Apple replaces Mac hardware trade-in partner PowerOn with Phobio

Posted:
in General Discussion
After working with hardware recycling firm PowerOn for more than five years, Apple this week notified customers that a new partner, Phobio, will handle all Mac trade-ins going forward.




Apple quietly announced the change on Tuesday in an update to its hardware Renew and Recycling webpage, which now redirects Mac trade-in inquiries to a dedicated page on Phobio's website. Previously, the Mac recycling link forwarded to a landing page hosted by Apple partner PowerOn.

Like PowerOn, Phobio offers users a number of options when it comes to trading in old Mac computers, specifically those produced from 2007. Customers are directed to enter a device serial number and answer a few basic questions about the trade-in hardware, for example whether the device powers on, is damaged and comes with the original power adapter.

Users who accept Phobio's quote can request a prepaid FedEx shipping label and supplies. If the trade-in passes the inspection process, Phobio provides payment in the form of Apple Store Gift Card, PayPal or Virtual Visa Reward.

Apple failed to elaborate on its decision to change trade-in providers, though MacRumors, citing unnamed sources, reports the move was prompted by an overall better user experience. Compared to PowerOn, Phobio provides higher trade-in values and a payment option for those who prefer cash to gift cards.

Apple's device buyback program was introduced in 2011 as a way for upgraders to recoup a portion of the purchase price of old hardware while at the same time keeping harmful pollutants out of landfills. PowerOn initially handled all trade-ins, but the effort grew to include third-party recyclers Brightstar and Sims Recycling.

After today's policy change, PowerOn has been relegated to the trade-in of Windows PCs. Brightstar handles iOS devices and other smartphones, while Sims Recycling processes Apple Watch, iPod and older Apple hardware.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    9secondkox29secondkox2 Posts: 1,463member
    Any info concerning why Apple dumped their partner?

    seems kind of uncool after so many years. 
  • Reply 2 of 18
    Only speaking for myself, but my 2011 imac was just quoted for $235 via phobia. Poweron was offering $0.
    So.......
  • Reply 3 of 18
    big kcbig kc Posts: 137member
    These trade-in deals are awful. You're far better off reselling your old Apple gear on Ebay. Just keep your packaging when you buy new gear (especially the external box for an iMac) so that you'll have proper shipping materials (and highest value), and it's a breeze. At the very least, compare your trade-in offer with what current prices are for your gear on Ebay before deciding which way to go.
    steveau
  • Reply 4 of 18
    Luckily I've kept my 2011 imac original packaging, because, as everyone knows, you need to keep the original packaging for anything you buy for a minimum of 7 years just like tax return documentation.  
    They called me a hoarder and that my home was a fire hazard, but who's laughing now?!?
    steveau
  • Reply 5 of 18
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member

    They called me a hoarder and that my home was a fire hazard, but who's laughing now?!?
    Depends.

    Are you waving the proceeds from a recently sold Mac? Then it's you. 

    Are you waving the proceeds from a recently sold Mac, while Fire and Rescue are damping down the burnt out shell of your home? Then it's probably them. 
  • Reply 6 of 18
    Rayz2016 said:

    They called me a hoarder and that my home was a fire hazard, but who's laughing now?!?
    Depends.

    Are you waving the proceeds from a recently sold Mac? Then it's you. 

    Are you waving the proceeds from a recently sold Mac, while Fire and Rescue are damping down the burnt out shell of your home? Then it's probably them. 


    That is pretty funny.

    I save all my boxes too, big and small.

    jony0
  • Reply 7 of 18
    dougddougd Posts: 292member
    They are absurdly slow in issuing Apple Gift Cards.  Beware
    SillyBoober
  • Reply 8 of 18
    I second the comment on payment. Not only are they slow, they will prevaricate when questioned. It's been 14 days since they claim to have issued payment. They have blamed an inability to send to mac.com addresses, and when given an alternative email address (at their request) they went silent. 
  • Reply 9 of 18
    I really wish I'd waited for some reviews before sending Phobio my MacBook Pro. It has been 10 days since I mailed it and it is supposedly still in transit. They have no tracking info on their website- I guess I should have written down the tracking number from the mailing label they sent with the box? And two requests for info on shipping status have been ignored. Of course, when I had questions about sending my computer in, they responded immediately!

    I really wanted to wait to get my credit from
    Phobio before buying a new computer but I'm thinking the 10-14 day estimate from shipping to receiving credit is BS and I can't wait longer than that. 
  • Reply 10 of 18
    Phobio quote for MacBook Air 2015 was $340. The device was in perfectly working conditions, but I wanted a bigger screen. I decided to trade in, made an appointment with Apple technician to clean hard drive. He wiped hard drive, loaded a new latest OS, everything worked well. (better than before) I even was not sure if I want to send it, but the box from Phobio was waiting and I sent it. Now they give me a new price $185, stating the hard drive is damaged. I had a chat with Phobio employee, this is his/her response:

    "When the device arrives at our inspection facility we wipe the devices hard drive load the OS and run a diagnostic program on the device. When your device was inspected the OS did not load properly and we were given an error showing such. When this error appears it indicates that the internal hardware of the device malfunctions in a way that does not support the OS and indicates that it is damaged."

    What you folks think? What should I do?

    Thanks in advance.


  • Reply 11 of 18
    I asked to send the device back, in the same conditions they received it, the manager is going to investigate and contact me.



  • Reply 12 of 18
    We sent our 2014 MacBook in IMPECCABLE condition. We had our offer slashed in half because Phobio received it with a huge crack going across the screen. Mind you, they have you pack your computer in THEIR box. That crack was NOT there when we shipped it. We tried contacting someone, anyone and NEVER got a response so we were left with no choice but to take the rip off price of $140.00. You’re better off selling your stuff elsewhere. 
  • Reply 13 of 18
    Update on my trade.
    I contacted Apple Customer relations and they setup an appoitment with the Apple Genius Bar .
     THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH MY COMPUTER!!
    Technition wiped the hard drive, installed latest OS and my Mac is good as new.

  • Reply 14 of 18
    @Vanimation
    You made a mistake. Read my posts.
    It was nothing wrong with my devise, but Phobio insisted damaged hard drive.
    I got my Mac back, Phobio made look like hard drive is not booting, but at the Apple store the Hard Drive was wiped then new OS was installed, and nothing wrong with the hard drive, booting just fine.

    You should complain to the Apple Customer Relations (I did) Phobio will continue to rip off us, if we do not stand up!
    Apple choose Phobio as a trading partner, so they are liable.
    edited August 2017
  • Reply 15 of 18
    fatcat63 said:
    @Vanimation
    You made a mistake. Read my posts.
    It was nothing wrong with my devise, but Phobio insisted damaged hard drive.
    I got my Mac back, Phobio made look like hard drive is not booting, but at the Apple store the Hard Drive was wiped then new OS was installed, and nothing wrong with the hard drive, booting just fine.

    You should complain to the Apple Customer Relations (I did) Phobio will continue to rip off us, if we do not stand up!
    Apple choose Phobio as a trading partner, so they are liable.
     They did the exact same thing to me, I've hadthis computer for the three years that I've been in school, I've never had a single solitary problem with it and I just graduated and wanted something smaller so I got one of the new MacBooks, and they quoted me $640 and now they're coming back saying that my hard drive is damaged  and only want to give me 350.  There is nothing wrong with that computer and I rejected their offer. This is a rip off, this is why it says that they're offering higher quotes because they are, initially then they try to rip you off. This is jacked up.
  • Reply 16 of 18
    amiemo said:
     They did the exact same thing to me, I've hadthis computer for the three years that I've been in school, I've never had a single solitary problem with it and I just graduated and wanted something smaller so I got one of the new MacBooks, and they quoted me $640 and now they're coming back saying that my hard drive is damaged  and only want to give me 350.  There is nothing wrong with that computer and I rejected their offer. This is a rip off, this is why it says that they're offering higher quotes because they are, initially then they try to rip you off. This is jacked up.
    fatcat63 said:
    Update on my trade.
    I contacted Apple Customer relations and they setup an appoitment with the Apple Genius Bar .
     THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH MY COMPUTER!!
    Technition wiped the hard drive, installed latest OS and my Mac is good as new.

    Unfortunately I didn't catch this thread before recently attempting to trade my 2015 11" MacBook to Phobio, because it looks like I'm subject to the same BS you two went through.  I'll keep it short, but I basically received a quote, sent it to them in their box, then was shocked when they said it was received as damaged.  They claimed they couldn't get the OS to boot, despite the fact that everything was working normally when I sent it to them.  

    I had a pretty lengthy back and forth with their "support" team through live chats, email, and finally a couple of phone calls.  They basically said I was SOL and I could either accept their new lowball offer or get the computer back.  

    I just got the computer back today and haven't had time to try and boot it up, but I suspect it's the same as what you guys went through.  Overall it was just a miserable customer service experience, one that I certainly wouldn't have expected from a company partnered up with Apple on this.  I have mostly sold all of my devices through eBay or Craigslist in the past where I could get a better return, but I just went the easy route this time around (or so I thought) since I didn't want to have to deal with shipping and selling myself.  

    I just want to know if we have any recourse here.  Granted, it's a small sample size as I can't really find many reviews of their service online, but this does seem awfully shady.

  • Reply 17 of 18
    We sent our 2014 MacBook in IMPECCABLE condition. We had our offer slashed in half because Phobio received it with a huge crack going across the screen. Mind you, they have you pack your computer in THEIR box. That crack was NOT there when we shipped it. We tried contacting someone, anyone and NEVER got a response so we were left with no choice but to take the rip off price of $140.00. You’re better off selling your stuff elsewhere. 
    fatcat63 said:
    @Vanimation
    You made a mistake. Read my posts.
    It was nothing wrong with my devise, but Phobio insisted damaged hard drive.
    I got my Mac back, Phobio made look like hard drive is not booting, but at the Apple store the Hard Drive was wiped then new OS was installed, and nothing wrong with the hard drive, booting just fine.

    You should complain to the Apple Customer Relations (I did) Phobio will continue to rip off us, if we do not stand up!
    Apple choose Phobio as a trading partner, so they are liable.
    amiemo said:
     They did the exact same thing to me, I've hadthis computer for the three years that I've been in school, I've never had a single solitary problem with it and I just graduated and wanted something smaller so I got one of the new MacBooks, and they quoted me $640 and now they're coming back saying that my hard drive is damaged  and only want to give me 350.  There is nothing wrong with that computer and I rejected their offer. This is a rip off, this is why it says that they're offering higher quotes because they are, initially then they try to rip you off. This is jacked up.
    Hello, I'm new here and stumbled onto this thread through an unfortunate google search because I just recently used the Phobio service and ran into the same issue the three of you had (more along the lines of fatcat63 and amiemo).  I wish I had seen your troubles before, but didn't and trusted the fact that they're partnered with Apple.

    I'm not gonna type it all here, but if you want to read more info on my situation I had originally asked around in this thread at macrumors.

    I just got my computer back from them today and haven't had the chance to try and boot it up yet.  But I'm guessing it's similar to what fact and amiemo ran into with them claiming the OS wasn't booting.  Do we have any recourse here?  I know it's just the few of us, but this seems awfully shady.  I'm wondering if there are more people out there who have run into this issue with them.
  • Reply 18 of 18
    rwilkeyrwilkey Posts: 1member
    Okay trying again, just registered my email..  So Phobio is a ripoff and Apple should be made aware. They quoted me $320 for 13" 2011 MacBook Air BTO with 256GB SSD, 4GB Ram and i7 CPU.  It took over a week to ship and then it appeared to sit in Texas for like 4 days, When they finally acknowledged receipt, then claimed it was damaged (it was not when I sent it) and the specs they showed me did NOT match my Mac.  I asked for a screenshot of the "About this Mac" info, but they refused!!  They offered me $30.

    I told them to send it back to me.  It had better be the machine I sent.  I am off to complain to Apple now.
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