Problems for Charity Recyclers?

Are mobile phone recyclers putting charities at risk and fuelling phone crime?

With an estimated 15m mobile phones being replaced every year in the UK alone, mobile recycling has become big business. But some of the UK’s major mobile phone recyclers are inadvertently handling and selling stolen goods, putting their reputations and those of national charities and major retailers at risk.

That’s the conclusion of an undercover investigation by Recipero, which provides the CheckMEND checking service for stolen phones. The company registered handsets as stolen then sent them to the four biggest UK recycling companies via recycling schemes in major retail outlets. The nominated charities received their donations and most of the phones were subsequently resold.
"It is worrying that in the name of charity, stolen phones are being sold on to the unsuspecting customer," says Adrian Portlock, Recipero’s MD. "Recycling has become a very big and profitable business with companies re-selling second-hand handsets to UK and overseas consumers. However, they are failing to check the crime or blocked status of the phones they are handling and putting their own, as well as their retail and charity partners’ reputations at risk."
Recipero has recently been in contact with the Charity Commission and asked it to ensure that its members are aware of these issues, and that any donations they receive from mobile phone recyclers have not been derived from unchecked phones. "We are calling on all organisations that work with phone recyclers to make sure that their recycling company is accredited by us and is checking all the phones correctly," adds Portlock..
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