iPhone Is Focus Of Trade-In, Protection Plans

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Minneapolis - Target is accepting trade-ins of working iPhone 3G or 3G S models now through Saturday, Feb. 12.

The program, offered through the chain's RadioShack-operated Target Mobile centers, will provide up to a $200 credit toward the purchase of a new iPhone 4 through AT&T with a two-year contract.

"Target is always looking for new ways to surprise our guests and offer the best prices on the products we know they want," said Target merchandising VP Nik Nayar. "iPhones are one of the hottest products on the market today, and our guests can now get their hands on one at a significantly reduced price."

Trade-in credits range from $100 for a 16GB iPhone 3G up to a $200 credit for a 32GB iPhone 3G S. The iPhone 4 is priced at $199 for the 16GB model and $299 for the 32GB version.

Like RadioShack, Target's Mobile centers also accept other pre-owned CE products in exchange for store credit, including video games and mobile devices. Target currently maintains Mobile centers in 846 of its stores nationwide and plans to extend them to all 1,450 stores by June.

Meanwhile, online service-plan provider SquareTrade has extended its iPhone 4 warranty program to the new CDMA model for Verizon. The two-year plan repairs or replaces  iPhones that are damaged by drops, spills or other common accidents for $99 plus a $50 deductible, and also covers all normal mechanical and electrical failures without a deductible.

"Our research shows that one in three iPhones will fail over two years, mostly from accidents," noted SquareTrade CEO Steve Abernethy. "Our iPhone warranty gives users an affordable way to protect themselves from the cost of repair and replacement."

The service plan is available directly from


's website or can be downloaded as an app from iTunes.

The company released a study on smartphone failure rates last November based on 50,000 owner reports that projected a 16 percent failure rate for iPhone 4 within the first year of ownership, mostly due to accidental damage.

Separately, Best Buy introduced its CE buy-back program during yesterday's Super Bowl in a 15-second spot featuring Ozzy Osbourne and Justin Bieber. Under the plan, customers can "future-proof" their purchases by buying "buy-back protection" that will allow them to sell the products back to Best Buy at a later date in exchange for store credit. Five categories are covered, including laptops, netbooks, tablets, TVs, and post-paid mobile phones, ostensibly including iPhone 4. Redeemers receive from 10 percent to 50 percent of the purchase price based on the age of the product, which must returned in "good, working condition." Pricing for the coverage varies by category, with laptop, netbook and tablet plans selling for $70, for example.

As part of the launch, Best Buy is offering the program free this week through Feb. 12.

NEW Customer Service Companies has also launched a buyback program that lets consumers return their CE products for a percentage of the purchase price. Eligible products under NEW's plan include MP3 players, tablets, laptops, netbooks, GPS devices, digital cameras and gaming hardware.


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