To Repair, Refurbish or Recycle Your Headsets

RRR_CC.042616As a headsets wholesaler, I’ve met many call center, IT and telecom managers, and without failure, one of the first questions they ask is: “What should I do with this pile of old, broken headsets?” I’ve discovered that, in most cases, these managers are not sure what headset models they have, what they’re worth or what options they have. It’s completely understandable because, let’s face it, the last thing they have time to do is become headset experts. That said, here’s some advice on what to do with that pile of headsets. First and foremost, headsets are wearable technology, which means they’ve encountered sweat, saliva, hair products, makeup, etc., so please invest in some disposable gloves… safety and sanity first! Second, headsets are e-waste and must be recycled. However, before calling your local recycling company, which may charge for this service, consider whether your headsets are worth repairing, refurbishing or trading in. Imagine how pleased management will be when they learn that you were able to make money off the pile of headsets collecting dust in the corner of the room… can you say Employee of the Month? But, in the infamous words of Brad Pitt in the movie Seven: “What’s in the box?!” The following are some tips to help determine headset models, warranty status, repair/refurbish cost and trade-in values.

Determining Model and Warranty Status

Major headset brands such as Plantronics, Jabra, Sennheiser, Starkey, etc., carry comprehensive two- to three-year warranties. In-the-ear Bluetooth headsets carry limited one-year warranties, if that. They are not worth repairing nor do they have trade-in value, so you should put them in the recycle pile. Now find the boxes that the headsets came in. Didn’t you save the boxes? No problem! Corded headsets have a plastic tube clamped on the cord. This is where you’ll find the model number and either the manufacture date or warranty end date. This information can be found on the base of wireless headsets. Manufacturers will typically add three months to the manufacture date to cover shelf life or will honor the purchase date if you can provide proof of purchase. For example, 2409-820-105_20/11/13 is the product number for a Jabra BIZ 2400, which carries a three-year warranty. So with the three-month shelf-life extension, the out-of-warranty date will be 02/20/2017.

Determining Value

This is not so easy. Some models, regardless of cost, may be in higher demand and will yield a higher trade-in value than more expensive, less popular models. Also, headset costs vary widely depending upon suppliers. You may have paid $200 for a $100 headset, so a $10 trade-in credit will not be as appealing to you as it would to the customer who paid $100. Google the model number, compare the prices for used headsets to the trade-in credit offered by your supplier. Keep in mind that, like cars, a used headset’s value drops dramatically, and if you purchased an unpopular model, you may not get more than $5 each, regardless of age or original cost, because the headsets will be used for repair parts rather than refurbished and resold.

Repair, Refurbish, or Recycle and Replace

At this point, you should be proud of yourself! You’ve determined the headset’s model, warranty status and the value. Now you need to decide which ones you will be repairing, refurbishing or recycling. It’s your call, however, my advice would be to repair in-warranty corded and wireless headsets; refurbish popular models worth $100 or more used; and recycle and/ or trade in the rest. I hope this was helpful—and if your company is in need of a full-service headset supplier, like Hands-Free Communications, LLC, we’d appreciate the opportunity to help you make the best and most cost-effective headset procurement decisions.


Cindy Mulligan is President/Owner of Hands-Free Communications, LLC, a certified diversity supplier of headsets and conference phones. Formerly in channel sales with Jabra and a Regional Sales Manager for GBH Distributing she has over 15 years’ experience in the telecom reseller industry.

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