/ Technology

Cash4phones goes bust – what happens to your phone?

Man on phone

The mobile phone recycling company Cash4phones has filed for insolvency. There’s previously been controversy with the company due to changing offers, but now there’s a risk you could be left out of pocket.

We’ve heard from many of you who have had a bad experience with Cash4phones.

You were quoted a good price for your old mobile, happily sent it off, only to be given a lower offer on your phone’s arrival. To cap it all, there was a charge to get your phone returned if you were unhappy.

It’s something Which? Convo commenter Rob experienced:

‘Cash4phones offered me £159 for my iPhone 4S. I sent it off in their pack and have not heard anything since. Tried calling and emailing but no answer by any medium. Angry and disappointed.’

Cash4phones files for insolvency

Now the story has developed. Cash4phones has filed for insolvency, with the Cash4phones.co.uk website now offline and its phone number out of order. There could be thousands of customers who have sent in their phones, but have yet to receive payment. And they might not get their money back.

Capital Books has been appointed to liquidate the company, with a spokesperson telling the Guardian that affected customers should lodge a claim as a creditor, but ‘the chances of getting the cash value promised was slim’.

If Cash4phones owes you money or your phone you can contact the liquidator on 01622 754 927 or by email at mail@capital-books.co.uk. Which of these options you ask for could depend on where you were up to in the process and whether the price to be paid for the phone had been finalised. A meeting of creditors will be held on Monday 13 January.

Unhappy Cash4phones customers

Naveed is another customer who suffered a bad experience with Cash4phones:

‘I originally went to Cash4phones because they offered me the best price for my HTC Sensation XE. But once they received it they said there was excessive wear and tear. This was not true but I didn’t want to pay for the £9 cost of getting my phone back so I accepted the offer of £57.92, that was on 27 September 2013 and I have yet to receive my money.

‘And whenever I try to phone them I get put on hold. I have spent several lunch hours trying to get through to someone but to no effect.’

Are you a Cash4phones customer? What was your experience like with the mobile recycling company? Are you still waiting to receive money from them?

Comments

I’m no expert on insolvency law, but surely a mobile phone remains the property of the consumer until Cash4phones pays the consumer for it? Possession of goods does not confer ownership.

If possession conferred ownership, then take the example of a car repair garage going bankrupt. This would mean that any customers’ cars currently in the workshop for repairs would become an asset for distribution to creditors. I don’t think this is how the law works.

Unlike money paid to a bankrupt business which cannot be easily distinguished between creditors, any goods belonging to a consumer (with an non-concluded sale) surely wouldn’t be counted within the bankrupt company’s assets. Am I missing something?

Sounds right to me. The liquidators should be gathering up any unsold phones and returning them to their owners. It is possible, presumably, that some or all of them are no longer traceable for whatever reason. It is not beyond the bounds of possibility that the company’s owners/executives, apprehending the firm’s financial difficulties, themselves “liquidated” any phones on which a sale had been agreed but no remittance made.and used such cash as they could obtain to stay afloat a little longer until they could no longer postpone the inevitable.

Kayleigh Warnes says:
10 January 2014

I sent my s4 by special deilvery kn the 2nd December and was received on the 3rd and signed for by john it took them until the end of December to say they got the phone and still waiting payment of £262.00 for it. Since then filled a judgement and applied to be a creditor to capital books these guys clearly know what they are doing

Kayleigh Warnes says:
15 January 2014

Hi Patrick I’ve emailed the liquidators but no reply doubt we’d see anything apparently they owe 2000 but in 200000 debt

ROB OSULLIVAN says:
14 January 2014

I sent off two phones off in october last year,one i was advised had excessive scratching on so i was offered a lower price-it wasnt scratched excessively,and the other one i was offered the amount they originally offered.Due to the combined value offered being less than £40 and having to pay an £8 fine for the return of the “scratched” phone i decided to accept the offer.As of today i still have not received payment as promised or the return of my 2 phones.It was very difficult to contact this company once youve emailed them regarding an order you cannot contact them again about it.It is no wonder a company like this are in insolvency-bunch of cowboys,and i expect im not the only one

ROB OSULLIVAN says:
15 January 2014

Hi ,i have e mailed Capital Books and left them details of my situation.i will await their reply and keep you posted cheers

Tracy Gaskell says:
15 January 2014

I used cash4phones in September for my sons iphone4 was not offered the advertised price due to excessive wear and tear despite the phone being in excellent condition I declined the offer and paid to have my phone returned. They contacted me making a more acceptable offer and reassured me that my payment and return of p&p would be made within the week. Still no payment received despite multiple emails being sent back and forth. I finally had enough and issued a small claim in the 27th November, sadly still not resolved and no payment received am about £163 out of pocket now!

Tracy Gaskell says:
15 January 2014

Hi have not heard anything from the court and emailed the liquidators this morning will let you know if they get in touch and any outcome!

Kayleigh Warnes says:
15 January 2014

Tracey, I’ve emailed the liquidators and now reply from them whatsoever 🙁

ian y says:
15 January 2014

I have been onto companies house who said they’ll suspend the dissolution for 2 weeks while i find the details of the fraud report i made to the police, i have a crime number and a note to say the police will asses the case and decide what action to take.

i’d advice people to also do the fraud report, its an easy online process. the more they get the more they are likely to act, although i did hear the police are already looking for the directors, either way more fuel to the fire can’t be a bad thing in this case.

Kayleigh Warnes says:
15 January 2014

I have done a fraud report capital books are useless

ian y says:
15 January 2014

To me it’s theft, they have my phone too, surely the police should do something as its oobvious they set out to con from the off!!!

John says:
18 January 2014

I was offered £89.00 for my old samsung galaxy s2. I sent my phone back in November 2013 and I’m still waiting for the payment. Last time I checked (before the website was closed down) they said that my phone had passed their tests and that the payment was being processed, which should take 5-10 working days. I’m still waiting, I tried to email and call but no response. I’ve just emailed my story to mail@capital-books.co.uk hopefully they can help.

Gary says:
19 January 2014

I sent my Iphone 4 to cash4phones at the beginning of November,for the first week my status on their website said packaging sent even though I sent it record delivery and it was signed for.
However a week later it said phone tested and passed £102 payment pending but I have received nothing after countless messages on their site and sending letters to them by recorded delivery there was know response ,so I filed a small claim the papers were issued on the 8th January.i knew nothing about the creditors meeting and only found out when I saw it on the website of the Daily Mirror, I have now send an email to the creditors but I don’t hold out much chance of getting my money or my phone back

Hi,

Like most the people commenting on here I too sent an Iphone off to Cash4phones and the made me and for which was then undercut due to ‘excessive wear & tear’ even though it was almost perfect having been cased most its life! Regardless I accepted the offer and was fobbed off via several emails that the money was being processed but delays due errors in there system. Surprisingly the emails stopped and the phone was never answered. Several letters were sent recorded delivery and always signed for but never any replies.
I issued a civil claim and no replies were ever received and a judgement was then completed in my favour but still nothing.

I have just got off of the phone to capital books and they are adding me to a list of creditors but have said that their is little chance of getting any money back and that everything I had done was ‘pointless’ (always nice to hear).
Apparently the company sold of any assets that they had so they have nothing that can be used to claim any money back!! They may be investigated and banned from any future trading but nothing about getting any money back for any of the thousands of victims.

If anything changes I’ll throw an update on here but can’t imagine any of us will get anything back!!

A scam such as this will probably occur again. It’s either fraud or theft and I should be interested to know whether there is any insurance cover available, perhaps as an add-on to household insurance or through a credit card facility, to make some recompense in the event of people’s personal property being retained by a merchant without payment being made for the goods. The down-valuing of the product due to alleged excessive “wear & tear” is another dodgy trick but I don’t suppose there is any remedy for that. The big problem is that by the time consumers in any significant numbers start to become suspicious and it catches the media’s attention, the perpetrators have shut down the system and done a bunk. No matter how many times you watch “The Sting”, you can never spot these rackets coming.

nigel curtis says:
20 January 2014

i sent a phone to cash4phones in november and not received a penny would it be a good idea to ring the phone company and explain the situation and get the phone blocked as same when stolen ??

ian y says:
20 January 2014

you may have a good point, render the phones useless at least, because i doubt there’s a snowballs chance in hell we’ll see em again ourselves!

nathalie shek says:
20 January 2014

I sent my iphone4 to cash4phones in October 2013 and like everyone else did not receive any payment. I ended up filing it with trading standards who are still investigating.
After coming across a website about capital books I managed to completed the creditors form before they met and today reecieved a report that there appears to be no dividend for any class of creditors. Which I assume means no money to pay us!

But how about all of those mobile phones that they have possession of? I couldn’t find anything about that in the report? So I have emailed Mansoor Mubarik and questioned this.

Also why was the director chair of the meeting??? I thought meeting were supposed to be impartial?

Simon Robinson says:
21 January 2014

Like the rest, I sent in my iPhone 4 in early December. The website, while it was still up had stated it payment was due of £103 but I’ve not seen that as yet.

I will be in touch with the creditors today now having seen this!

Amazed at how blatantly bent a company can be.

nathalie shek says:
21 January 2014

3 network have blocked the use of my phone after i got the IMEI so if I cant get it back from them, its useless! Fraud report also made.

People seem to have a rosy view of the liquidation process. It’s not very fair and it’s not very transparent. In a ‘normal’ liquidation the directors of the company have most of the control of the process, they decide when to liquidate – usually before complaints of fraud are made – they flog off as much as they can in order to reduce overdrafts etc. which might be secured on their personal assets.

Then they, the Directors, choose the insolvency practitioner who will ‘supervise’ the liquidation. They are happy people as they don’t take on the job unless there is enough to pay them and in many liquidations they are the only ones who come out with some cash!

This is what ‘limited liability’ is all about. The shareholders’ liability is limited to their ordinary share capital which might be as little as a couple of pounds. As with auditors the liquidator is selected by and has their relationship with the Directors, of course they are supposed to see fair play but the general unsecured creditors, the ‘muppets’ as I once heard one of these fine gentlemen call them, are well down the pecking order.

If you suspect fraud then the best action is to report the matter however even that is difficult as the Police are not interested and Trading Standards are very hard to find nowadays and are nowhere near as sharp in these areas as crafty Directors and their liquidators. Even where the fraud is obvious (I have one where I have an email in which the search for a ‘friendly liquidator is discussed) it is very difficult to get any action. This is yet another area ripe for reform but there is a lot of vested interest in maintaining the status quo.

Susan says:
22 January 2014

I sent my blackberry bold to cash4phones in November after being quoted £52, wanted to save the money for my baby due in march, they also said it had excessive wear and tear and only worth £20. The phone was barely used so I rejected the claim and asked for my phone back. Heard nothing and now have read this I don’t hold out much hope. Iv had to pay for a new phone and we really don’t have the money, it’s awful how many people have been affected Iv lost trust with anything like this now.

Nikita says:
26 January 2014

I sent a HTC One to Cash4phones and was offered £238 14/11/13, the payment was showing as pending and I was getting no response from calls or emails to the company so I sent them a recorded delivery letter which arrived and was signed for 02/12/13. Having given them a week I then put a claim in through the small claims court and when they wrote to them 16/12/13 the paperwork bounced back with a sticker from post office saying “addressee gone away”. It is only after I received this that a friend in work told me about their liquidation and pointed me towards this site. So not only am I out of pocket for the phone but also for the fee to the court.

Nick says:
26 January 2014

I sold my phone to this company in October and received an email telling me that the money had been sent to my account which was never received. Since then I have taken action via county court and the day before they went skint paid £100 for a warrant of execution, so court fees £125 lost as well. Is it really worth it these days to go through the courts? Don’t think so. Just emailed the court and the liquidators. Not holding out any hope.

damian says:
27 January 2014

Sent my iphone 4s in after being quoted £176. Accepted the counter offer of £151 and was written to by cash4phones stating that my payment would be in my account by the 29th November 2013. Still no money. If the liquidation process is as one sided as the company who defrauded all of us then there’s not much hope.

surely there must be a way to be paid what is owed or at least reimbursed for a handset.

i have laughed a claim with capital books but from what i have read on here, there’s not much point.

does anyone happen to know the Phil henchoz’s personal address.

Only just found out today that this company is insolvent. Was wondering why I’d not received payment so tried to google for a phone number (nothing on the letter) and found this website. Gutted. I sent off a handset in December – iphone 4S and have been waiting for £100 promised payment. Just assumed they were busy/had a backlog etc.
I’ve left my name and phone number with the liquidators and will send an email and copy of the letter on Monday.
Any advice?