eBay’s website. (Photo: Daniel Krason / Shutterstock.com)

People selling their old electronics has long been a staple of eBay’s business, particularly when it came to selling old phones.

But that was always selling to other people. Now, eBay wants to get in on the trade-in game popularized by Gazelle, ecoATM and others to buy your phone off you. And you may want to consider them. 

Called eBay Instant Selling, the new service will see eBay buy the phone directly off of you. No bidding or listing, just an immediate valuation and payment.

As with other sites, those looking to sell their phone will simply need to fill in the condition of the device through eBay’s app or website and select what’s included in your trade-in (such as the original box, headphones, charging cables). From there you’ll see a line pop up that alerts you to the instant selling option if your device qualifies. After that simply click “continue to list,” take a picture of the product and then hit “list it” and accept the terms.

The company will provide a shipping label and the voucher with your money. 

Now, eBay claims it will offer higher value, on average, than rival trade-in services from Gazelle, ecoATM, AT&T, Verizon and Apple. As always, though, you will want to check a number of sites to see who is giving you the best deal for your stuff before you sell it.

While this seems great, there are a few noteworthy “catches.”

For one, eBay says it is currently is only buying Samsung Galaxy S7/S7 edge, S8/S8+ and S9/S9+ phones and iPhones ranging from the 16GB iPhone 6S through the 256GB iPhone X that are either unlocked or are for AT&T and Verizon’s networks.

Also note that eBay says T-Mobile and Sprint phones, Google Pixels and “select” LG phones will be added to the service in November.

While you can list any phone on eBay currently, only the above devices will get you the “Instant Selling” option as opposed to eBay’s traditional bidding system. You also may not get the option if you’re phone’s screen is cracked, as I noticed when looking up the value of an old Galaxy S7 Edge.

In those cases, or if you don’t want to sell instantly, you can still list the phones for bidding on traditional eBay. 

The other catch: You are not getting cash for your phones through this instant service but rather a voucher to eBay’s site, which can help explain why the company is willing to overspend on the buybacks. It’s not so much buying you off as it is encouraging you to continue shopping at their store. 

But as eBay continues to expand new offerings through its Daily Deals section, that might not be the end of the world for consumers looking to get some value for a device they no longer use. 

Follow Eli Blumenthal on Twitter @eliblumenthal

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