IKEA Buy Back & Resell launches in US - but a lot of products aren't eligible

IKEA furniture may have an often-unwarranted reputation for being disposable, but the retailer may soon be offering you some money back for your old items as it launches its Buy Back & Resell service in the US. Trialed already in several international markets, the scheme could offer an alternative to Craigslist – or dumping that old KALLAX bookcase at the side of the road – though with some provisos and exceptions.

To begin with, the pilot is kicking off at just one location: IKEA Conshohocken in southeast Pennsylvania. It'll be running from August 30 to September 19, 2021, and you'll need to be an IKEA Family member in order to take part.

You can't just show up with a pickup full of old furniture and expect to walk out with cash, mind. First off, IKEA requires anyone wanting to sell back an item to fill out a request form. The retailer will then contact them with an offer that they can accept if they choose.

Not every product can be sold back, either. Many of the exceptions are what you'd expect: you can't take in non-IKEA products, mattresses and bed textiles like mattress-toppers and blankets, plants, or any modified, hacked, or painted products. However the list also includes lighting and textiles, any products that have been used outside, kitchens, modular wardrobes, any electrical appliances and products, and upholstered and leather products.

Sofas and armchairs aren't eligible either, nor children's and baby products like cribs and change tables. Beds and bed rages are out, along with chests of drawers, any items including glass like mirrors, IKEA Market Hall products, and non-assembled items.

Returned items, unsurprisingly, have to be clean and unmodified, and only used in personal, household settings. Nothing commercially-used or in large quantities. If you turn up at the store with something that IKEA doesn't like the look of, it reserves the right to refuse any products, too.

"All products are reviewed based on condition, age and functionality," the retailer explains. "When you complete the online form, you will receive an initial email quote based on the information you provided–bring it with your fully assembled product to IKEA Conshohocken Returns & Exchanges. Once inside, check-in and a co-worker will review your product once again in-person to confirm the condition."

If you do have a qualifying product, IKEA will pay you in store credit. Items brought back will be put up for sale in the new Resell section of the store; they'll be excluded from from the normal IKEA return policy, though you can bring back a Resell item and – assuming you get an offer – use the Buy Back & Resell service again.

The goal, IKEA says, is to cut down on the amount of furniture that ends up in landfill. Assuming the pilot goes according to plan, the retailer says it hopes to roll it out to other markets in the US. The "ultimate goal" is to offer it as a permanent service across the US, apparently, but there's no public timescale for when that might happen.