TechForward is an innovative company whose buyback plans help to green up the consumer electronics industry by ensuring buyers that they’re going to get something back for their gadgets down the road. Last week EcoGeek spoke with founders Jade Van Doren and Marc Lebovitz to find out more.
There are a lot of electronics buy back programs out there. However, TechForward does something unique. They guarantee a certain price that someone will get for their gadget when they’re ready to upgrade to something new. So the guesswork on what you might get for something is gone – a consumer can know exactly what it will be worth to them upon resell. When someone buys, say, a laptop, they can go to TechForward’s website for a guaranteed buy back. Based on the device model and when the consumer plans on selling it back, TechForward lets them know what amount they’ll get for it. TechForward even provides the packaging to send in the device. When someone sells their product to TechForward, the company either resells or recycles it.
Programs like these go a long way to extend the lives of electronics, keeping them in the loop and out of landfills for as long as possible. Also, it puts a proactive spin on what happens to a device at the end of its life with the original consumer, ensuring that there is a plan for the device. So instead of someone deciding they want to upgrade and either tossing, or setting aside a gadget until it is obsolete, or going through a resell process that they may not get the amount they’d hoped, consumers can go through TechForward and have a clear plan of what will happen, when, how, and for how much, giving the device a longer lease on life. TechForward uses a complex model that factors in what’s going on in the market for various devices and models of electronics, and the model spits out the value of the device up to two years into the future. They can then determine the amount the consumer will get for the device, and they try to return as much value to the consumer as possible. If the device is too run down to resell when it is shipped back to TechForward, they ensure it is recycled.
Additionally, TechForward’s program combines two of consumers’ biggest concerns – money and green thinking. Consumers can be sure that they have something of value while also feeling a little better that they aren’t being wasteful. Van Doren points out that the model sets up essentially a reward system for being green. Programs like these remind consumers of the impact their devices have at the end of their lifecycles and promotes planning ahead. According to Lebovitz, the majority of people who use the program do return their devices, and the majority of devices bought back by TechForward are able to be resold.
TechForward has grown rapidly in the three years since its launch, and is working to partner with large retailers so consumers are better aware and able to utilize TechForward’s services at the point of sale.
So next time you buy an electronic device that you know you’ll be upgrading within two years, remember TechForward's plan - you can be green, get some green, and have a plan for your cool toy before you even break it out of the box.
written by Adam Pieniazek, August 13, 2008
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