Technology is advancing at the speed of light. Seems like every day there's a newer, cooler tech gadget. What was "in" a year ago may already be obsolete.

That's why several retail stores, including Best Buy, WalMart, RadioShack, Dell and Office Depot are offering "buyback insurance."

Consumers may purchase a buyback insurance plan. In return, the store will buy back an old device for as much as half of the original costs -- as long as the gadget is returned within a few years.

Los Angeles-based TechForward began selling buyback insurance plans in 2008. TechForward is the buyback insurance provider for many of the retailer listed above. Best Buy launched its own buyback insurance program in 2010, although they are involved in litigation with TechFoward over a trademark secrets dispute.

The concept is simple. A consumer may purchase a buyback plan on an HDTV, for example, for about $180. If the buyer brings back their TV in good shape witin two-four years (depending on the item), the store will provide the consumer with a percentage of the original price. The payout will vary depending on how long the consumer had the item.

How does the program benefit retailers? First off, the product is a good value-added service for customers. It is also a very profitable product. For example, Best Buy's buyback insurance and warranty products accounted for 6 percent of the company's approximate $11 billion in sales in the last quarter -- and 11 percent of the company's overall $2.8 billion profit.