/ Technology

Recycling mobile phones – it’s not always rewarding

A pile of obsolete mobile phones

There is a rumbling of discontent on the internet. Nothing new there, you may say, but this particular rumble relates to companies who buy old mobile phone handsets. Have you recycled your old phone for cash?

There are plenty of these mobile phone recycling companies out there: Cash4phones, Mazuma Mobile, Envirofone and Fonebank, to name but a few.

These companies quote you a price for your old mobile phone, based on its condition. Once you’ve sent them your phone, they’ll verify the condition and pay you the agreed price. These phones are then ‘recycled’, which usually involves sending them to overseas markets to be sold in places like the Middle East, Africa and South America.

Feeling short-changed

Some of you aren’t happy, however. Check any review site, and you’ll find plenty of complaints about these services. The amount paid out for those old phones is not always quite as generous as first quoted. It seems that in some cases you are sending in your pristine phones, only to find that the company’s valuation differs from your expectations.

We’ve been sent quite a few complaints about these companies, with people telling us that they’ve sent their phones off for an agreed price, only to have the quote lowered once it’s in the hands of the company.

The main reason for reduced valuations seems to be wear and tear, even for phones that owners felt were in a very good condition. While all these companies should send the phone back to you if you don’t agree to their revised quote, you may be charged for the privilege. This has left some people feeling they’re being held to ransom with no option but to accept the lower quote.

Have you used a phone recycling service? Were you happy with the service, or did you receive a lower offer than expected?

Sean says:
20 August 2013

I have recently used mobilephonerecycling2day.co.uk and experienced a similar problem described above. I was originally offered £120 for an iPhone 4 but was later offered only £40, due to excessive wear and tear (scratches etc). I tried to request the phone back the website would not allow me to contact them back, the contact us page was also not working. No telephone number was listed on the website so I was not able to call them to address issue.

The website listed Trading Devices Ltd as the parent company, based in Bounds Green (Company Registration Number 07734160), so i searched for them and found a business address.

When I arrived at the address they presented the phone to me and said that they had made a mistake, the phone was actually in good condition, they immediately offered me an additional £60.

I collected the phone from them and I will sell elsewhere, I suggest that you steer clear of them, there are better alternatives to using these guys.

Trading Devices may also be responsible for more of these companies as they were all next to each other, including Cash4Phones, in the trading park.

Tim Butler says:
19 November 2013

Well done you. Don’t give those leeches a penny.

Andy says:
26 August 2013


After searching the net for prices for a 6mth old blackberry Curve 9320. I came across this company offering £57 for the phone.

Then I got this email from them.

Dear ……….

Excellent News!! Your pack arrived today and your order is being processed by our team. Once the processing and checks have taken place you should being receiving your payment soon.

Below is a summary of your order.

Phone Testing Reasons Revised Offer Status
Blackberry Curve 9320 Failed – Excessive wear and tear
£20.86 Awaiting customer acceptance
As you can see our technical team have found few problems when testing, and for this reason we are offering you the revised price offer above.

Please let us know within 5 days from the date of this email if you accept or reject the revised offer*.

To do so, please click here and then follow the on-screen instructions.

If we do not hear from you within 5 days, we will assume, in accordance with our terms and conditions, that you have accepted all of the above and will continue to process your order.


If you feel that there has been a mistake with your Order, please do give us a call

Thank you for using MobilePhoneRecycling2Day

Kind Regards,

* Please note: for all offers accepted after 2pm on a Friday, payment will be processed the following Monday.

Customer Services,

Now I have tried to ring them half a dozen times, nobody answers the phones and sent them messages from their website (4 in total) no replies and even tried to reply to the email but the adddress couldn’t be reckonised.

Looks like I will have to accept the offer as I can’t find a way to decline the offer.

I will never do this again, would have been better off selling on ebay.


[We’ve edited this comment for breaking our guidelines. Thanks, mods.]

Sean says:
27 August 2013


Are you local to London? If you’re local then I suggest going to their premises and asking for your phone back.

They are based at 15 Gateway Mews, Bounds Green, LONDON, N11 2UT.

Andy says:
29 August 2013

No not local Sean, shame really as I would loved to have been able to pop in.

Hi all, we’ve investigated mobile recycling sites as part of our latest issue of Which? magazine. We’ve also published a new post about it if you’d like to join in: https://conversation.which.co.uk/technology/sell-mobile-phone-recycling-website-cash4phones-mazuma-envirofone-ebay/ This features comments from Wahidazzlar, Rebeccles and Tpoots.

Hi all, Cash4phones has filed for bankruptcy: https://conversation.which.co.uk/technology/cash4phones-bust-insolvency-capital-books-mobile-phone-recycling/

We have advice for those who are waiting for money from Cash4phones or you want your phone to be sent back. There is some time pressure on this. I’d be interested to here if you’re affected, so please share your experiences: https://conversation.which.co.uk/technology/cash4phones-bust-insolvency-capital-books-mobile-phone-recycling/

Francesca Clark-fowler says:
18 November 2014

PHONES 2 POUNDS, I sent this company 2 iPhones in pristine condition and waited for my payment of £251 as promised. I then received an email stating the phones were scratched and in poor condition offering less than half the payment. I emailed them stating I wanted the phones returning and heard nothing. I have sent numerous emails and lost count of phone calls if have made and they have never got back to me, so if your thinking of using phones 2 pounds don’t, I have lost my phones and I don’t think I will ever see them, or a payment ever again, fran

Francesca Clark-fowler says:
18 November 2014

Phones 2 pounds

I have sent phones2pounds a iphone4s. At first it said they would give me £99… great! Sent it to them and then got an email saying they will offer me £65 or £10 admin charge to send it me back. I just agreed to the £65… its better than nothing. Anyway the problem is I still havent recieved any money! It says same day bank transfer for the payment. Its nearly a month since I emailed saying I would accept the £65. I have sent 5 emails and phoned loads of times but it appears you just cant contact these people! So annoying that they can do this to you!

Carli says:
29 January 2015

I sold my phone to buyandsellphones.co.uk. They received the phone on 22nd December 2014, it is now 28th January and I have still received no payment. I have exchanged numerous emails with them asking for my money but as yet I haven’t received it. I gave them my paypal address and my bank details for them to pay but still nothing. I have a receipt to say they received it. What can I do to get the money I’m owed?

Valerie says:
11 April 2015

I sent my Samsung Galaxy S2 to phonerecyclers.co.uk, the company was mentioned on The Gadget show on Channel 4 because it offered better prices than most other phone recycling companies. Indeed, they offered me £82 for my used phone, better than Mazuma or O2 recycle.
About a week after I had sent the phone, carefully wrapped in two layers of bubble wrap and special cushioned envelope, I had an email from them and a revised offer for £48.60 which I accepted as the phone did have a hair line crack at the bottom on the screen by the menu button. Within an hour, I had an email telling me that funds would be in my account within 48 hours. No money has landed in my account, I have sent them 2 polite emails requesting an update, no answer back. Today, I have tried to ring the number listed on the website and email, no answer. I have sent an other, more assertive email today, demanding an update or requesting that my phone should be sent back to me ( I did specify that I had photographic evidence of the phone before I sent it). I have in the past sold a used BlackBerry on Ebay and wished I had done the same thing for this phone as having read a few forums about phone recycling companies, I have the feeling that I have been duped and that I will never see my money or my phone ever again. Has anyone else had similar issues with Phone Recyclers??

Sas says:
15 April 2015

Phone Recyclers
I did not read the reviews and sent them my iphone 5 which was quoted as £115. Was offered £82 because of cosmetic damage they state was there even though I know there was not. I refused, they increased offer to £92 which I begrudgingly accepted. was promised payment today, no payment, no communication. Have tried ringing, permanently engaged or just ringing constantly. Have emailed, as yet no response. Sad thing is Mazuma mobile would have given me £105 no matter what cosmetic damage and no hassle either as they are a reputable company but when times are hard you opt for the better price.

[This comment has been edited to align with our commenting guidelines. Thanks, mods]

Kazza says:
7 July 2015

I’ve had a really awful experience with Phone Recyclers. I sent them my iPhone 5 which they quoted £110 for on the website. I sent it off and then got an email offering £68 or to have my phone back because it was ‘scuffed’ and ‘the service provider was EE’?! The original description did not specify a service provider anyway and the condition was fine when I sent it. I declined and said I wanted my phone back. I then got a phone call offering me in the region of £75 and I said no I wanted my phone back. They rang again and offered more again but still not the amount and I said no I just want my phone back. The guy on the phone was really peculiar and I said I wanted it back ASAP and wanted no further contact from them, he confirmed I would get the phone back within a week. Later that week I received an email saying that a cheque for £95 was on its way to me. I phoned up and spoke to the manager who said I had accepted the offer and I denied this, eventually she said I would have to wait for the cheque to come and then phone up and she would send the difference from the original price quoted. I asked repeatedly why they could not just send the cheque for the difference out now but she just kept repeating herself saying that the cheque was already issued?! When I got the cheque the post mark was for a week later than this conversation. I contacted them several times and got no response from email of phone calls. Eventually they emailed saying I had the money agreed for my phone and that was it. They never answer their phone and the ‘manager’ I spoke to was called Sam. I am really annoyed by this and want to complain.

Fizz says:
15 June 2015


I would not trust this site and company. I sent in my HTC One mobile phone and it was valued at £70 but they came back and said it was £40 worth. I have requested them to return phone. It has been two weeks – no cheque in the post or phone. They are not answering my calls or emails. BE AWARE!!!

Susan says:
5 October 2015

Be very careful about the company you are dealing with, the one I have sent my phone was just a scammer (Phones2Pounds), they always do the same: they gave you a pretty good evaluation but when they have received your phone they always say that your phone was damaged, basically they them gave you 2 choices: accept the new ridiculous quote or pay a fee of 10 pounds! Be really careful and avoid those people!

al wright says:
3 November 2015

I have just received a quote £17.50 less than agreed (phone ,charger and original box £167.50)
from “phones 2pounds” because of scratches on the screen and a “pink tint”.
My phone went straight from the box new into a lunatic tactic case with Rhino glass and was pristine when I sent it. I certainly do not recommend this bunch of shysters

Larry Bishop says:
3 February 2016

Do not use phonerecyclers! They offered less money than originally stated, but the worst is I am still waiting for payment 3 weeks later. Luckily it was only a 2 and a half year old Samsung. Should have given it to Charity!

Phone Recyclers.co .uk….UPDATE: Have now reported to Action Fraud – suggest all those also affected do the same. Will also be paying a visit to my local Police station to report this as theft of phone.

I sent my phone off after receiving a competitive quote online. I packed the phone in its original box so it could not get damaged during transit. However, I have received an email from them saying the the phone has the following damage:

Back Cover Colour Fade
Deep Scratchs all over screen
Dents all over body

I can categorically state that the phone was in a like new condition having had a screen protector on it from day one and kept in a cover. There was absolutely NO damage or fading to the phone – they have offered me a much lower price which I have rejected and asked them to send back the phone – it had better be the one I sent them or I will be taking further legal action.

My advice is to go elsewhere!


How did the report to ActionFraud work out… I am having similar issue with Phones2Pounds.
A front to steal phones ?

This company is full if lies and are cheats! They offered me £280 for a brand new £720 phone only one month old and never used. Once they had the phone they downgraded my price and then never paid me of returned my phone. I have had the phone blocked and now seeking legal advice. DO NOT USE PHONE RECYCLERS! They are LIARS and CHEATS! Avoid them at all costs!

I sent two fully working excellent
condition iPhone 6s handsets to Phones 2 Pounds with an opening offer of £229 per handset. On receiving them they are suggesting they are not working, one with pixel damage on the screen and the other scratches on the back. Neither is true. They have revised their offer to £160 each and refuse to answer the phone number listed for contacting them to discuss their second offer. They state I have 7 days to reply after which they consider I have accepted the offer. I am still within 14 days of the original offer. I have written to them recorded delete very stating I reject the app fee and in line with terms and conditions expect them to return the handsets for free recorded delivery. This appears that be a common tactic by this company. It is nothing more than attempted theft of part of the value of the phones. I await the result. Stay clear!!

Stuart says:
10 July 2018

Avoid at all costs!

I sent my LG G5 to Mazuma in good working order and was advised on the 14th June 2018 that the phone had been received. I then received an e-mail a little later in the day stating that the phone had a defective LCD screen “White mark (s) in display. Mostly visible on white background.”. It stated that this would result in the offer being reduced from £80 to £20 which I was not happy with as the phone was in perfect working order. I used the link within the e-mail on the same day (14th) to request that my phone be returned to me and it loaded a web page stating I would be contacted. I waited to hear from them about my request for the handset to be returned and then on the 22nd I get two e-mails stating that my phone has been sold and I would receive a cheque for £20. I revisited the link and clicked on it again and it stated you have already contacted us about this order!

Mazuma Mobile have refused to return my phone, I have yet to see any payment from them and they flatly refuse to acknowledge my complaint. I’m looking at options to progress this with trading standards and i’m considering raising it as theft with the police as they are refusing to return my property.

The Mazuma website is also seriously flawed from a security standpoint as well as the apparent issues with requesting your phone to be returned, it does not support TLS 1.2 (only TLS 1.0 which is considered insecure). It stills supports weak Diffie-Hellman key exchange parameters and does not support Forward Secrecy or AEAD cipher suites. This is not good when you consider you are entering personal information into the site.

I wonder why you used the Mazuma website since you are aware of the security issues, Stuart. I hope you get your phone back.

Just returned my iPhone 6 s 64gb to Mazuma, very good condition, no scratches, screen problems.
Quoted £65. Now they have my phone its £22 , Same problem white marks in display. Told me to refer to report, according to the report the phone is ok. Spoke to Mazuma and told the report doesn’t really mean anything. So they send a report which they tell you to refer to and that ” Doesn’t Mean Anything”. what a scam. I have asked for the phone back and I will send details to trading standards.
Sell your phones on eBay or take them to a trade in store.