Minneapolis - Best Buy has confirmed reports that it is launching a repurchasing program for aging electronics.
The plan, available this month in stores and online, allows customers to buy "buy-back protection" with their product purchases, which will enable them to sell back the items to Best Buy at a later date.
Five categories are covered under the program, including laptops, netbooks, tablets, post-paid mobile phones and TVs. Pricing varies by category, with coverage for laptops, netbooks and tablets selling for $70, for example.
The amount that consumers will receive for their used products is based on a sliding time scale, so that items returned within two months will fetch up to 50 percent of their original purchase price, while those returned by the maximum redemption point -- two years for tablets and mobile PCs, four years for TVs -- will get back 20 percent and 10 percent, respectively.
Payment is in the form of a Best Buy gift card, and the redeemed products will be reprocessed through Best Buy's aftermarket, trade-in and recycling programs.
The program, which Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn described as "future proofing," is underwritten by Chartis U.S. Warranty, formerly AIG.
"We recognize that technology is changing faster than ever, and our customers tell us they want to enjoy these devices without worrying about when the next or newest version will launch," Dunn said. "Our customers can now have more confidence that they're protecting the value of the products they're purchasing today."
Best Buy said the appeal of a buy-back option was evident in a year-long study by Impulse Research, which showed that concerns about technology becoming outdated has likely prevented 40 percent of consumers from purchasing CE products, or would prevent them from doing so in the future.
What's more, of the 30 percent of consumers who plan to purchase a TV or laptop in the next 12 months, 73 percent said they would consider purchasing those products from a retailer that offers a repurchase program.
NPD industry analysis VP Stephen Baker agreed. "A program like Best Buy's should encourage higher consumption by early adopters and fast followers that are considering new technologies, because it gives them confidence that the electronic devices they have just purchased will have real value going forward," he said in a prepared statement.