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South Africa has a lot of phones. With a mobile penetration rate exceeding that of the population by almost a third, one can easily imagine a good amount of old Nokias and Blackberrys lying around in people’s drawers, forgotten and gathering dust. It’s then to no one’s surprise that a mobile-phone recycling startup has finally reached the country’s shores.
Founded in 2011, Spanish company Zwipit has launched in nine other markets so far in its mission to buy second-hand phones, refurbish them, and sell them back to people. For the time being, Zwipit South Africa — which is locally owned by Nothando Moleketi and Felix Martin — is only looking to buy phones at a guaranteed price. It will start selling back phones at a later stage.
“Our goal is to extend the useful life of devices already in the market, to the benefit of the person who sells it and its new owner,” Moleketi says.
The process is simple: search for your device model on the site and state its condition, accept the offer made by Zwipit, and wait for a courier to collect your device. Once a phone or tablet is collected by Zwipit it’s assessed and if it matches the description of its condition provided by the seller, the seller is paid by bank transfer within 10 working days. There’s also a corporate option for companies to easily cash-in on old devices.
No devices that have sustained water damage will be accepted, though Zwipit will however pay 40% of the original offered price for a non-working phone.
Pretty cool, right? It’s like a pawn shop for the tech-savvy. Better than that, it saves time, the hassle and the pricing criteria is pretty much set in stone.
Are you sold?