card

Warranties are big selling points for manufacturers, but they often offer little protection for consumers. Most warranties are a year or two, and so many products break at the two and three year mark so the basic, free warranty doesn’t apply. So, should you buy an extended warranty? There may be a better, free option.

Consumer Reports typically does not recommend extended warranties, and I agree with them with the exception of newer televisions. I’ve done too many stories on slick new TVs that break or don’t function properly in just a few years. Do your research before you buy a TV. Understand the new technology is not as good as the old technology. My tube TV is still going strong 12 years after I bought it, and it survived a plunge to the ground. Yet, I’ve done plenty of stories with owners of plasma, LCD, etc. that have problems within a year of purchase. With a TV, consider the extended warranty. Plus, consider another FREE option.

Extend your warranty for free
With most credit cards, you can get extend your manufacturer’s warranty up to one year if you make that purchase on your qualified credit card. American Express offers protection on eligible purchases that come with a valid U.S. manufacturer’s warranty of five years or less. The warranty is extended for the same length of time as the original warranty up to one year. To qualify, just charge the product to your card.

Make sure you keep all your original receipts in case you need to file a claim. With American Express, you’ll need original store receipts, AMEX receipt, original manufacturer warranty, and the product requiring repair. AMEX will decide if the item will be repaired, replaced, or if the original cost will be refunded. The service does not pay shipping and handling fees, installation, assembly, or other service charges. It’s still better than nothing. To file a claim, call 1-800-225-3750.

Visa Extended Warranty Options
Visa Signature offers warranty registration and extended warranty protection. The extended warranty is doubled up to one year on eligible purchases that come with an original manufacturer’s warranty of three years or less. Visa makes it easy to file a claim, because the company offers to keep track of the important information for you.

There are exceptions to what’s covered including boats, automobiles, aircraft, and any other motorized vehicle and their motor, equipment, or accessories, resale items, items for professional or commercial use, real estate and items like garage doors or ceiling fans that become part of real estate, computer software, rented or leased items, medical equipment, and used or pre-owned equipment.

When you buy a product, send Visa your sales receipts and warranty information and register your product. Then, when you have a problem you don’t need to search for your paperwork. Just call 1-800-882-8057. You don’t have to register your product, but it’s a good second layer of protection. I’d still keep your own documentation just in case it gets lost at the credit card company.

Visa Signature cardholders have up to sixty days after the product fails to notify the card company of a claim. 

Visa also offers an extended warranty you can buy 
Visa also offers its own extended warranty called Visa Performance Guarantee. It allows you to extend your warranty up to five years from the date of purchase. Just understand that you are not buying a five year extended warranty, but probably just a three year extension because you automatically get the standard one year warranty and the one year credit card warranty.  It doesn’t appear to be five years on top of the built-in warranties. This is a common practice in the warranty business. Just understand what you are buying.

The price of the extended Visa warranty depends on the price you paid for the item. For an extra three years, you’ll pay $40.99 for a $150-250.99 purchase and $58.99 for a five year extension. You’ll pay slightly more for computer equipment.

MasterCard options
MasterCard also doubles warranty coverage up to a year on eligible purchases, but you need to call for details of the plan.

Make sure your credit card is covered by these FREE extended warranties before you make your next big purchase.

Related links you may like:
Could warranty paperwork be a thing of the past?
Fake invoice for consumer advocate used to sell warranty?

Cash for your electronics

Did you get a new cell phone this year or computer? Recycling programs that pay you cash for your old electronics are growing in popularity.  It’s a good incentive to keep this bulky electronics out of the landfill.

Cell phone carriers and independent sites are offering cash incentives for your old electronics.  It’s a good way to earn some cash and keep your plastic out of the trash.  There are websites willing to buy all these items: iPods, iPhones, cell phones, cameras, e-Readers, laptops, video games, game console, GPS, DVD, movies, MP3 players, digital cameras, calculators, laptops, external drives, and tablet eReaders.

Here’s a look at some of your options:
Ebay Instant Sale – This site, like many, ships your items for free which is a nice perk so you’re not wasting money on shipping.  I priced two items — a computer and iPhone.  A Dell Latitude D620, Core 2 Duo 1.66 GHz in good condition is worth$59 and an 8GB iPhone 2G is worth $66. If the item isn’t worth anything (I guess if you calculate the condition wrong) it will be recycled for free.  The money you earn is added to your PayPal account.

Wirefly also offers free shipping and will send a check within 30 days. It offers up to $60 for an 8GB iPhone 2G.  In good condition, it pays $51.80. It offers $59.50 for the Dell Latitude.

Gazelle is another ecommerce site,  It didn’t offer to buy the 8GM iPhone 2G, but offered $40 for the 4GB.

Make sure you check out the company first, and read their FAQ so you know their policies. For example, Gazelle does not offer phone support. That may or may not be a big deal.

You Renew wanted newer iPhones and didn’t have an offer for the 2G.  It also didn’t take the Dell Latitude D620, so this is the site that offered to buy the fewest products.

The nice thing about You Renew is that the site even takes devices and pays for the shipping if your item has no value. As an added bonus, the company will either plant a tree or give a donation towards a domestic renewable energy product.

NextWorth offered $53.26 for the 8GB iPhone 2G.  NextWorth teams up with Target, and offers the same service online or in Target stores.

Flipswap takes cell phones only and requires the ESN number on the phone to track it and ensure it’s the one that arrives in the warehouse. It appears the site is offering $36.38 for the 8GB iPhone, but you don’t know for sure until you enter a bunch of information about the condition of the phone and the ESN number.

Cell for Cash, as its name suggests, only buys old cell phones. They offer a set price without asking questions, but expect the phones to be in good condition. It wasn’t entirely clear in the terms and conditions how the company handles phones that don’t meet its expectations, so it’s worth checking out before you commit. Cell for Cash will send you a check in the mail.  It offered $20 for the 8GB iPhone.

Another option is to trade in your cell phone with your carrier for money off a new plan or phone.  You can also try Amazon’s recently expanded trade in program. It works a little differently, because you’re not offered cash.  Amazon pays you with a gift card that’s added to your account. I couldn’t find the same iPhone I compared on other sites nor the Dell computer. This program seems to offer money for new technology, but it’s offering good prices so it’s worth a check.

Erase your digital footprint
Before you send your electronics to a company, check out consumer reviews and feedback to ensure you’ll get the cash you deserve.

Also, make sure you erase all your contact and personal information and perhaps remove the SIM card if possible. You may even consider taking it to your local mobile carrier to see if they can wipe everything for you for a small fee. Some websites that buy electronics also offer the service. I wouldn’t be as nervous with a regular cell phone but smartphones are full of rich information that can be used to steal your identity.

Have a favorite site that offered you cash for your electronics? Share it with our community.

Related links you may like:
Erase your digital footprint
10 consumers reports you should check
Keeping your name off a sucker list
Recovering from identity theft

Best Buy offers program to Buy Back your electronics


Black Friday shoppers rush into Best Buy

Best Buy will begin catering to consumers who are afraid to buy  electronics because they fear it may become obsolete soon after buying it. The Best Buy Buy Back program will allow you to upgrade your electronics or technology by getting money back for your old purchase.

You’ll have the option to purchase the Buy Back protection when you buy a laptop, netbook, tablet, post-paid mobile phone, or television.  Then you’ll have two years to return all the products but the television. You’ll get four years for that. When you return it, you’ll get up to 50% of the original purchase price based on when it’s returned. You can then use the money that you’ll receive back from Best Buy in the form of a gift card for another purchase.

The amount Best Buy pays when it buys back your item depends on when you return it. You’ll get the most money (50%) if you make the return within 6 months of your purchase date.  You’ll get 40% if the redemption is made within 6 to 12 months, 30% within 18 to 24 months, and for televisions you’ll get 10% back within 48 months of the purchase.

“We recognize that technology is changing faster than ever, and our customers tell us they want to enjoy these devices without worrying about when the next or newest version will launch,” said Brian Dunn, chief executive officer of Best Buy. “We call this ‘future-proofing’ because our customers can now have more confidence that they’re protecting the value of the products they’re purchasing today. With the Buy Back Program, consumers benefit from assurance, convenience and transparency so they can stay current and stay connected.”

It’s a good program to spur people into buying technology rather than waiting on the sidelines afraid it will be obsolete weeks after they buy it. However, you’ll have to do the math to make sure you’ll get enough money out of the buy back option to justify the cost you paid to join the program.  It may be a better idea to try to sell the electronics yourself on a site like Ebay or Craigslist.  You’re not guaranteed a percentage of the price you paid for the product, but the risk is much lower because it’s free to post on Craigslist and a minimal investment to sell on Ebay. Just consider your options before you say “yes” at checkout.