NEW YORK (MainStreet) — No matter how much you spend on a new gadget, and regardless of how earth-shattering it may seem right now, the truth is that it will be considered old hat in about two years. That fact makes it particularly expensive for consumers to keep up to date with new technology. But now, one major electronics retailer is looking to change that.
Best Buy (Stock Quote: BBY) launched a new buyback program this week, which allows customers to trade in any laptop, netbook, tablet or cell phone they bought at the store within two years (and televisions within four years) to receive up to half the cost of the product back in the form of a Best Buy gift card.
“We recognize that technology is changing faster than ever, and our customers tell us they want to enjoy these devices without worrying about when the next or newest version will launch,” said Brian Dunn, CEO of Best Buy. “We call this ‘future-proofing’ because our customers can now have more confidence that they’re protecting the value of the products they’re purchasing today."
Obviously though, there’s a catch. In fact, there are a couple.
To take advantage of the program, consumers must sign up for “Buy Back protection” when they purchase a new gadget, an option that costs $69.99. But wait, according to a Best Buy spokesperson, you have to pay that fee for every type of gadget you want to “protect,” it’s not a one-time fee valid for all items you purchase from Best Buy. Moreover, the amount that you are likely to get back drops significantly the longer you have the product. According to the company’s press release, you only have a shot at getting up to 50% back in the first six months after purchase. After that, the maximum amount you can get drops by 10% of the original price every six months, so that a year and a half out, you’re looking at a maximum return of 20% or less. And, oh yeah, did we mention you’re getting it back as a gift card, and not as actual cash?