Council Member To Propose Ban On Phone-Recycling Kiosks - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Council Member To Propose Ban On Phone-Recycling Kiosks

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PHILADELPHIA -

You may have seen them at local malls. New ecoATMs are billed to be an easy way to recycle your old smart phones and make a few bucks in return.

But at least one Philadelphia city councilperson wants to ban the new technology, saying it promotes crime.

Like many of you, Andre White, of Abington, had a few old phones collecting dust around the house.

"Something is better than nothing, I mean, if you don't want to go through the hassle," White said.

So, he came to one of the automated recycling kiosks that provide instant cash phone and other electronics. They're popping up in area shopping malls.

It's pretty easy -- put your phone in, the machine analyzes its worth, and you get cash on the spot.

They say it's good for the environment and good for your wallet. We saw phones being sold for $1 to $160.

Philadelphia City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, however, is proposing a ban on these machines similar to a ban recently passed in Baltimore.

Philly is one of the top cities in the country for cell phone thefts. Although police haven't weighed in, the councilwoman thinks machines like these could lead to more crime.

"Our concerns rest with the uptick of stealing and theft and loss of smart phones, and all the evidence suggests we need to look at this," Reynolds Brown said.

San Diego based ecoATM tells us there are only three of these machines within the city limits. They told us they knew nothing about the proposed ban until we told them.

To sell a phone, your picture, your fingerprint and a scan of your driver's license are all taken before a sale is made, and a report is made available to local police.

A spokesperson for ecoATM said, "We are not the cause of phone theft, but we can be an important part of the solution."

They go on to say "There are many places for a criminal to quickly sell a stolen phone with no questions asked, including Craigslist and the black market."

As for White, he was offered just a dollar for his old phones. He didn't take the deal. But he says he still likes the idea.

The ban will be proposed on Thursday at city council's meeting.

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