The Federation of Communication Services (FCS) has released a new landmark Code of Practice for gadget recyclers, to protect both consumers and reprocessors from crime.
This extends and updates the industry’s previous stolen phone strategy, released by the Telecommunications UK Fraud Forum (TUFF) in 2010.  The TUFF Code was not fully addressing all the issues of legal compliance, so an industry-authored refresh was commissioned by the FCS, on behalf of the recycling community.

The new code aims to:

  • Give consumers confidence that the phones they are buying come from legitimate sources
  • Provide a clear route for stolen phones to be returned to their owners
  • Reflect modern market practices
  • Close a loophole in the previous Code which inadvertently left recyclers open to the risk of being charged with handling stolen goods

The document was released this week, after 24 months of consultation with recyclers, retailers, insurers, network companies and the police. The GSMA are also aware of the new proceedings.

At launch, all recycling companies which are members of the FCS Communications Environmental and Regulatory Consortium (CERC) have already committed to the new code. Overall it has received the thumbs-up from companies who account for 80% of mobile phone and tablet reprocessing in the UK.

Chris Pateman, chief executive of the FCS, said:

“The industry discovered itself to be in a position where scrupulous compliance with the existing Code of Practice still fell short of their legal responsibilities.  It doesn’t help the public, the police or the reprocessors to discover there’s a risk that recyclers could be deemed to be trading in stolen goods.”
“As an industry, we have now written a Code of Practice that gives everyone in the supply chain confidence they can fully meet their legal obligations.  By working together with insurers, police and retailers, we have simplified procedures and avoided the risk of putting extra costs into the process.”
“The Code benefits consumers in two ways.  Firstly, retailers have the confidence reprocessed handsets have not been stolen.  Secondly, victims of crime or loss know there is no easy route for anyone to make money by selling their device on to recyclers.  Plus, it gives reprocessing companies the confidence they can be legally compliant, without restricting the way in which they run their individual business.”

Andrew Beckett, director of gadget recycling comparison site CompareMyMobile, said:

“With over 100 small recycling businesses operating in the UK, the need for a Code of Practice is long overdue. It provides a framework for recyclers to work to, and gives reassurance to consumers that any stolen devices will be correctly handled and not sold on for profit. CompareMyMobile will ensure that every recycler we list will adhere to this new Code of Practice.”

Phil Henchoz, chief executive of the Global Device Network (GDN), said:

“The Global Device Network has been working with a number of mobile phone insurance partners, multiple retailers and various law enforcement agencies to develop a system to help legitimise all transactions with used devices (phones especially).  The introduction of the FCS Procedures is extremely exciting for us and the industry as a whole, as adherence to the processes to follow when dealing with used goods will expedite the reduction in mobile phone (and other device) related crime and fraud.  The Global Device Network will be supporting these procedures throughout our base.”

The new code — FCS2000: 2016 — also covers important additional areas like inter-company and international trading.

About the FCS

FCS is the not-for-profit industry association for companies which deliver professional communications solutions to business and public sector customers in the UK. Be it voice or data; via radio, mobile, copper or fibre; the FCS Mission is to champion and defend the role of the professional communications provider in the converging market place.

Selling and buying used phones: tips and facts

Selling mobiles for cash online is an extremely popular thing to do, and the FCS’s new guidelines mean consumers can be even more confident that they are dealing with companies they can trust.

This being said, between 250,000 and 300,000 phones are stolen and reported to the police each year in the UK, according to the National Mobile Phone Crime Unit (NMPCU). With figures this shocking, CompareMyMobile has compiled a list of the top 5 things to do to avoid being a victim of phone crime.

5 things to know when buying and selling used phones

  • If your device is lost or stolen, make sure you report it straight away. When recyclers receive a phone they perform a history check on CheckMEND from over 50 billion records. This will tell them if the phone has been reported as stolen. To do this, tell your network provider, they can block it and give you your identification number (IMEI). Then you should report it to your local police station as soon as you can by calling 101 or going in in person, and pass on your IMEI.

  • Be aware when buying phones from online Auction sites. There is less regulation to prevent you buying a stolen phone, and by the time it gets to you the device could have been barred.

  • Read online reviews about recyclers when deciding where to send you old phone. CompareMyMobile has collected over 4,000 independent reviews from customers, so you can confidently sell your device to a trusted company and get a decent deal.

  • When selling a phone, make sure you wipe all personal data and images from the device to protect you from fraud should it fall into the wrong hands. If you need help, CompareMyMobile have a handy ‘how-to wipe my phone guide’.

  • Look to buy a used phone established online stores that are registered with Companies House with a verified street address and a phone that is answered when you call it. This means you have a better chance of getting decent help if something goes wrong. This also means you are likely to be able to buy the phone with a credit card, which means refunds are the banks problem.

Top 10 recycled phones in the UK

Position Device  % Trade ins 
1 Apple iPhone 5S 16GB 14.45
2 Apple iPhone 5 16GB 8.80
3 Apple iPhone 6 16GB 7.90
4 Samsung Galaxy S5 6.09
5 Samsung Galaxy S3 5.42
6 Galaxy Note 3 4.29
7 HTC One M8 2.93
8 Apple iPhone 5C 16GB 2.93
9 Sony Xperia Z3 2.48
10 Apple iPhone 6 64GB 2.26

Data from CompareMyMobile as of 02/02/16

Use the navigation at the top to visit our main CompareMyMobile UK trade-in site or if you’re visiting from the US? Recycle your cell with GadgetValuer

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