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Are Exploding iPhones Burning Resale Values?

How have recent reports of exploding smartphones affected resale values, and what should you do if you have one of the suspect models? In the wake of the exploding Galaxy Note 7 recall, reports have surfaced complaining of iPhones – particularly the iPhone 6s – suffering the same smoldering fate. Have these incidents caused resale values to go up in smoke? Flipsy.com interviewed six phone trade-in company leaders to find out whether combusting smartphones are costing you money, and what you should do if you have one of the phones in question. Which smartphones are exploding? The most recent reports claim these devices have self-ignited:
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone 6
  • Galaxy Note 7
  • Galaxy S7
  • Galaxy S7 Edge
  • Galaxy Core
The most infamous case, of course, is that of the Galaxy Note 7, which prompted a mass recall, airplane bans, and an upcoming update that will kill any devices that have not been turned in to Samsung. More recently, a rash of alleged iPhone 6s explosions in China plus photo evidence of an iPhone 6s explosion on Phone Arena have Apple apostles wondering what they should do if they have one of the devices. Elsewhere, a six-year-old boy was allegedly burned by an exploding Galaxy Core. Two Galaxy S7 Edges were blamed for separate incidents in Ohio and Canada. An iPhone 6 Plus is said to have caught fire in a student’s back pocket, and an iPhone 7 might have burned up in transit. Others have reported exploding iPhone 7 Plus’s and Galaxy S7’s. It’s important to note, however, that many of these reports refer to unsubstantiated, isolated incidents – and they could also be false.

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Are exploding smartphones hurting resale values? Yes… and no. The Note 7 issues have made it impossible to sell that device to trade-in companies. “The Note 7 definitely has seen a massive hit to its resale value. The device essentially has little to no resale value,” says MobileFlyp CEO Chase MacClelland. “I made the decision early on to not purchase the Note 7 as it poses too many risks.” That sentiment is echoed by Exchange It’s Tyler Remington: “We never added the Note 7 to the site. I’m guessing there is little to no market for them. In fact, I believe the next update for the Note 7 will brick the phone, forcing the customer to return it.” Buyback Boss CEO Jack Wight has a slightly different perspective on the Note 7’s resale value: “I suppose the resale value would go up on them because you can actually trade the device back in to Samsung for the full amount the device was purchased for.” The takeaway: the Note 7 is worthless to trade-in companies and end-users, but might actually be more valuable via Samsung refund. What about the iPhone 6s and other devices? “Our offer prices haven’t changed after reports of 6s phones exploding. It doesn’t appear to be as wide-scale of an issue as the Samsung Galaxy Note 7,” says ItemCycle owner Eric Ditmer, who adds that iPhone 6s prices have predictably depreciated an average of five percent over the past month due to the iPhone 7 release. The prevailing thought is that incidents of exploding devices not named the Note 7 are too scarce to be considered an issue. “We have not noticed any real impact in the resale values,” says Travis May, owner of The Whiz Cells. “There have been a few people that all of the sudden their phone is ‘hot’ and they get scared, but by and large it has not made an impact.” What should you do if you have a suspect smartphone? If you have a Galaxy Note 7, you should return it directly to Samsung via the company’s Note 7 recall page. You can also return the device to your carrier, though as Jonathan Sims of Cellular Returns notes: “Samsung has been giving a better refund value than most carrier stores.” If you have an iPhone 6s, you might be eligible for a free battery replacement under Apple’s iPhone 6s program for unexpected shutdown issues. The program was launched in response to #batterygate, the term given to battery issues associated with some iPhone models, and is not considered by the company to be a safety issue. “A lot of 6s’s have bad batteries from the factory; it’s a big enough problem that Apple introduced a special warranty program,” says Remington. “I imagine that the new batteries Apple is putting into these warranty phones won’t explode, and I don’t think it will be an issue regardless.” If you don’t have a qualifying iPhone 6s or if you have a different phone model, you have two options: either keep your phone and hope you don’t experience issues, or sell your smartphone while the price remains unaffected.

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If you decide to keep your phone, MacClelland cautions against using non-OEM chargers. “Using non-OEM chargers can increase the risk of a device catching fire,” he says.” These cheap knockoff chargers can catch fire themselves, but also pose a danger to the devices.” Concerned about your phone catching fire? Compare the hottest trade-in prices at Flipsy.com.
Tags: iPhones
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