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Cellphones The Almighty Buck Wireless Networking

Automated Machines To Recycle Phones For Money 135 135

judgecorp writes "EcoATM is going to install machines which give money for old phones across the U.S. The system, shown at CES, takes a photo of any phone or other gadget put in its tray, and provides a data cable (for every kind of phone?) to check it is working. The machine offers a quote based on the current used price, and pays up on the spot."
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Automated Machines To Recycle Phones For Money

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  • Re:Cracked screen? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by vlm (69642) on Monday January 16, 2012 @10:46AM (#38713236)

    What do these recycling companies do with these phones anyway?

    One division of a cell phone seller that I'm familiar with wipes them with windex, therefore marks the value up on the books to about $150 because its now "reconditioned", donates them to battered women, homeless people, etc, as 911 emergency phones, marks the $150 loss/donation on their tax return, and uses that to balance against their income earned from selling phones. Essentially its a tax dodge. Don't know how it works with separate companies or non-profit, all the donation credits in the world are useless from a tax perspective unless you have taxable profits...

    The only dodge I can think of for a church would be something like take an income stream of $1M of sunday donations and 1000 junk cellphones, mark up the value of the phones to $1000 each using some windex and give them away, so you gave away $1000 * 1000 phones = $1M. Now you've got $1M cash unaccountable for, which as a good christian evangelist televangelist you can spend on cocaine and male prostitutes, in other words, blow and ... blow, I guess, while publishing that you took in $1M and some phones and send out $1M and some phones so superficially there's nothing fishy going on with the finances.

  • by King_TJ (85913) on Monday January 16, 2012 @11:27AM (#38713744) Journal

    The big complaint I have with used cellphones, at least here in the USA, is this:

    Most people obtain their new phone with a 1 or 2 year contract, so the phone's price is heavily subsidized up-front. You might get a $700 phone for $200, or a $400 phone for $50. You wind up paying its full price, of course, but only as you pay your monthly bills to finish off your contract (or pay the ETF to get out of it sooner).

    Problem is, the used market generally views these devices as though their actual VALUE is relative to the subsidized prices, not the TRUE prices.

    As just one example? My Sprint HTC Evo 4G is just under 1 year old right now, and when I got it, it was the "rock star" of phones on the Sprint network. There was really nothing better they could sell you, even if you wanted it. Currently, Sprint has a "trade in" offer where you can send back your old phone for credit on your future bills (not even cash!), and my Evo is worth a whopping $80, if in "excellent condition". Never-mind I'm probably still paying Sprint more than that for the phone, as I use up the remainder of the 2 year contract I had with it!

    And judging from my experiences with most of the "cellphone recyclers" out there I'd talked to, I suspect they pay even LESS on average. Their business models usually revolve around the idea that plenty of people value their used phones at "basically zero", considering them a waste of space, or extra junk lying around.

    If you've got a plain old flip-phone of some sort (hardly matters what make, model or how new) -- because it's used and not a "smartphone", I'd say you'd be lucky to get even $5 - $10 for it from most recyclers. That's one hell of a depreciation rate, when you consider a lot of those were "military spec" Nextels and such, that their owners only recently got done paying hundreds for in their contracts.

    I've consistently found I got FAR more out of semi-recent model used cellphones by reselling them on Craigslist or even eBay, vs. recycling them. People who don't want long contracts but need reliable cellular service with a major carrier quickly realize the real value of these used phones, and are essentially the only customers you'll have who'll pay you a fair price for one.

Getting the job done is no excuse for not following the rules. Corollary: Following the rules will not get the job done.