Follow Up on Best Buy's Trade-In Program

Back when I wrote my original post comparing the three major video game trade-in services, I'd mentioned that I was also trading in my Nintendo DS Lite, but I had to do that by mail because Best Buy didn't accept system trade-ins at the store.

Well, after going through that process, I can safely say that it should be avoided at all costs.

I wrote that post on April 22nd. A day later, I dropped off the package to send the DS Lite to Dealtree (the company Best Buy uses to handle its by-mail trade-in business) at my local UPS Store, and I got a receipt confirmation from the Best Buy Trade In Center on April 25th.

Now, at this point in the process, I understood it would take some time to verify the item. The game trade-in I'd done through Amazon took two business days to process (four days overall), which seemed about right. I thought maybe a system would take a little longer, but no more than five business days. Well, fast forward to May 6th (12 overall days, 10 business days) and I finally received an e-mail confirmation that the value of my system had been verified and a gift card would be sent out to me in seven calendar days. Yes, in the body of the e-mail, it actually specified "calendar".

I thought it was kind of strange that it would even take them seven days to mail it, but I let that slide. What I didn't let slide was the fact that on May 20th, a full 14 calendar days after I'd received the e-mail, I still had no gift card, and the Dealtree Best Buy Trade-In site still showed the status of the trade-in as "pending." I e-mailed customer support, and received a response indicating my gift card had been mailed on the 17th, and I should receive it shortly.

Putting aside the fact that the 17th is outside the seven-day calendar window, I was briefly appeased. However, two days later I received an automated e-mail from their system saying that my gift card had now shipped. On the 23rd. 10 days after the latest date it was supposed to, and six days after the customer service agent told me it had. Finally, on May 28th, I received the gift card for a trade-in I'd sent in more than a month earlier. That's absurd.

I understood from the outset that a mail-in process would take longer than an in-person one, and that verifying the value of a system can be longer than verifying the value of a game, but there is no reason for such a huge disparity between the Best Buy and Amazon processes, especially when Best Buy only had to verify a single system while Amazon had to go through each of the 28 games I'd sent in.

So after experiencing most of what each of the three major trade-in providers have to offer, here's how I'd best use them:

For games only:
- is the best because of the versatility of the credit you get. The prices are almost always the equal or better to Best Buy's (and way better than GameStop).
- Best Buy is good if you expect to be buying new games or movies or the like in the immediate future.
- GameStop can be beneficial if you're buying used games, or they're running a special promotion. Otherwise, they should be avoided.

For systems:
Honestly, don't use any of them. I haven't used, but from reports I've read, they're VERY particular about having the original packaging and the condition of the packaging. Obviously this whole post is an example of why you shouldn't use Best Buy, and GameStop gives awful value on systems.

The best bet if you're looking to get rid of a system is to sell it directly, either on eBay or Craigslist, the latter being preferred to avoid the horrible fee schemes currently being used by eBay and PayPal.