it supportYou may have heard about the new “Buy Back” pro-gram being offered by Best Buy. The premise behind Best Buy’s Buy Back program is simple: Buy a technol-ogy product in certain categories – mobile phones (but not pre-paid phones), laptops, netbooks, tablet computers and TVs – from Best Buy, and the store will let you bring it back and receive a portion of the purchase price. Of course, there are “catches.”

First, the Buy Back program isn’t free. Its upfront cost is based on what you’re buying. For example, the Buy Back benefit on a $2,500 TV would cost $349.99. New laptops can run $70 and phones $40 to $60. Second, Best Buy won’t give you the full purchase price back. The amount is based on the age of the device and the condition it’s in. An item returned within six months will get you a maximum of 50% of the purchase price provided it’s in good condi-tion and you have all the parts. If you wait 18 to 24 months, you’ll get no more than 20% and if you wait 24 to 48 months, you’ll only get 10%.

Finally, you don’t get cash but a Best Buy gift card, which, naturally, can only be used at Best Buy. So is it a good deal? Depends on how often you like to upgrade your equipment and how much you frequent Best Buy stores. If you like new things and love Best Buy, it’s probably a great deal. However, there are many critics of the promotion who say the only beneficiary is Best Buy.