Some Electronic Buyback Websites Sued by FTC

You just purchased a new cell phone. But what to do with your old one? Several electronic buyback sites promise to pay top dollar, but your BBB brings news from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that they don’t always follow through.

In a blog post dated October 11, 2016, the FTC announced it filed a lawsuit against Laptop & Desktop Repair which operated the following electronics buyback websites: cashforiphones.com, cashforlaptops.com, ecyclebest.com, smartphonetraders.com, and sell-your-cell.com.

According to thousands of consumer complaints to FTC and other consumer protection agencies, the company “gave customers online quotes and promised they’d pay the quoted amount after getting the devices.” However, after customers sent their old devices, the company dropped the offer to as little as 3% of the quoted price.

In addition, the company only gave customers a window of three to five days to reject its offer. The catch was that the window included weekends, but the company was closed on weekends! The company wouldn’t respond to customers’ emails. If customers called, the company hung up on them or put them on hold for a long time. If consumers finally reached a company representative, they were told that their devices had already been processed.

In a Press Release dated October 4, 2016, Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection, stated, “This a classic case of bait-and-switch updated for the 21st century. The defendants in this case lure consumers with false promises of generous payments, then hold consumers hostage once they have mailed their devices to the company.”

The FTC files a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated and it appears to the FTC that a proceeding is in the public interest. The case will be decided by the court.

For advice on donating and recycling electronics, click here. To read tips on disposing of old computers, click here, and for tips on disposing of old mobile devices, click here.

For more information you can trust, visit bbb.org/evansville.

About Jackie 246 Articles
Jackie is the Operations and Education Foundation Assistant with the BBB. She assists consumers with business inquiries, and does presentations to senior groups and high school students. She is a regular contributor to the blog.

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