Radio Shack starts trade-in program

Used technology products are now worth something at Radio Shack’s 4,400 retail stores.

The retailer announced this week that it has expanded its trade-in program to brick-and-mortar locations. Online trade-ins have been welcome since October.

The process seems simple enough: Take your tech gear to Radio Shack for an appraisal, show some identification proving your name and address and walk out with a gift card for store credit. The in-store program takes MP3 Players, wireless phones, gaming systems and games, GPS receivers, digital cameras and digital camcorders. Blu-ray and DVD players are notably missing from the list.

Car audio head units, notebook computers, HDTVs and computer monitors are accepted for online trade-in, but not in the stores. Assuming that online and in-store trade-in values are the same, it looks like you can get up to $60 for a fifth-generation iPod (value drops considerably for older models) and up to $114 for a Wii. Trade-in values are highest when you include the appropriate adapters, cables and manuals.

Radio Shack isn’t selling the used items back to consumers. CNet reports that a third-party company called CExchange refurbishes the goods and resells them elsewhere.

Best Buy offers online trade-ins as well, but I like the idea of bringing the product to the store. That way, there’s no wait time or need to hunt around for a suitable shipping container. It would be cool to know where the products are ending up, and to have an option to take a smaller trade-in value for cash instead of store credit, but this is better than simply recycling for nothing.