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Best Buy announces Buy Back Program for electronics

Consumer Reports News: February 07, 2011 11:33 AM

Electronics retailer Best Buy has announced the Buy Back Program, which lets buyers exchange old gadgets for a store gift card, reports our sister blog, The Consumerist. Customers received notification via email yesterday, and the store also advertised the program in yesterday's televised Super Bowl.

Customers who want to purchase the Buy Back Program must do so when they buy a new device. The price varies, depending on the products: Buy Back for laptops, netbooks, and tablets is $69.99; smart phones under $350 cost $39.99, and smart phones over $350 will run you $59.99. If you bring the product back within 6 months, you'll receive half of the purchase price on your gift card; the percentage of money you get back declines as time goes on.

The store claims this program "future-proofs" your gadgets. But is it really the best way to protect your electronics investment? The Consumerist points out:

"…what's smart for Best Buy is not necessarily what's smart for you. After all, this is kind of like paying Best Buy extra for the privilege of being able to buy more stuff from them in the future. You should only upgrade when you need to, get the best product that suits your needs, and shop at the retailer that gives you the best price."

Also bear in mind that depending on the product you buy, you may be able to get a better deal reselling it on your own. And you wouldn't then be locked into Best Buy to make your next purchase.

Similarly, the extended warranties on electronics products that are offered (sometimes rather aggressively) by many retailers may sound like good protection but may not be the best deal for the consumer. Check out our advice on extended warranties on Consumer Reports Online.

—Carol Mangis

Carol Mangis

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