New machine at mall takes unwanted cell phones for cash

Published: Mar. 19, 2014 at 7:29 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 19, 2014 at 7:51 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - It looks like an ordinary ATM inside Citadel Mall, but it's not.

The ecoATM is a machine that pays cash for your unwanted cell phone.

A company spokesman says a live person watching the entire transaction helps prevent a stolen phone from being traded for cash.

The machine requires a valid driver's license or other I.D. at the start of the transaction.

"The screen prompts you for it. We work with law enforcement. We have a person who validates the I.D. you present in real time with images throughout the webcam of you standing in front of the kiosk," Drew Spaventa of ecoATM said.

"If you try to use a friend's I.D., or you have an expired I.D., or you're not 18 years of age, you're going to get rejected before the process even starts," Spaventa said.

If the transaction is approved, the machine takes a thumbprint.

"We're actually going to use that thumb print as the signature of the transaction," Spaventa said.

"Any time there's a suspected theft, stolen phone, we have all that information we can make available to police, so we can identify and track down whoever it is sold us the device at the beginning."

A company spokesman says a fraction of one percent of the phones traded turn out to be stolen.

People who attempt to trade phones that are too old to have a cash value are given the option of donating the phones to charity


There are two phone kiosks located in Citadel Mall and one in Northwoods Mall in North Charleston.

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