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May 13, 2010

Mobile Phone Recycling companies: scam? A review

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by Brian Turner

Mobile phones are the most common electronic devices on earth by volume, and a third of the tin used in them is mined from the war-ravaged Republic of Congo, last home of the threatened Mountain Gorilla.

No wonder recycling old mobile phones should be considered a priority, and why a number of companies are trying to position themselves as the market leader for this growing area.

This is not least by offering more money to recycle your mobile phone than you would normally be able to get if selling second-hand on the street or in the paper classifieds.

The trouble is, like any growth industry, there tends to be a handful of key company players with long-term business goals, surrounded by an unhealthy crowd of opportunists and affiliates whose aim is short-term gain over consumers.

Also be warned that the phone you send in needs to be in very good condition to get the full price offered - across the sector around 20% of phones offered for recycling will get a lower price due to some kind of damage, not least scratching and other cosmetic damage that makes a phone scream “second-hand”!

Therefore if you’re looking to recycle your old mobile phone - and good on you - here are the better companies to consider doing business with:

Mobile Phone Xchange

One of the biggest mobile phone recycling companies, MobilePhoneXchange provide the service directly, as well as through larger business partners such as Littlewoods, News of the World, and Argos.

According to MoneySavingsExpert, they also offer the highest price for good condition phones than any other mobile recycling company.

They offer the best range of payment options, such as paying directly into your bank account, cheque, text payment, or via vouchers from Debenhams, Argos, or Marks and Spencer.

Mobile Phone Exchange homepage: http://www.mobilephonexchange.co.uk/

Envirofone

Envirofone is one of the oldest and more established among the mobile recycling companies.

According to their website, Envirofone promises to return your phone if you’re not happy with the price offered. This can be a particular advantage if you change your mind, or your phone is determined to have more cosmetic damage than you would otherwise claim.

Envirofone website: http://www.envirofone.com/

Mazuma Mobile

Mazuma Mobile is one of the newest big companies on the block in the UK’s mobile phone recycling industry, and have been pushing hard with a long-running high-profile TV advertising campaign.

The company has also made a point of making customer care, rather than pricing, a key priority. Mobile phone recycling companies inevitably face complaints on the price offered if the phone is not in 100% good condition, so Mazuma have made more effort than others to try and address this head on.

Mazuma Mobile webste: http://www.mazumamobile.com/

Fonebank

Fonebank are one of the other established names in the mobile phones recycling industry, and the oldest of the larger companies that offer to buy mobile phones for recycling.

Claiming to have paid out £10 million for mobile phones for recycling in 2009, they do not offer as many flexible benefits as the other companies listed above.

However, Fonebank remains worth considering as one of the UK’s top companies for buying mobile phones for recycling.

Fonebank website: http://www.fonebank.com/

Story link: Mobile Phone Recycling companies: scam? A review


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36 Comments »
  1. I have recently sent a phone into sky phones. About 4 weeks ago. Got promised £84.50 for a modern phone with no damage. Got an email a week later to say the price has been dropped becauce of damage ( there was none) to £64. I have already paid the £84 to my son whos phone it was, and despite loads of emails sent threating legal action as it had now been weeks and weeks, ive not reieved any emails or payment (which was meant to be into my paypal account). No contact at all. This money is a lot to me as we are moving home soon, so need to get it sorted :(

    Comment by L Curtis — November 11, 2010 @ 1:06 am

  2. Did you ever get sorted with skyphones? I sent my phone in about 4/5 weeks ago by special delivery to be on the safe side. They eventually acknowledged receipt and on 29 October emailed to say it had passed testing and payment was being processed but I haven’t received payment via paypal yet. I have sent emails but no reply and this morning tried to phone skyphones. It just rang off the hook then when I rang back it was engaged so tried again and it rang off the hook again which makes me think they’re not answering calls. Really worried I’ve been scammed and I’ve actually paid them to take my phone by paying for special delivery thinking I was being cautious!!!

    Comment by L mcb — November 12, 2010 @ 11:18 am

  3. I have also sent my iPhone to Skyphones recently as they were offering the best price on a price comparison site. The same thing also happend to me. They offered me £160, but after checking the phone they only offered £120, which sucks, but I just accepted it. They promised to pay me within 7 days but it’s nearly been two weeks. I’ve emailed them and called by no answer!

    Comment by J Rahman — November 12, 2010 @ 12:21 pm

  4. Oh dear, I too sent a couple of phones off to them because they were offering the best prices, that was 12 days ago.. has anyone had any money off them or any contact??

    Comment by Gareth — November 12, 2010 @ 1:03 pm

  5. Same here as well. They have my phone, I received confirmation that is passed their test and then another email advising payment was on its way. This was over a month ago and I’m still waiting after loads of chasing by email and phone. But they never reply nor answer calls….AVOID! I’ve given up hope which I feel is what they’re after. Thank god it was for only £24 I sent a couple of iPhones to Mazumba and got payment straight away. DONT BE SUCKED IN BY SKYPHONE’S PRICES!!!

    Comment by Jason Bingham — November 12, 2010 @ 5:37 pm

  6. I sent two phones off to them over 2 weeks ago and I’ve heard nothing at all from them. I also selected paypal as the payment method.. Anyone heard anything?

    Comment by Abbey — November 13, 2010 @ 4:07 pm

  7. I send my phone to Skyphone , and was promptly notified that the price was reduced by £12 as there was scratches on the phone.When I sent the phone them there was none! Agreed lower price because if I did not then there would be a £12 admin fees for returning the phone. Still have not got my cheque after three weeks. I now have to report my phone stolen and hopefully it can be blocked.This company is a scam. please do as much as you can to publicise this.

    Comment by George Witter — November 16, 2010 @ 12:31 pm

  8. AVOID SKYPHONES

    Same as everyone else, sent phone, got confirmation email, no cash, no response to phone or emails, anyone got any ideas what to do?

    Comment by Richard — November 16, 2010 @ 1:20 pm

  9. Look this is getting to be a major fraud.There are loads of different forums all saying the same things. i too have been ripped off by this company.if you can all look at the ‘Skyphones’ facebook page,there is a discussions board where someone is collaborating all these complaints and passing them on to watchdog.it seems that this company operates abroad aswell maybe Lithuania the company Director is a woman called Milda Palaimate who apparently lives in Sweeden Confused?

    Comment by Tony — November 16, 2010 @ 1:25 pm

  10. I reported my phone loss and asked for it to be blocked, the next day received payment via paypal, I did not request payment via paypal, but was more than happy to open an account, the payment was further reduced by £2.93, being paypal fee. if Skyphone require me to unblock my phone then they will need to pay an admin fee of £12.I feel that the law needs changing for situations like these, at least the post office should be bared from delivering phone to Skyphone address.

    Comment by George Witter — November 18, 2010 @ 2:12 pm

  11. I sent two phones to Skyphones on the 11th October, they gave me a price of £444, on receipt they dropped it to £438 for damage (there was no damage) but for the sake of £6 I wasn’t concerned. I received an email on October 24th saying payment was being processed, nearly a month later I have not received a penny, as with others on here I have sent 7 emails with no response, I have called dozens of times and I get either the engaged tone or the phone rings out. I have contacted trading standards and they have advised me to send a breach of contract letter which I have done. Next step I will be travelling to their address to find out what is going on.

    Comment by Martin — November 18, 2010 @ 6:13 pm

  12. “I will be travelling to their address to find out what is going on.” Martin don’t waste your time travelling to Skyphone address, its only a collection point, the actual address is occupied by a double glazing shop.

    Comment by George Witter — November 18, 2010 @ 8:26 pm

  13. Unfortunately it looks like I too have fallen foul to these scammers..
    I sent my iPhone into them with a known crack on it, they reduced the original £161 offer to £145 which I thought fair.
    Last I heard from them though was 27 Oct saying that my money was on it’s way, I selected BACS payment to speed things along, but I fail to believe it takes this long to process!
    I have emailed numerous times since, and am getting nothing. Seriously disappointing.

    Comment by Rob — November 19, 2010 @ 4:09 pm

  14. If you feel Skyphones is a scam each of you can report it to Gov’ts Consumer Direct trading standards https://secure.consumerdirect.gov.uk/reportascam.aspx for investigation.

    Comment by Rob — November 22, 2010 @ 12:00 pm

  15. Ive just reported these to Trading standards, they have done me over too, does anyone have their address, someone posted they are operating from a double glazing shop but i need to get their address for trading standards.

    Comment by NB — November 23, 2010 @ 12:03 pm

  16. Quick update, I contacted trading standards who advised me to send a breach of contract letter, I sent one recorded delivery on the 22nd it reached Skyphones today (23rd) this afternoon the money was paid into my account, bit of a coincidence? Anyway I have received what they owe me, I have 3 more phones to sell but I will not be touching Skyphones with a bargepole ever again. Good luck to everyone still owed money I hope you obtain a satisfactory outcome.

    Comment by martin — November 23, 2010 @ 3:12 pm

  17. haha all you idiots who went with skyphone because they offered the best price, remember the old saying ”if it sounds too good to be true it probably is”. you should have gone to a reputable firm offering less money instead of being greedy

    Comment by bob — November 25, 2010 @ 1:52 pm

  18. same as all the others.sent phone.dropped price.no payment.no answer to emailsor phone.absolute scam.disgusted.

    Comment by keith roberts — November 25, 2010 @ 2:14 pm

  19. Bob that really isn’t helpful is it?! Admittedly we were fooled but some people need as much money as poss. At least we’re not sad enough to be joining in discussions which have nothing to do with us, we’re just trying to help each other out!
    Anyway, Martin, did you get a template letter from trading standards? Would like to give that a go!

    Comment by Lisa — November 25, 2010 @ 3:04 pm

  20. Lisa,

    I don’t have a template but if you call your local Trading Standards office they will tell you what to put in the letter.

    Comment by Martin — November 25, 2010 @ 3:18 pm

  21. Update to post 13:
    After weeks of trying to contact them by phone and email, even threatening to report them to Trading Standards, the Office of Fair Trading, and even the Police, I finally got paid on Monday!
    Of course I hadn’t been told by Skyphones that I had been paid, so didn’t realise until I checked my account.
    Good luck to those still waiting, there is hope!

    Comment by Rob — November 25, 2010 @ 5:14 pm

  22. I got paid by these lot, the full amount, but took them 2 weeks - they also operate fonecraze too. I should have gone with fonebank, who I usually recycle with and always have a cheque with me in a couple of days, but fonecraze was offering £37.50 as opposed to £30.

    I wont be using them again, and hope they pay out to all who are having problems.

    Comment by Jimmy — November 26, 2010 @ 2:22 am

  23. Dear Customers,

    Skyphones would like to sincerely apologize for the negative experience that you had with our company. This is not representative of the way we treat our customers. We are very sorry that it has taken such a long time to remit our payments to you and we hope that you will understand that we have been experiencing some extremely high volume of mobile phones being sent to us. However we would like to inform you, that we are now on the road to recovery and anticipate to clear all our backlog of orders before the 21 of December 2010. Thank you for your patience and please be assured that we
    will do everything in our power to ensure that this type of error does not occur in the future and payments will reach our customers in time.
    Sincerely,
    Skyphones Management

    Comment by Mike — December 1, 2010 @ 5:17 pm

  24. Mike,

    I think everyone understands that companies go through difficult periods, my main concern (and I believe many others who have experienced a problem with Skyphones) is the complete lack of information and contact which leaves everyone in the dark and causes resentment and concerns about the company operating legitimately. Had problems been handled more professionally then the reputation of Skyphones would not have been damaged to the degree it has.

    Comment by Martin — December 1, 2010 @ 5:56 pm

  25. DO NOT SEND YOUR MOBILE TO SKYPHONES! THERE A DISGRACE.

    Comment by madison — December 1, 2010 @ 6:31 pm

  26. ^i wish i thought that comment was genuine but i doubt it, why dont they answer the phone.

    Comment by madison — December 1, 2010 @ 6:34 pm

  27. Mike@skyphones, I appreciate your comments and hope that they are indeed sincere and followed up by subsequent payments to us customers as contractually agreed. As per my letter which having checked on royal mail’s tracking service, I understand you received today, I am still expecting my payment to be made within 7 days of the date of my letter as I have already waited over a month since your confirmation of payment email and frankly 21st December is just too long. If I do receive payment I will take no further action and perhaps you may can recover some of your reputation.

    To everyone else, I will keep you posted as to whether I receive payment. Let’s hope we all get what payments we are owed for our property as agreed, and soon!

    Lisa

    Comment by Lisa — December 1, 2010 @ 9:26 pm

  28. Mazuma : Sent in my fully working iphone, got quoted £120.

    They gave me £50 and said it was broken which it definitely wasn’t! They didn’t contact me by email and told lies about trying to contact me.

    Mazuma mobile is a scam

    Comment by Peter — December 7, 2010 @ 2:19 pm

  29. STILL DIDN’T GET PAID FOR IT
    i have a feeling this company is a kind of chit will tell pupil to avoid this site.

    To: …………@hotmail.com
    > Subject: Skyphones.org: Your item is not as on order
    > From: offers@skyphones.org
    > Date: Thu, 11 Nov 2010 05:05:07 +0000
    >
    >
    > Dear Koney Orlince D Costa,
    > We would like to inform you that your item order No. (15915) has now been through our technical department and has been accepted,
    > however it does not meet the requirements for full payment. Upon inspection, the following faults were found:
    > Scratches on the screen and body.
    >
    > In this instance we would like to offer you £20 for your phone.
    >
    > If you do not reply within 3 days we will assume you accept the revised price and will process the payment.
    > If you choose to decline our new offer please reply to this e-mail and after an administration charge of £12 is paid we will send the handset back to you within 7 days.
    >
    > Thank you for choosing us to recycle your handset and keeping the environment clean for our future.
    >
    > Skyphones.org

    Comment by KONEY O D COSTA — December 7, 2010 @ 10:48 pm

  30. I HAVE SENT OFF 2 PHONES OVER 8 WEEKS AGO AND NOT GOT A PENNY, IT WOULD BE GREAT IF SOMEONE COULD PASS ON THEIR LETTERS SO EVERYONE AFFECTED COULD USE THEM?

    Comment by george — December 8, 2010 @ 3:25 pm

  31. Final update - I got my money through via paypal, finally, yay!!! So perservere people, write your letters of breach of contract giving them notice of proceedings, send via recorded delivery and you SHOULD receive your payment within 7 days. Wishing you all the best of luck. Lisa

    Comment by Lisa — December 8, 2010 @ 3:49 pm

  32. DO NOT USE THIS COMPANY!!I’m exactly the same as you all. It’s now over 2 months and still no sign of any payment. I’ve sent an e mail threatening to report them to trading standards but surprise suprise they dont seem phased by this and like the other many e mails I have sent i’ve still not had a reply.Following not having a reply I have now reported them.It’ll be interseting to see if they do actually pay up by 21st… Not holding my breath.I could kick myself for not sending the phones to a reputable company and being fooled by the promise of a higher price. This is unlike me really but due to have a baby in 4 months so every penny helps.

    Comment by Penno — December 9, 2010 @ 7:23 pm

  33. Hello I too am a fool of this website I’m owed £340 from month ago, can anybody point me in the right direction of what to send them special delivery? Trading standard act? Many thanks all,

    Comment by Ashlea — December 10, 2010 @ 5:16 pm

  34. These stories sound very familiar! i sent my phone after being quoted 25.50, then about 2 weeks later got e-mail sayin due to damage (which there was none) they could only offer me £17!!an for them to return it to me, would cost £12! I got email fromt hem on 28th Nov saying my payment was on the way, and still no payment!! cant get in touch with them! looks like ive been done! :(

    Comment by Lynne — December 13, 2010 @ 8:34 pm

  35. I have a business in coventry called sky phones ltd trading LEGALLY, we dont buy phones for recycling. We are nothing to do with sky phones org. It seems no one can get to speak to anyone at this company so they look up our shops number as it is very similar in name. I probably get three phone calls everyday with angry customers complaining of not recieving their money. Surely something can be done with this fraudulent company as i am sick of explaining to their customers they probably wont recieve anything. If you have been a victim of this company i hope you report this to trading standards and the police!!!!

    Comment by lorenzo grasso — December 14, 2010 @ 11:04 pm

  36. Hello all, has anybody heard Any more on this
    ? Still cannot get hold of anyone, its an absolute
    Disgrace, next step is to contact trading I think .

    Comment by Ashlea — December 18, 2010 @ 11:57 am

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