Buying a used Android phone can be tough. It seems like most of the people slingin’ their handsets up on eBay or Craigslist are doing so because they don’t really understand the phone, which doesn’t exactly lend to their ability to aptly describe it. Most of’em end up reading something like:
FOR SALE: The Verizon ANDROID. It has a touchscreen, buttons, microphone, four “G”s, buttons, and a battery. Runs all the apps! iPhone sucks! Brand new in box. Well, the box is new. The phone is broken.
“But wait! Thats not enough information at all!” you say. “Is it rooted? Is it running CyanogenMod? Is the ESN good? Also, what the hell is the Verizon ANDROID?” Alas, your e-mails go unanswered, with the buyer giving you whatever the Internet-equivalent of a blank stare is.
Enter Swappa. Swappa wants to be the trading post for even the geekiest of Android geeks.
From a cursory peek around Swappa, it looks like they’re expecting sellers to answer all of the above questions and more. You can view listings by model, carrier, and tell at a glance if any given handset is rooted, running a modified ROM, what kind of shape it’s in and whether or not it comes with any accessories.
What’s more, buyers are held to a pretty strict set of rules (Must be fully functional, must be as described, must not have a bad ESN [must not be reported lost or stolen], no water damage, and the screen/battery must be in great shape). If a seller breaks any of their rules, they’ll consider it fraud and back up the buyer in any Paypal refund claims.
So, why is this any better than eBay? According to Swappa, it’s all about the fees. Where as eBay will charge you more based on how much your handset sells for, Swappa charges a flat fee of 10 bucks — and with Swappa, you won’t pay a dime unless your handset sells.
Of course, there are risks. A seller could take your money, sling you a box of cat hair, and bolt in hopes that the troubles involved with a PayPal refund will be too much for you to bother with. With that said, the risks involved are inherent to pretty much any user-to-user market.
What do you think: is there room in the market for an Android-specific outpost? Weigh in down in the comments.