Over 1 million mobile phones are sent to recyclers in the UK each month in return for cash, with an average price now approaching 40 a handset. This price is being driven higher by the arrival of new valuable smart phones which in some cases are worth 250. Many major retailers also operate in house trade in schemes either in store or via their web site and the idea is being extended to many other items like iPods, gaming consoles and satellite navigation systems.
With so much cash changing hands it inevitably attracts fraudsters and criminals. The recycling industry have now taken action to make it harder for the crooks to exchange stolen property for cash by introducing an industry wide code of practice supported by the Police and the Home Office.
However part of the code has meant a number of people have suffered some delays in getting cash for their phones. This is because the new system involves the recycler having to do a background check on the serial number of every phone and a surprising number are failing this due diligence.
Neil Stewart, Commercial Director of Recipero Limited which are signed up to the charter said “there are a few unscrupulous people out there trying to make money out of this process and there are several fraudulent scams involved. The most common one is to report a phone as stolen to the Police, make an insurance claim, get a new phone and then try and trade in the old one. This is actually a criminal offense and one which we would like to stamp out; the new checking system identifies a lot of this type of fraud”.
CheckMEND, the company that provides the checking service works closely with the mobile phone industry and Police and Adrian Portlock the CEO of the company said “we are currently checking over 1.5 million phones a month and some days we are getting over 5000 which fail the process. The introduction of the charter has highlighted a range of issues and one is the education of the public that this system is now in place and we have issued guidelines to assist them in understanding how it works, and how not to be caught out by sending in phones or other property that won’t pass due diligence”.
This advice is easy to follow and means that your payment will not be held up. The advice includes:
- Phones that are found to be reported lost, stolen, blocked by networks or having been the subject of an insurance claim will not be paid out on.
The seller will be informed and given 28 days to resolve the issue and get the records updated.
Failure to do so will mean the phone is disposed of by the recycler and the seller will receive no value for the handset.
To discover if the phone has any of the above records associated with it the seller is strongly advised to run a check on CheckMEND before sending off the phone. If the phone has any of these records associated with it do not send the phone until you have contacted the relevant party and got the records updated.