Beware of Amazon trade-in program

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Deepak Shenoy, Jul 20, 2012.

  1. Deepak Shenoy

    Deepak Shenoy Supporting Actor

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    I have found Amazon to be beyond reproach for the most part (I have spent thousands on their site in the last year alone - including a few big ticket items) but I wish I could say the same about their trade-in program which apparently is farmed out to a third-party vendor.
    To be fair I have done 7-8 DVD trade-in transactions so far and this is only my second bad experience. I had ordered the Poirot Series 5 Blu Ray set from Deepdiscount only to cancel it later on (or so I thought). I had already gotten myself another copy of this from a different vendor when DD shipped the set from my original canceled order. Knowing how much of a hassle it is to return stuff to DD and to get proper credit for it, I looked at what the trade-in price for a new copy of the set was on Amazon. They offered to pay $20 and I was going to trade in a bunch of other lower priced stuff anyway. I had paid about $24 on DD and trading in my extra copy on Amazon seemed to be less of a hassle even if I lost $4 in the process. I sent in the BD set with it's original shrinkwrap, stickers and slipcover intact (it was in pristine condition when it arrived and I sent it back the same way). There was no way the condition of this could have been anything but "New" (I also sent it in a box with packing peanuts to ensure that there was no damage during shipping). And guess what I was paid for this set (which retails for $44.99 on Amazon) ? A whopping $0.10 (ten cents) because the set was deemed to not be in a new condition and $0.10 was their trade-in price for a "Like New" copy. Well, you may say that I should have chosen the option to return items that are not deemed to be in the condition that was described.
    Wait - I have a bad experience with that option as well. In a different trade-in I had sent my Godfather Coppola Restoration DVD set back when it was selling for over $40 (and the trade-in price was around $20). It was in a "Like New" condition. I am a little OCD about my DVDs and there is nary a scratch or fingerprint to be found on any of my discs and the packaging is usually pristine (I don't let anyone else handle my collection). It so happened that before they received my Godfather set the MSRP on it suddenly dropped and they didn't want to pay the $20 for the trade-in. So they claimed that the set was not "Like New" and they sent it back. And it sure was not in a "Like New" condition when it came back :( They used a thin envelope with no padding to pack the DVD set and when it came back it was all banged up and literally falling apart. One of the disc hubs was broken, all the DVDs had all kinds of fingerprints and to add insult to injury they had stuck a big ugly sticker on the set which was impossible to remove without damaging the packaging.
    So with all these bad experiences why do I keep trading stuff in to Amazon ? It is very convenient (I certainly don't have the time or patience to sell stuff piecemeal on ebay) and when it works well it pays better than Wherehouse and other sites like that. Granted you still get only $1-$2 for each DVD that you may have paid $20 for back in the day but it is a convenient way to get rid of a stack of DVDs you no longer need (because you upgraded to Blu Ray or whatever other reason). After the last experience I had given them the benefit of the doubt but this time I am wondering if the third party vendor Amazon works with is less than scrupulous. The worst part when you send stuff to them is that they have the final word on what the condition of the stuff is that you send in. There is no way to dispute that. You either get screwed if they say the condition is worse than what you described or they send it back while making sure that the stuff is no longer in the condition you described :D
    -D
     
  2. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    Thanks for the heads up. I've done a little trading with Amazon, but most of the time the trade rates aren't better than taking the items to my local shop or even waiting until Best Buy's trade and save program. I did just send in a DVD that was showing a better rate, so keeping my fingers crossed...
     
  3. stevenHa

    stevenHa Stunt Coordinator

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    I have the same experience where my dvds are like new having only been used once and they lower it to very good.
     
  4. Craig S

    Craig S Producer
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    I have used Amazon's trade-in program for hundreds of DVDs, and overall have been pretty satisfied. 99% of my condition specs have been honored. This includes a few shrink-wrapped titles I marked as "New", and the vast majority of my discs which were marked "Like New". Only 2-3 "Like News" have been marked down to "Good".

    That said, what happened to Deepak with his new, shrink-wrapped Poirot set and with his Godfather set is inexcusable. If this happened to me I would complain loudly to Amazon and probably stop using the service.

    The problem with anything like this is that there is a human being at the receiving end, and if you happen to get the one guy who is overzealous in reviewing the condition of discs, or who is just having a bad day, you are boned, with really no way to get the problem fixed.

    Basically, this is use at your own risk. And be sure to feedback to Amazon if you are dissatisfied. It may be a third-party that is handling the trade-ins, but they promoted the program on their site and therefore share responsibility for it.
     
  5. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    The experiences detailed above are outrageous and should absolutely be reported to Amazon, loudly and clearly. And Amazon, still being Amazon and extremely customer service oriented, should be listening.

    I only started using the program recently and was happy with the results of my first two trade-ins of a dozen or so DVDs each. Except for one shrink-wrapped series (which they agreed was "New"), anything I'd even bother sending is "Like New" and so far they've agreed with those, too.

    In the past week or two, as I've built up a new list, I'm seeing really low-balled prices. Like the 10-cent experience reported above, a New price might be $11.00, with the Like New and Good being 25-cents and 10-cents. Give me a break here. A couple of months ago, on similar discs and titles, the Like New was at least half than, or much closer to the New price. On the other hand, it's almost impossible to make meaningful comparisons because however much we might value one selection as being similar to another, that's neither here nor there in their eyes.

    And just one more caveat -- the prices can change, sometimes radically, every day. I recently found one changing a couple of times in the same day. And, I learned this late -- rather than looking up a bunch of titles repeatedly, leave the list built up, add to it when you can, and just go in and check it every day or when you feel like it. It's like keeping items "saved for later" in your cart. Just go in and look at the price updates.
     
  6. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    And if those low-balled prices don't show any signs of improving, then the hell with them. The discs will go to friends who will be ecstatic to get them, or to Best Buy for $5 each -- and on the run-of-the-mill stuff, that is a great deal.
     
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  7. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    I've traded in several dozen discs with only a few that were downgraded, however one disc was returned to me as "unacceptable condition - cracked disc." Sure enough the disc they returned to me was cracked but I can assure you it wasn't when I sent it in.
     
  8. Radioman970

    Radioman970 Lead Actor

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    Excellent info. Thanks for taking the time to detail your experience.
    *makes many mental notes... hurt a little but worth it*
     
  9. Craig S

    Craig S Producer
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    I just got my latest trade-in batch approval notice. In this batch I had most discs marked as like new. Five I had marked as good. They actually marked all five of those up to like new.

    As to the low prices - yeah, most titles that were very popular are not going to draw more than 10 cents. OTOH, if I try to sell them individually on Amazon by the time Amazon takes their cut I wouldn't make much more anyway - if they sold at all. Let's face it - the used market is flooded with some of these titles. Who's going to buy an old snap case version of The Matrix anymore?? (This is one of the titles I found in the back of the closet that I just sent in). I'm just glad to have these old DVDs which have been piling up for years out of the house and not in a landfill.

    Not trying to argue anyone into using the program if it doesn't work for you - just providing some alternate data points and views. The Best Buy program is certainly a good alternative if they have the titles you want on sale at a good price to begin with.
     
  10. David Weicker

    David Weicker Cinematographer

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    I've been using this service for the past year, and so far, I've had favorable results.
    I had one case where they switched the status of a shrink-wrapped item from New to Like-New, but all it took was a call to Amazon to get this resolved. Although the trade-in continued to show the Like-New status, the Amazon Customer Service Rep gave me a credit for the difference, so as a customer, it evened out for me.
    As for the Best Buy comparison, I have done some trade-ins, but I've pretty much upgraded everything that can be updated, so for me, their in-store selection isn't what I'm looking for anymore. The other thing about the Best Buy is it is a 1-for-1 offer. With Amazon, I'm able to apply multiple trade-ins (that can add up to more than $5) and use them on my next purchase - allowing me to get $10, $20, or more off a single item.
    So for me, if the Like-New is .25 or less, I might hold onto it in case BB has something I want, otherwise I usually trade it in.
    David
     
  11. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

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    When I read the condition descriptions I decided if the DVD box wasn't in pristine condition, I would value it at good. I don't think I valued anything at like new. I did value DVDs still in shrink wrap as new. I decided if good was less than $.15, than I wouldn't send it in.
    I sent in 26 DVDs and if I got what I thought the value was, it would be $39 and change. What I got was $52.60. They upgraded nearly every DVD I sent in. I've got a whole bunch more to do and hope I get the same results. :)
     
  12. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    Lately I'm adding items to my submit list as I come up with them, and letting it sit. The values change every day (sometimes more than once a day), and the ones I've got in there right now (including several Bonds) are crashing -- they're valued lower every time I look! So I'll let them sit there and ride it out. If they eventually go up in value, fine. If not, fine, and I'll do something else with them.
     
  13. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    Sometimes it just might not be worth it.

    Case in point. Lawrence of Arabia.

    My "like new" (MINT) Superbit DVD is worth fifty cents today. If "new", it would bring in $2.50.
    My "like new" (MINT) 2-disc "Limited Edition" is (get ready for it) ... one thin dime. If "new", $7.35.

    And imagine what they'd be listed for by their new owner.

    The spread between New and Like New on almost everything is crazy.

    Amazon might never see those two, just on principle.
     
  14. Radioman970

    Radioman970 Lead Actor

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    Eight is Enough Season 1 can be traded for 10 cents! Cool!
     
  15. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    For some reason I got over $10 for my Like New copy of Who Framed Roger Rabbit. I'm not complaining.

    There were actually two copies in their system, so I picked the obvious one. I even checked to make sure the ASIN/UPC was for the one I owned, and it was.

    It's like the Wild West out there.
     
  16. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    Just when you thought Amazon's trade-in prices couldn't sink any lower...

    Black Sunday and Black Sabbath DVDs (Mario Bava Collection) - $0.08 for "like new", $0.25 for "new", for each of these.

    The Ice Storm DVD (Criterion) - $0.53 for "like new", $0.55 for "new.

    The Blob DVD (Criterion) - not being accepted for trade-in at this time.

    Mind you, I did enter a few that returned a somewhat normal, if still insulting, price. And I did get a decent take on some twenty discs a couple of months ago -- but only after letting them sit in the trade-in account for a long time and watching the daily price fluctuations until enough of it made sense to move on it. But man, it's cold out there. Best Buy's five bucks takes these without even trying.
     
  17. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    I priced "trade in" a few weeks ago on some of my Tartan and Spotlight DVD.Most of them were $9-$27. The one $27, an oop Tartan from 2003, I actually got a feeler email from a live person.
     
  18. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    One nice surprise I got was more than $15 on the digibook of The Sound of Music that was originally the Target exclusive. It sat at a couple of bucks for the longest time then suddenly jumped. For some reason, that edition has been getting priced quite high, off and on. You never know. But that's why I say to build up a list and just watch it. Who knows -- maybe next week those Bavas will turn into a retirement nest egg.
     
  19. laborspy

    laborspy Auditioning

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    Wow. Thanks for the info! I sent in a game a year ago and didn't have any problems, but hearing your horror story I'd rather sell on eBay.
     
  20. Bryan^H

    Bryan^H Producer

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    Just caught this thread for the first time.

    YIKES!!! Stay far away from this BS. Sell through Amazon Marketplace instead. If you lowball the other sellers, your dvd will sell, and you're likely to get 10x what you would get from this scam.

    My brother who treats his dvd's like gold(no scratches, perfect case, and inserts otherwise he exchanges it for a copy that is perfect) sent a stack in. A few of his were returned as "unacceptable". He was puzzled, and very upset. This trade in program is deceitful, so I have to label it a scam.
     

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