Mike Zitz writes about consumer electronics and gadgets for

‘Future-Proofing’: Best Buy will buy back your iPad if you develop Xoom envy

The “Buy Back” program Best Buy announced this week is a pretty good idea.

It’s called “Future-Proofing.’

If customers pay a fee starting at $69, the electronic store chain will take the product back within two years for laptops, netbooks, tablets and post-paid mobile phones–and four years for TVs. (Products that cost more than $5,000 are ineligible.) Customers will be refunded up to 50 percent of the original price in the form of a Best Buy gift card which they can instantly spend on whatever the flavor of the month is, tech toy-wise.

Best Buy already had a fee-free program. And it doesn’t require a fee upfront. But I went to and it told me I’d get a gift card

in the mail three weeks from now for $112 for the Apple MacBook Air I bought at Best Buy a month ago. Let’s just say that I paid a lot more than

$112 for it. So the Buy Back program is clearly a much better deal.

“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,” said Brian Dunn, chief executive officer of Best Buy in a statement. “We call this ‘future-proofing’ because our customers can now have more confidence that they’re protecting the value of the products they’re purchasing today.”

A study showed that 40 percent of consumers are holding back on consumer electronics purchases out of fear that something better would come out a monrh or two later. It also showed that 73 percent would feel more confident in buying with a guarantee that they could sell the product back to the store in that eventuality.