Apple's trade-in partner Phobio is accused of ripping off consumers

Apple's trade-in partner Phobio is accused of ripping off consumers
Apple uses a company called Phobio to help it handle trade-ins. The firm works with a number of companies to make sure that consumers trading in a device get the dollar amount that they are supposed to receive based on the condition of the trade. The Verge recently did an investigation and discovered that Phobio's online reputation is not exactly sterling.

Record everything about a device that you are trading in to make sure that you are not ripped off!


For example, several Apple customers discovered that Phobio reduced the value of the Macs that they were including as a trade because the displays on these units "had three or more white spots" on the screen. The customers themselves said that they could not find these white spots and added that Phobio could not come up with any evidence indicating that the screen defects existed. Also unable to find any defect on the screen was The Verge.

And besides complaining about Mac trade-in prices, consumers also were upset over iPhone and iPad trade-in values. While Phobio refused to respond specifically to the story about the white dots on the Macs, it did say in a statement that it aims to give "full and fair value" to consumers for their trades. The company replaced PowerOn as Apple's main trade-in partner back in 2017.

Phobio allows customers to back out of a trade-in if it has been revised and under that scenario it will send the device being traded back to the owner at no cost. The company says, "We carefully assess each device sent to us, and only change the initial quote if the device we receive or its condition differs from what was initially indicated by the customer. We document our findings at every step of the way with photos that are shared with the customers."

Complaints against Phobio have been seen throughout the internet including the Better Business Bureau website. The latter states that "Phobio, LLC, has a pattern of complaints alleging Refund or Exchange Issues, Sales Issues, and Service Issues." In fact, there have been 551 complaints against Phobio on the BBB site.

Another example from the BBB website came from a person who received a quote of $315 for his near perfect iPhone XS Max and followed the shipping directions to a "T." About three weeks later he/she received a letter from Phobio stating that the price he/she will receive for he handset had been reduced to $0 because the phone does not power on. The customer called customer service and was told that there was nothing that he/she could do.

We should point out that after getting in touch with Phobio, the company decided to ante up after all and paid the iPhone XS Max owner the original quoted price of $315 for the phone. Many of the problems listed on the BBB website end up with a resolution in favor of the consumer, and while that is good, most people aren't really interested in having to go through a headache-inducing battle.

Here's a situation that took place last month that could turn someone's hair prematurely gray. A consumer accepted a $75 Apple gift card from Phobio for a fourth generation iPad. After first verifying that the tablet was received, Phobio sent another message on the same date stating that the tablet was locked negating the deal even though it had been sent unlocked and wiped.

As it turned out, when Apple was contacted, it revealed that the device was given a new Apple ID that doesn't belong to the owner of the iPad. After being out the $75 that he was supposed to get, his tablet (which he normally would get back under the circumstance) ended up being sold to someone else. Eventually, Phobio did send him the gift card first agreed upon.

If you do agree to sell your Apple device to raise some money for a new purchase, you should try to save images and videos verifying the condition of your device before you send it in. It might save you from getting ripped off.

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