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135 comments

shut up (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38713086)

and take my cellphone

Re:shut up (3, Insightful)

durrr (1316311) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713298)

take my plastic replica with a 5$ microcontroller that pretends it's an iphone

Re:shut up (1)

admiralranga (2007120) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713360)

na, sell kits that pretend to be phones. Better money plus it's legal

Re:shut up (1)

autocracy (192714) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714852)

Using it to knowingly misrepresent for fraud, even to a vending machine or kiosk, definitely isn't legal. I doubt advertising a tool as such is acceptable either.

Re:shut up (2)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714142)

take my plastic replica with a 5$ microcontroller that pretends it's an iphone

I doubt they'll pay out more than $5 per phone anyway. It's meant ot be an alternative to dropping them in the trash, not a way to get a fair resale price.

of course not (1)

donaggie03 (769758) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713102)

Not every kind of phone. Just the million types that use the micro-USB, mini-USB, and the iphone connector. That's all you need really.

Re:of course not (2)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713394)

Actually there's only about a dozen connectors that work with 99% of the phones available in the US the last ten years. If the cord doesn't work then the phone is likely too old to be of any use anyway.

But what prevents theft? Steal an iPhone, slip it in the machine and instant money! Currently you have to wait hours to find a craigslist buyer or pawn it fast but at least the phone is still there for recovery. I'm sure you can't open it to see if your stolen phone is in there so you'll never know.

Re:of course not (5, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713524)

But what prevents theft?

These machines are not going to hand out cash like an ATM, because they'd have to be refilled and they'd have to be more secure.

The machines will probably require you to insert an ATM card or credit card, so your identity will be associated with the transaction and the stolen phone you just tried to sell it. Even better, maybe they'll give you a coupon or "gift card" good for 10% off a new phone (upon activation of 2 year contract).

Eventually, the penalty for selling a stolen phone to this machine will be death, because you tried to take money from a corporation. Stealing the phone itself will carry a penalty of a $5 fine because all you did was steal from a human being.

Re:of course not (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714814)

dunno, the vid I saw few months ago, hell, maybe even 8 months+ ago, about these things looked like they'd be placed in places like atm would be placed into. the place would be secure. it would have to be like that anyways, with some human on some desk seeing what's happening. otherwise you could screw with them, cut the connectors etc vandalism.

Re:of course not (1)

Alter_3d (948458) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714850)

That sounds interesting, but would you insert your debit or credit card into any machine that claimed to give you money? Not very safe.

Re:of course not (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713546)

Maybe you have to provide bank account details or have the money paid onto a debit/credit card or something similarly easy to trace.

Re:of course not (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713914)

But what prevents theft? Steal an iPhone, slip it in the machine and instant money!

Instant pocket money. It will pay a scrap dealer's price, probably a few dollars. Better than nothing, but you'd be a fool to use it for a working (stolen) iPhone. It's meant as alternative to just binning it.

We have a local electronics scrap dealer. He paid me $2 for my old 17" CRT monitor, still on working order. Cost about $200 new, 10 years ago. But I didn't need it and after a week advertising it online, clearly no one else did either, so it was literally $2 or nothing, and at least it'll get recycled rather than just going to a landfill.

Re:of course not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38714204)

If that were the case, why would they care to check that it was working?

Re:of course not (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38714060)

It scans your ID, takes your picture, and reads your fingerprint before taking your phone. Pretty risky for a thief. Check out the video at http://www.engadget.com/2011/10/13/ecoatm-offers-instant-money-for-your-old-phone-we-go-hands-on-a/ [engadget.com]

Great. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38713110)

All that, and still no Suicide Booths.

Re:Great. (1)

Eraesr (1629799) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713296)

Bite my shiny metal ass

Re:Great. (1)

FranktehReaver (2441748) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713508)

You are now dead. Please take your receipt.

Stealing phones? (5, Insightful)

AliasMrAlias (1445453) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713114)

Seems stealing phones just got a lot less risky...

Re:Stealing phones? (4, Funny)

deniable (76198) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713134)

AFM = Automatic Fencing Machine

Re:Stealing phones? (3, Funny)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713810)

En garde!

Re:Stealing phones? (1)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713916)

Apple can have their own version:
iPhence

Re:Stealing phones? (1)

digitrev (989335) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713256)

No kidding. I'd suggest holding the phones for at least one month before they're allowed to be processed. That being said, I'm sure someone could find a way to make this work without running into the theft issue.

Re:Stealing phones? (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713558)

Demand a credit or debit card and make the payment to that account? Sure you can drop a stolen phone in there if you want the police to pay a visit to the account holder.

Re:Stealing phones? (1)

DanCo (576091) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714014)

So I paid cash for a prepaid debit card. Now what?

Re:Stealing phones? (1)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714762)

Do prepaid debit cards allow non-charge-back deposits by third parties? Sounds like that would be pretty easy to prevent.

Declined (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714780)

So I paid cash for a prepaid debit card. Now what?

No home billing zip code? Declined.

Re:Stealing phones? (1)

Cylix (55374) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714804)

I'll foil the system by using a stolen bank card!

You'll never catch me, nyaaah!

Re:Stealing phones? (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714344)

Just make sure you're holding it the right way!

Re:Stealing phones? (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713282)

That too was my initial reaction to the idea. I guess it's not hard to imagine how this could be used for bad purposes.

Re:Stealing phones? (4, Informative)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713338)

From their FAQ:

What happens if my phone is stolen and someone tries to cash it in?
ecoATM kiosks have a variety of features in place specifically to deter stolen phones from entering our system. These features include the ability to capture;
Drivers License or Govt ID
Credit card
Digital signature
Fingerprint
Picture / Video of consumer via webcam
Address & email
Date & location of transaction
Details of what was collected, including the serial number
ecoATM kiosks are also capable of refusing to transact any phones found in the databases that tract reported stolen phones.

Presumably which ones are actually used will vary from country to country and according to the agreement with the retailer who hosts the unit.

I'm sure the determined thief can find their way around these. But then they can already sell to a pawn broker or on ebay. A few of the dumber criminals might get caught.

Re:Stealing phones? (2)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713624)

Criminals aren't just dumb, some really don't give a rats ass about being identified. If they can run in, collect cash, and scram in less than a minute, it would be a productive day for them. Evidence and whatnot is meaningless as it only addresses the issue after the crime has already happened. So unless this only activates after performing a DB lookup of a citizen, there's nothing to prevent someone forging a false ID.

I think the root problem with this idea is the fact it's offering instant cash. Why in such a hurry? Just cut them a check which would imply proper shipping and traceable bank account. Which brings up another point. Sometime in the future, it's quite possible that we will live in a cashless society. Lord knows the Federal Gov want's to tract each and every transaction. It would cut down on violent crime, drug abuse, and prevent tax evasion. It would also save by not having the Treasury create physical currency. It would also allow them to inject more money (inflation) in real-time into the system via a few keystrokes sort of speak.

Re:Stealing phones? (0)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714372)

Ok, I'm not a grammar nazi or anything and wouldn't normally even bring this up, but you are the second person in a row to use the word "tract", so at this point I can't just assume it is a typo. "Tract" refers to a section of land, a short work of literature (usually political or religious in nature), or a section of certain body parts (such as the intestinal tract). Also, it's a noun, not a verb. The word you and your parent poster are looking for is the verb "track", which means (in this case, it has lots of meanings) to record and follow the history and movements of.

Re:Stealing phones? (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714620)

Correct. It wasn't a typo. My bad. It's rare, but I've noticed that I will substitute the correct spelling of one word for another when they phonetically sound similar. While I do make a best effort to proofread prior to posting, I do screw up from time to time. And honestly, I try not to put too much effort into this. It is after all a public forum, not a dissertation. Life is too short. Call me lazy if you want.

Pair a grammar correction with a topical reply (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714866)

PROTIP: It's not considered very nice to reply solely to correct someone's grammar or usage unless the error makes it nearly impossible to understand someone's post. I have found it more polite to include a topical reply to one's point in the same comment as your correction. It might look like the following: "I'll assume that by 'rats ass' you meant 'rat's ass', and by 'tract' you meant 'track'. In that case: Not everybody can afford [etc.]"

Re:Stealing phones? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714898)

Not everybody is a professional merchant who can afford the monthly fee that a credit card processor charges. In the cashless society you put forward, how would individuals pay other individuals?

Re:Stealing phones? (1)

linuxwolf69 (1996104) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713706)

Wow... that actually makes it sound worse... "Sell us your phone... and don't worry... we'll just create a database of your name, address, email, CC, DL, fingerprint, and just to be safe... we'll even take a picture to attach to your file..."

Sounds to me more like a great way to build a large database of people that wouldn't normally have things like prints on file.

Re:Stealing phones? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713390)

The obvious way of avoiding that would be to require the payments to a traceable bank account, rather than in cash. That said, most operators will flag an IMEI as stolen quite quickly, and the machine can query the IMEI quite easily. It would be easy to report all IMEIs as soon as the phone was inserted and reverse the payment if it was reported stolen within a week.

Re:Stealing phones? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38713554)

Sure, so the thief uses a stolen account credentials, and transfers the money out of the account ASAP so the account owner is stuck with the reversed transaction.

Re:Stealing phones? (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713954)

That said, most operators will flag an IMEI as stolen quite quickly

These machines will be found in shopping malls. What if the thief tries to fence the phone to a machine in the same mall as where he "found" it in a handbag? The victim may not yet know that her phone is gone, much less made a deposition at the police station and listed the IMEI...

Re:Stealing phones? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714052)

That's why I said it would need the delay. If the payment is not cash, but some form of electronic transfer (most credit cards support payments to them as well as from) then it could be reversed if the phone is reported stolen before the period is up. If you pay into someone else's stolen credit card, then you can't get the funds, so it's not a major issue.

Re:Stealing phones? (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713426)

Seems stealing phones just got a lot less risky...

Also setting someone up to take the fall. If they're not complete idiots they'll demand an address to send a check to.

So, let say I want to set up AliasMrAlias and I know his address (This is 100% hypothetical, I have nothing against you, no idea where you live other than probably planet Earth, it just makes a better story). Buy a burner phone, maybe a $20 virgin mobile phone at Target or whatever. Recycle it and provide AliasMrAlias's public available address and contact information. File a police report that someone stole my phone from my jacket while I'm at the bar, sorry I got no description but I do happen to have the serial number, model number, ESN, whatever, basically all the stuff the automated fencing machine collects. AliasMrAlias gets busted for theft / stolen property / whatever / maybe even forced by court to send me the money "he earned" from selling my phone. It was funny to use AliasMrAlias's name in the example, but I suspect they're will be a heck of a lot more examples of ex-girlfriends, ex-boyfriends, ex-spouses, angry coworkers, angry neighbors, angry landlords, practical jokers getting way the heck out of hand, etc.

Once its well known that its non-prosecutable due to this little problem, the real thieves and muggers will then move into that market. I'm not sure if ANY "real civilians" will ever use this service. Kind of like check cashing loanshark places are mostly used to profit off identity theft.

Re:Stealing phones? (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714466)

The follow up to your little hypothetical story is that the police examine the video footage of the automated fencing machine, see it was you, not him that sold the phone to it, and give you (or the hypothetical individual) 5-10 for identity theft (or whatever the hell framing someone for a crime falls under). Or compare fingerprints that the machine required. Either would be pretty easy to require (via face recognition or a thumb-scanner). In any case, they certainly wouldn't take the information the seller gives the machine as proof of identity in the case of a theft. Most criminals aren't that stupid, you could simply assume the information was fake in the case of a theft, barring other evidence, so that little problem would never appear.

Re:Stealing phones? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38713518)

Can the corporation be prosecuted for receiving stolen property?

Yay, $5 (2)

Nimey (114278) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713116)

that's what my 2-year-old feature phone was worth used.

Re:Yay, $5 (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713362)

Yea! Profit! Given that if was almost certainly free* when you got it.

(*Free with a contract.)

Re:Yay, $5 (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713940)

And? I paid the contract price; the carrier got its money back and then some. The phone by itself is obviously worth more than $5.

It's the same sort of artificially distorted used market you see in college textbooks here in the States.

Re:Yay, $5 (1)

kullnd (760403) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714174)

No, an object is worth whatever people are willing to pay for it... Your 2 year old feature phone is not worth going to sell to anyone for more than $5, so it is not worth more than $5.

Re:Yay, $5 (1)

bemymonkey (1244086) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714994)

Yes, but that may change in the future - with smartphones all popular, who wants a feature phone these days? In a year or two it'll be an iPhone 3GS that's "at the end of its life", and that'll be worth much more than $5 (or at least I should hope so)...

Re:Yay, $5 (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714516)

The phone was worth more than $5 dollars. Now it is two years old and the market is flooded with old feature phones which no one wants, it actually is worth about that. Simply for parts and materials, most likely, unless it is in really good shape or a really nice feature phone.

Cracked screen? (3, Insightful)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713118)

This is a nice idea, but surely the condition of the device matters too? I'm sure a cracked iPhone 4S wouldn't be worth as much as one in mint condition.

What do these recycling companies do with these phones anyway?

Re:Cracked screen? (2)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713214)

This is a nice idea, but surely the condition of the device matters too? I'm sure a cracked iPhone 4S wouldn't be worth as much as one in mint condition.

That's what I was thinking too, the glass might be cracked, the display broken but it could still "work" for this machine. Perhaps they will take photos as well and compare against a reference? If you control the camera, lighting, distance and have an exact model reference picture you should be able to see most kinds of visual damage...

Re:Cracked screen? (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713400)

Yes, as it says in the summary, they take photos. And they do it with the data cable plugged in, so presumably they can force the phone display to change, and check that the screen image looks right.

They'll accept the machine whatever condition it is in, but the value will be less if it's damaged.

Re:Cracked screen? (3, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Cracked screen? (1)

mjr167 (2477430) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713268)

Churches are tax exempt anyway. And the hookers and blow are part of the religion. Stop repressing my religion!

Re:Cracked screen? (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713280)

Sorry for the follow up to my post but I hit post too early... the other dodge I'm aware of, is those "new" batteries on ebay actually are shipped in "new" plastic baggies, but guess where the batteries came from?

Never buy a battery (of any sort, not just cellphone) on ebay unless you see and can verify the manufacturing date code and that date isn't like 3 years old. Even if you see that, a bit of white plastic shrink wrap and a computer printed label has an excellent profit return if you sell the "new" battery for $25.

Re:Cracked screen? (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714530)

Never buy a battery (of any sort, not just cellphone) on ebay. Period.

There, fixed that for you.
 
Seriously, there's so much 'spam' on eBay, that it's become virtually worthless. The last time I tried to buy anything useful from there, I spent so much time sorting through the knockoffs, scams, idiots who put unrelated keywords in their description, etc... that ('paying' myself a fair hourly wage) I wasn't saving all that much money unless I got the item at a low price on the first auction I bid in. (And frequently, there's competition, so it takes multiple attempts, and thus multiple passes at sorting, before winning.)

Re:Cracked screen? (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714558)

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 and prays like hell that they never get audited.

There, fixed that for you.

Re:Cracked screen? (1)

j-beda (85386) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714896)

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 and prays like hell that they never get audited.

There, fixed that for you.

Definitely - the audit will kill you. Even if they actually did something to create a phone with a "value" of $150, they can't claim that as a loss/donation when they give it away. Giving away an item does not generate a transaction on your books that you can enter into any of your expenses categories. Giving money does. The expenses associated with reconditioned the device have already been captured by you accounting system when you bought the windex and the paper-towels.

I suppose you might be able to play with some "depreciation of inventory" type of thing, but in order to make that work, at some point you have to count that "reconditinging" process of generating $148 of value (with the $2 you paid out to the seller of the old phone to get to the $150 value as inventory on your books) as income - so when you give them away at $150, you really haven't scammed any balance against income.

If you are going to cook your books, you might as well just go whole hog and inflate your "legitimate" expenses, or decrease your "legitimate" income. Get into a largely cash business and then you've got some great scam opportunities.

Re:Cracked screen? (1)

Cylix (55374) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714862)

My understanding is when transferring goods to a non-profit you can write off the full original value of the merchandise. However, someone actually has to accept the goods in the first place. Obviously, you can keep junking the same place twice.

However, it's been a while since I've dealt with a non-profit, but that is what I remember anyway.

Re:Cracked screen? (1)

Eraesr (1629799) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713316)

I guess they're not interested in the phone as it being a phone but in the materials that it was made up of. There's still a good amount of materials in a phone that can be recycled and sold again. They probably check if the phone still works to make sure that it isn't just an empty casing of a phone.

Re:Cracked screen? (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713454)

They sell them on auction sites, in whatever part of the world they'll have the highest value.

If they're broken or worthless for resale as phones, they sell them to recyclers who extract the gold and other precious materials in them.

Re:Cracked screen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38713480)

ever heard of tag mobile? they take recycled phones and give them to people who are on food stamps. They get 100 or so minutes per month paid for by a surcharge that is on your phone bill.

Selling stoles phones for money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38713130)

This is making it even easier to dispose of stolen phones in return for money, hooray!

Re:Selling stoles phones for money (2)

digitrev (989335) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713220)

Sadly, this was my first thought. Unless there is some sort of holding period, like with pawn shops, this could easily be abused. My second thought was issues with personal data. Will the phones be wiped when received? Or only when they are prepared to be sold. This could work, but they'd need to handle these issues, along with the others that I'm sure I'm forgetting.

Thieves? (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713136)

One wonders how the machine will deal with thieves who've just stolen someone's newish iPhone.

Re:Thieves? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38713186)

keep your god damn mouth shut, this is my retirement plan. don't ruin it for me.

Re:Thieves? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38713206)

Immediate and brutal justice.

Re:Thieves? (1)

synthparadox (770735) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713382)

I would love it if, after connecting the cable, it detects the stolen MSIN, takes the phone, and notifies the police.

Re:Thieves? (2)

delinear (991444) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713736)

Bonus points if it opens a little drawer full of cash and, as the seller is reaching for it, slaps them in handcuffs to await the arrival of the police.

Re:Thieves? (1)

skids (119237) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714362)

Here's a question: if your phone was stolen and someone showed up with it at one of these stations, which would you rather the station do:

1) Lowball the price, get the phone, notify the police, notify you and return the phone to you if you want, for a service fee (one might arrange to agree to this ahead of time when reporting the phone stolen.)

2) Tell the guy to go scram, taking your phone with him, and notify the police.

Well now. (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713194)

There's just about not anything a machine won't do for money.

EcoATM you're welcome to India :D (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38713198)

I wish EcoATM will also spread installations of these type of machines across the world..specifically in India.

I gotta loads-of cellphones (in my closet) to cashon :D

btw: nice thought onbehalf of EcoATM :)

Stupid. (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713216)

Stupid idea that has a number of scams and will be a greater target for them (and just general theft).

1) Insert cardboard-box phone for photo.
2) When data cable arrives, plug into equivalent model.
3) Deposit cardboard box, walk away with cash.
4) Profit!

Who needs to insert stolen phones when the verificaiton will never be 100% accurate? What? Fraud? But the buyer saw and agreed to what they would buy! Caveat emptor!

Doing these sorts of things "human-less" is an incredibly stupid idea that's going to be rife with abuse. And, to be honest, the machine probably cost more to make than putting someone in a shopping centre or even the recycled-cost of the phones it will collect in a year.

People should stop trying to automate things just for the sake of it, especially with dumb ideas like this.

Re:Stupid. (3, Informative)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713500)

Your plan won't work. Once the data cable is plugged in, the door closes and you don't get access to your phone again unless you decide to decline the transaction.

Re:Stupid. (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713784)

I'm pretty sure they will have considered at least some of the more obvious scams and figured out ways around them. Once your phone is inside the machine they could run some diagnostics on the screen with the data cable plugged in and scan that to ensure it's a properly working model. They could even use this opportunity to test things like the bluetooth/wifi/speakers/audio jack if those things affect the price sufficiently.

Re:Stupid. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714834)

actually, that's highly model dependent. on most models they'd just be able to check that the usb id's are "right".

Automated Pawn Shops (1)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713222)

And all those phones will go on Ebay marked up 1000%

Re:Automated Pawn Shops (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713332)

And all those phones will go on Ebay marked up 1000%

Probably just their batteries, relabeled and marked as "new".

Re:Automated Pawn Shops (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713532)

So go to ebay first, check the price.

If the difference in price isn't enough to cover P&P, and your time in listing, packaging and visiting the post office, then you might as well take the money from the machine.

doesn't recycle (1)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713326)

The machine just collects, it doesn't recycle one bit.

Also, given the cost of labor, I'd say you'll have a hard time getting this machine to be cheaper and less error prone than some shop clerk that does this work and checks your ID to make sure you're not anonymously selling stolen phones.

Re:doesn't recycle (2)

delinear (991444) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713830)

The difference is the shop clerk needs a shop to operate out of. This just needs a couple of square feet of floorspace in a mall. They could even do a deal with people who operate those change converting machines to put both systems in one (share the running costs and rental overheads for machines that probably sit unused for 90% of the time).

Re:doesn't recycle (2)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714064)

The difference is the shop clerk needs a shop to operate out of.

The recycling companies won't set up shops extra for this, but instead partner with existing shops. So, the newsstand, the photo shop, or the place where you buy new phones also takes used phones on the side.

Advantage:

  • no need for extra space (apart from the actual storage bin where the used phones go)
  • no need to pay a clerk full time for maybe 3 phones per day...

Failed business model (2)

pbrooks100 (778828) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713334)

Cash on the spot? I think not... Considering the issues of stolen devices, carrier account transfer/deactivation, forgotten SIM and purging of personal data; this is a business model that will not fly. These are human problems that will not be easily overcome by some image acquisition and USB port hacking... One business opportunity for this may be to create a service to collect lost phones found by a good samaritan. Insurance carriers for policies that people buy for their phone could report SNs and pay a small fee to ecoATM for the return of a lost device. If the lost device was already replaced, the insurer would be free to dispose of the device as fit (sell to ecoATM). Add a feature to collect the finder's data to optionally allow payment for a finder's fee and place it next to a Redbox or Coinstar and this MAY have a SMALL chance.

No need for step ??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38713368)

Step 1) Plug in perfectly working device.
Step 2) Deposit old device new one replaced.
Step 3) Profit.

No need for a ??? step, gold mine right here.

Recycled data (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38713498)

So, what exactly will they do with all the used data bits? Sell the addresses and phone numbers and cashed key logger data to the highest bidder?

Infrastructure for phone thieves? (2)

hlavac (914630) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713516)

Reminds me of some of the shady second hand phone/electronics shops here in Czech Republic, that are open all night. Sure, you want to sell your old phone in the middle of the night, right?

Re:Infrastructure for phone thieves? (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713892)

Erm, for anyone who works all week and also has to commute so doesn't have time to get to the shop, and doesn't want to waste their weekend making a special journey to the shop just to sell their phone - yeah it would be nice to sell old phones in the middle of the night. After all, I can already go to supermarkets and buy phones in the middle of the night, so it's only logical.

Re:Infrastructure for phone thieves? (1)

azgard (461476) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714630)

Sure, sure.. apparently not from Czech Republic, eh?

Automated machines to recycle votes for Romney (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38713538)

Or was it just me who read it like that?

How much do they pay though? (5, Interesting)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713744)

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.

Re:How much do they pay though? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38714026)

People are clueless about the true value of their phones. When I tell people that I have an $800 phone (iPhone 4S 32GB) people look at me in surprise. Some people claim it's only a $300 phone (subsidized by my $2,000 2yr contract with AT&T) but it's just not true. If it broke tomorrow and I had to replace it it would cost me $800. And to a thief, I'm walking around with an $800 computer in my hand.

Re:How much do they pay though? (1)

laffer1 (701823) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714300)

Worse yet, many providers still charge the same price even if you have a phone already you want to use on their network. If you don't take the contract phone, you're out even more money. That system doesn't make sense to me. I should get a discount because I didn't get a phone.

Clippy says go prepaid (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715044)

It looks like you're buying a cellular phone in the U.S. market. Would you like help?
  • Buy a prepaid dumbphone and a payLo plan from Virgin Mobile
  • Buy a prepaid dumbphone and a Beyond Talk plan from Virgin Mobile
  • Buy a phone and a Value Plan from T-Mobile

Re:How much do they pay though? (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714612)

The word you're looking for is depreceation [wikipedia.org] , and it's been a fact of life in reselling electronics since the dawn of mass consumer digital/electronic devices back in the 1980's.

Darn! (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713760)

I dropped mine off in the recycle bin slot at my phone carrier last time I upgraded. Should have held onto it...

You know what would be even more green? (5, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713934)

Keep your old phone.

Re:You know what would be even more green? (1)

plopez (54068) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714294)

Damn. I wish I hadn't posted before seeing this post, now I can't mod it. Insightful and succinct.

That's not recycling (1)

plopez (54068) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714280)

It's purchasing. Recycling means breaking the machine down to its components; metal, plastic etc.; then using those components to build more things.

I thought it was going to be a machine that crushes up phones and extracts the metals in a safe controlled manner, then grinds up the plastic for reuse. What was I thinking? The tech world is nothing but hype....

who gives a crap if it works (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714464)

Oh thats cause this is not recycling, instead its a big box of working celphones with all sorts of valuable data on it, sitting in a thin box at the mall ready to steal or resale while your feeding it for free

sorry but fuck that

Wonga! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38715068)

Does it also say WONGAA!!

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