Mobile phone recyclers who sign up to the new code of practice will work closely with police and check the details of every phone they are offered against the National Mobile Phone Register, a database of all phones reported stolen. If the handset has been reported as stolen, the company will refuse to buy the phone.
Mazuma Mobile and Envirofone were part of the Working Group steered by the Home Office and the Mobile Industry Crime Action Unit to develop the code of practice.
Charlo Carabott, managing director of Mazuma Mobile said in support of the announcement: “We have received over 1.5 million handsets since we began business in 2007 and paid out over £65 million to our customers and we don’t want criminals to get a share of this. Since our launch in 2007 we have worked closely with the authorities and implemented our own rigorous checks to ensure we identify and report stolen phones which are listed on the National Mobile Phones Register. This new Code of Practice will help to ensure that these safeguards become an industry standard.
“Ultimately, consumers need to be aware that criminals can profit from stolen handsets, and should always report lost or stolen phones so they can be registered on a database for the police and mobile phone recyclers to access.”
Nick Brown, chief executive officer, Envirofone, commented: “We’ve been working closely with the Home Office on this very confusing and important issue to limit the opportunity for criminals to profit from fraudulently obtained, stolen or lost mobile phones.
“Envirofone’s primary concern is protecting the consumer and correctly dealing with phones that may have been stolen. Previously, there was no industry standard on this issue, which risked leaving consumers confused and without any payment for a phone. The new Code of Practice will help us communicate in a transparent way with our customers and explain why a phone may not be suitable for recycling.”
Before recycling their phone with Mazuma customers are asked to register their IMEI number which is a 15 digit serial number that can be found by typing *#06# into their phone and the number will appear. Mazuma’s customers can expect to receive up to £250 for their old mobile phones.
Envirofone’s Brown added: “Importantly, all mobile phone recyclers will now have to operate under this Code and consumers can rest assured that no one is profiting from stolen handsets, which unfortunately may have not been the case with some service providers in the past. Envirofone has always led the way on this issue, and now the consumer will have an easy way to make sure a phone recycler is acting appropriately.”