What is the best way to sell your Galaxy S II, eBay, Craigslist or Recommerce?

Posted on Aug 9 2012 - 5:18pm by Brian

So you watched Google unveil Android 4.1 Jelly Bean on the Galaxy Nexus. Pretty interesting, but you weren’t quite ready to part with your Galaxy S II running Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich. But then you saw this video:

And you were like:

Google’s dropped the Galaxy Nexus’ price down to $349.00. The bad news–you only have $100. The good news is that your Galaxy S II is still worth quite a bit of cash, enough to make that difference. But what is the best way to sell your phone? Well, I’m glad you asked, because we tried 3 different methods, keep reading to find out the benefits of each.

The Setup

First we got ourselves a phone to sell, so we picked up an AT&T Galaxy S II on eBay for $300 (7$ shipping):

We got the phone and it was in perfect condition save for some swirling on the rear speaker bump. The phone also came with an OEM USB/AC cable and adapter, an AT&T SIM card and an 8GB Samsung microSD card. Although it wasn’t stated in the description, the phone was rooted and running AOKP ICS ROM.

Now let’s try and sell this bad boy.


The fastest and easiest way to sell your phone is to head to a recommerce site, print a shipping label and send out your phone.

If you aren’t familiar with such sites, they will buy your various hardware for cash. Since they email you a prepaid shipping label, all you have to do is find a box and send it their way. Once they receive your phone, they will verify the condition and your check will be on its way.

Although in this instance we will be saving our Galaxy S II for eBay and Craigslist, we have had a chance to deal with CellTradeIn back in March and their turnaround times were very quick. After we sent them our Droid Incredible with a bad ESN, we had a check within 2 days of confirmation on their end.


Quick, easy and consistent. Whenever you need to sell a phone, they will be there for you with a price that is guaranteed.


The amount that recommerce sites payout is significantly less than the fair market value of said device. Had we gone the recommerce route, CellTradeIn would have offered us $170 for our AT&T Galaxy S II.


If you haven’t dealt with Craigslist before, it essentially the classifieds section of your newspaper online. You post your ad with pictures and a description, and people can call or email you. The problem with this method is that you will receive a lot of lowballs, trade offers, and Nigerian princes offering a share of their fortune. If you do manage to find a respectable buyer, make sure the price is firm and meet at a well-lit, comfortable public location, where they can test the phone and you can check the cash without getting stabbed. I like to go to Starbucks in the afternoon–free WiFi and the fresh aroma of java are a plus. Since the device was already rooted, we went ahead and unlocked the phone as well, snapped some new pics with the DSLR , and put the phone up for sale. A week went by and are two closest offers were $250 and $275, which we decided to pass on so we could try our luck back on the ‘Bay. **Note: Your mileage may vary with Craigslist based on local supply and demand, and how flexible you are willing to be with your pricing. Pros: Local transactions are convenient, and there is no need for shipping, handling, or transactions fees from eBay and PayPal. Cons:No guaranteed sale; must communicate with multiple buyers/false positives who will spend time trying to haggle you. Have to meet strangers to make a transaction.


Last but certainly not least, their is eBay, the world famous online auction website. If you aren’t familiar with the website, you are probably familiar with the concept. You simply list your item, much like on Craigslist, but rather than bargaining a price, you simply let prospective buyers outbid each other to see who wins your item. This was our last and final option to sell the AT&T Galaxy S II. We listed the phone using the same description and images as our Craigslist advertisement with a 3 day listing period and starting bid set at $250–keep in mind we bought our Galaxy S II for $300 on the bay. We decided to keep the 8GB microSD and SIM card that the phone came with. Now we play the waiting game… FYI, if you’re selling on eBay, it might be a good idea to look into an ebay courier service that provides a great service. My friend told me about Shiply that apparently provide this kind of service.

36 hours later and we had a winning bid of $315. Although compared to Craigslist it was less of a hssle dealing with emails, I still received 5 or so questions asking about the product which I promptly responded to–the winner was a woman who had asked me a couple questions regarding the root/unlock status of the phone. Afterwards, you can print a shipping label straight from eBay and ship the item. I used USPS shipping and once the item was cleared as ‘delivered,’ the buyer’s PayPal funds became available on my account. So we bought the phone for $300 and sold it for $315, made a cool $15 profit… right? Well when all is said and done, eBay has the highest financial transaction cost; PayPal takes a $9.88 cut, while eBay takes a whopping $29.74. Our final earnings from the sale are: $315 ($9.88) ($29.74) _______ $275.38

Pros: You reach a nationwide audience of legitimate buyers, all from the comfort of your computer chair. Transaction is safe and secure using eBay, PayPal and USPS/UPS. You can control the parameters of your auction to make as much money on the sale as you would like.

Cons: Hefty fees involved; payment is not as quick as with a recommerce or Craigslist transaction.


To receive the fair market value for our Galaxy S II, we made listing on both Craigslist and eBay. Craigslist’s local appeal means convenient transactions which will get you quick, cash in hand, if you can set up a transaction at all. Being limited to your local audience means that it may takes days, weeks or even months to find an acceptable offer on the item you are selling. eBay on the other hand gives your phone a better shot of finding a new owner due to your listing’s nationwide visibility. I would also like to mention that even though eBay is a remote sales service, it is in theory (and for the the most part, in practice) safer and more secure than Craigslist. The main downside being the transaction fees involved. We were able to get ourselves $275 out of our AT&T Galaxy S II on eBay, and if you recall, we did have an offer for $275 on the phone on Craigslist, however we have no method to verify if the buyer would actually have followed through. Via recommerce we could have claimed $170. 64% more money ($110) seems like a no brainer right? Well, not exactly. The eBay/Craigslist listing process took a fair amount of extra time and work:

  • From start to finish recommerce takes around 3-4 days. Our eBay and Craigslist listings took in excess of 14 days to get our money.
  • We took the time to take high quality DSLR pictures of the Galaxy S II and craft a quality item description
  • We had to unlock the phone to maximize its value
  • We had to keep track of multiple email messages

If you don’t already have an eBay and PayPal account (and the associated experience), there is even more work to be done before you can get cash for your phone. So in conclusion, if you aren’t in a hurry and are familiar with the Craiglist and eBay listing process, you can make the most money using those two tools. However, if you are strapped for cash or time, you can quickly and more importantly easily, sell your phone via recommerce.

The difficulty with whichever method you use to sell you phone is the research and accumulation of knowledge required to do so competently. When settings benchmarks for which prices were appropriate buy/sell points in our experiments, we referred to a phone appraisal service called Movaluate. Currently under development, Movaluate is a website that offers phone appraisals, similar to how Kelly Blue Book works for cars.

Movaluate gathers resale pricing data from around the web and illustrates it in a histogram showing which sale price occurs most frequently. You can use this information to judge how to appropriately price your device, based on its condition, or how much you should pay for a used phone. If you have a Galaxy S II and are thinking of upgrading to a Nexus or Galaxy S III, head on over to Movaluate to see how much cash you could get for your venerable device.

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