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Kissing My Nokias Goodbye
Member Name: Nibelung
Advantages: Quick, post-free, good communications
Disadvantages: Not perhaps the best price you could get after a lot of effort.
Having now become the owner, as opposed to the renter of a new mobile phone, my mind turned to thoughts of what to do with the old one(s).
I'd tried palming one off on my daughter who was in dire need of a phone of any kind, but it was apparently going to cost too much to unlock a Nokia e63, it not being one of those that can be done via e-mail having paid for the facility on e-Bay. In retrospect, since I now know that it has a trade-in value of a mere £30, it would have been a somewhat uneconomic task to spend anything on it.
I did a bit of research - a posh way of saying I 'googled' mobile phone trade-ns!
Thus it was that I came to be playing around with both Cash4Phones and the Mazumamobile web-site.
I'm not quite sure why I tipped in the direction of the latter, as when it came to the trade-in on offer, they were both the same. As it happens I found the Mazuma approach a bit more reassuring and the method of posting a bit more convenient.
USING THE WEB SITE
Stage 1 - The whole process couldn't really be any simpler. The first page gets right down to business. You just type in your model number or IMEI number for an immediate quote. In my case just typing 'e63' led me to a pictorial choice between a Nokia e63 and a Samsung e630. From then on it was plain sailing.
All I had to do was confirm that it was in working order - you can send broken ones but obviously what you get paid is peanuts by comparison, and in fact I'd have been paid £13 instead of £30. Naturally you stand more chance of being sent the phone back if it turns out to be entirely useless to them. Their promise is that if your phone doesn't live up to expectations, it will be sent back at their expense. Furthermore, if your phone is what you said it was, payment starts on day of receipt with e-mails to confirm the various stages, including the one we've all been waiting for, confirmation of bank transfer, or "the cheque's in the post", only this time it really is!
To meet the claim that a phone is working their criteria as copied from their site are:-
"Each handset should:
* Turn on and off
* Be fully functional (normal cosmetic wear and tear is acceptable)
* Have a working screen
* Include its battery (you can keep memory card, charger, etc)
* Be healthy - not crushed or water-damaged"
If your phone meets these, there's very little chance that you won't get paid.
Stage 2 - This is where you get to choose your payment method. Personally, the bank transfer was my preferred method over waiting for a cheque and then finding the time and occasion to bank it. There was one other option which I'll deal with later.
Stage 3 - At this point, you are asked to insert the IMEI number with a useful reminder on how to do exactly that (key in *#06#). This does two things. It firms-up on the precise model of your phone and confirms to them that it isn't a 'reported lost or stolen' which will have been blocked by the networks.
Stage 4 - This is where you meet the big friendly purple button labelled "Sell This Mobile" thereby adding it to your 'Recycle Basket'. Yes you can send up to 10 phones at a time, and indeed if you intend to send more than 10, they'll even arrange courier pick-up.
Postage is free whichever way you decide to send the phone. You can either wait for them to send you a postal pack with instructions, or download your own labels and put them on your own padded bag. I've now done both, and in fact using their bag only took 24 hours longer, the whole process literally taking place by return of post.
For an item worth only £30, it was still advisable to get proof of posting from a Post Office, since this free procedure gets you up to £47 of insurance. If it's your old iPhone 3 that you're selling at £79*, it's best to pay out a bit more for real insurance.
(*Exactly what a friend of mine was offered by all the phone shops too - I wonder if they use Mazuma?)
It's probably easier to set up an account first, since the 'Recycle Basket' stage will need to know who you are and what your banking details are, unless you're a conspiracy theorist and opt for a cheque, but they still need to know where you live!
WHY NOT GET MORE ON E-BAY?
It would be tempting to try and get more on e-bay, especially as new versions of the same phone were still selling for up to, say, £130.
However, the phone is not new, and it is badged by my network with a modified operating system to match. It is also locked to that network, all of which devalue it in the eyes of a buyer. Then of course, you'd be expected to box it up with its accessories, charger what-have-you, all of which add to the postage and packaging costs (and your time spent).
Add to this e-bay's charges for placing the item on the system, and then, if it sells, and only 'if', you also pay commission.
Contrast all of this with a simple 'just send us a working phone by Freepost' transaction, where, if it all works to schedule, gets you money in your bank account in two days. No mucking around with transfers back from Paypal, no nothing.
Oh yes, and then there's the great e-bay buying public.
"Can you get it unlocked for me?"
"What 'apps' can it run?"
"Can you find out how much it will be to send it to Nigeria?" (This despite the fact that you have already stated that you'll only send it to UK and Ireland customers)
Then of course there's the "It didn't work when it arrived - I want my money back, and then some more to cover my costs of returning it!" at which point you give in, send them a refund and some suggestions, not all of them anatomically possible as to where they can dispose of it, always with that sneaking suspicion that you've just given the bloody liars a perfectly serviceable phone. Sometimes, trying to keep that 100% feedback just isn't worth it.
"BUT CAN YOU GET MORE AT MAZUMA TOO?" (ASK DRIVER FOR DETAILS)
When it comes to payment, money isn't the only currency. If you opt for an Argos voucher instead of cheque or bank transfer, you get 10% more. This, as someone has already pointed out, is very useful, especially if the money is going towards a new phone that Argos happen to stock.
Personally I'd pay £3 NOT to have to go to what Bill Bailey called "The house of the laminated book of dreams" - laminated to waterproof it against the tears as people blubber "So many beautiful things, and I can never have them all!"
But then that's just me.
I'm glad I've done it - two phones that were only going to become worth nothing the longer they sat there, turned into a meaningful amount of money instead. I've now weeded out all the chargers instructions books and wired headphones that have accumulated, and will not doubt dump them.
Apparently, I'm not only helping to reduce the 'used mobile mountain', but also introducing some lucky 'third world' inhabitant to the wonderful world of always having people bother you just when you'd thought they'd never find you 'here'!
Summary: Mobile phone recycling and trade-in facility