/ Technology

Are mobile phone recycling sites giving you a fair price?

Smartphones with recycling logo

With many of us upgrading our phones on a regular basis, there are plenty of unloved mobiles knocking around. Mobile recycling sites claim to be the best place to sell them, but are they really?

It’s been over a year since our last post on mobile recycling sites, but the stream of complaints about them hasn’t stopped.

A lot of you still aren’t happy with the service you receive from these sites, especially when it comes to getting the price you were promised for your mobile.

Mobile phone recycling websites

The most common complaint is that the initially high offer for your second-hand phone is revised once it’s in the hands of these companies, who then make a much lower offer based on ‘cosmetic wear and tear’. A lot of you dispute that this damage was never there, yet are faced with the choice to sell the phone at the lower price, or pay to have it returned.

Which? Convo commenter Rebeccles told us about trying to sell their iPhone:

‘At first Cash4phones offered £150 for an iPhone in perfect condition. They are now telling me it’s worth £32. I either take the £32 or pay them to return my phone.’

Wahidazzlar had a similar experience:

‘Mobilephonerecycling2day offered £42.14 initially. As ‘it’s in poor condition’ they’ll give me £14.14 or send it back for £9.95. It’s ridiculous, I’m more out of pocket than I was before.’

Damage to your mobile phone

While researching these services for our latest issue of Which? magazine, we came across similar issues.

We were offered a lower quote than originally given for one of our handsets, due to ‘damage’. As far as we were concerned it had been in pretty good nick, so we dutifully asked for it to be returned. On doing so, we were told that there had been a mistake during the initial assessment, and the price was suddenly raised by £5. Would this ‘mistake’ have been spotted had we not disagreed with the price and asked for the phone back?

In contrast to the Which? Convo commenters above, Tpoots had a positive experience:

‘I’ve used Envirofone and Mazuma Mobile a couple of times in the last few years and have yet to have a problem.’

Sell your mobile on Ebay

During our research, we found that if you want the absolute best price for your old phone, you’d be better off selling it on eBay. This might require a little more effort than just popping it in the post to a recycling site, and there are some fees attached, but overall you’ll make a much better profit

Do you have any experiences of selling your mobile to a specialist recycling site? Do you think they’re still a good choice for a quick and convenient sale, or have you been let down?

Ildi says:
5 October 2016

Hi Jack, I’ve had a similar experience with Selltronics. They quoted an attractive price first, then after my sending the phone to them, they reduced it by 57% claiming there was “heavy wear” on the back. But my phone had a protective plastic cover on all the time. I even have pictures to prove that there’s absolutely no heavy wear anywhere on the phone. And they didn’t even offer a higher price after my contesting their ridiculously low offer, my only options were to accept, or to pay the return fee.

It is obvious that their first offer was deceptive, because they never ever had the intention of even considering paying that price. And yes, as people are saying, customers feel their phones are being held hostage, and their possibilities are limited: pay the ransom or accept the humiliating terms.

Please continue your investigation, it would be great to put an end to this kind of one-sided business, where the only party that is protected is the recycling company.

Patrick Goldsmith says:
18 September 2017

In November 2016 Mazuma mobile sent me the following email message about a mobile I had sent them:

Apple iPhone 5S 32GB classed as Faulty – Green border.

They offered £20 instead of £100 initially offered if the phone was as described. I had not seen a green border, and I asked Mazuma to send me the phone back.
I then used Three’s recycling service, and they sent me £90 for the phone, since there was nothing wrong with it. I will not be using Mazuma again.

Laura says:
16 October 2017

I have had exactly the same problem with Mazuma today. I sent them a perfectly working iphone 5s with no damage or issues. They quoted £50 but then emailed me to say they would give me £10 as it was faulty – had a green border. When i informed them i had a video of my phone working before I sent it off and pictures of its condition they told me it wasn’t visible on usual working screens. I have asked for the phone to be returned. One of my friends had a similar issue with then a few weeks ago and a friend of a friend also had the same problem. It seems like they find a fault regardless and give as little as possible in payment. Won’t be using Mazuma again.