Monday, October 22, 2012

ecoATM Ready to Show You The Money!

ecoATM at the food court in Northlake Mall
ecoATM has launched in Atlanta, and can now be found in a number of malls across the city.

I was first introduced to ecoATM earlier this spring in San Diego, where the company is based.  In essence, the unit, about the size of an ATM, accepts consumer electronics like iPods, iPhones, Androids and other items and values the item.  The company was conceived about four years ago when studies showed that only about 3 percent of phones worldwide are recycled or reused.  

With a database of nearly 4000 devices, ecoATM uses multiple cameras and other proprietary artificial intelligence systems to determine a value for your device.  Taking into account the item's age, condition and other factors, a value is determined, and you are given the opportunity to sell your device. You can opt out at any time, but if you elect to sell, you can receive cash, or choose for your proceeds to be donated to one of many charities.

Recent phones in the best condition are refurbished and sold to insurance companies and other retailers while  older, less desirable phones or phones in poor condition, are sold for parts or melted for metals.

When I first saw ecoATM, I was at Fashion Valley, an upscale Simon-owned lifestyle center with retailers such as Bloomingdale's and Ferragamo.  When I noticed the unit had made its way to Atlanta, I was in the food court of Northlake Mall, home to such retailers as ATL Dollar Plus and J.C. Penney.  Clearly, the company has expanded their net to include less "prime" locations.  The ecoATM is also available in Perimeter Mall, Stonecrest, Greenbriar Mall, Town Center at Cobb and a few others in the state. 

ecoATM is privately held but just completed another round of funding to the tune of $17 million, in which  Coinstar, among others, invested, now for the second time.  Coinstar, famous for its coin counting machines and more recently its Redbox DVD rental units, also has an agreement with Seattle's Best Coffee Co. to vend their coffee for $1.  Seattle's Best is a division of Starbucks.

Would you consider selling your old phone this way?  Do you prefer to sell your items yourself on Craigslist or eBay?  What would you like to see offered via automated machine?  Please share your comments below.  

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

This seems like something that would appeal to people that are hard up for cash...like a mobile pawn shop. Busted.

Anonymous said...

This will be convenient for all the cell phone thieves in Atlanta. Steal a phone, take it to the EcoATM for instant cash.

Atlantan99 said...

@Anon RE : Theft,

I should have mentioned in the post that ecoATM requires both a thumbprint AND drivers license to complete the payment process.

I gotta think this makes it a little more difficult to sell a stolen phone.

Thanks for reading the blog and for the comments.

TheJohnP said...

I hope they are prepared for any enterprising thieves who decide to steal the ecoATM machine itself to get to all the cash/phones inside.

Anonymous said...

what will be funny is when someone gets their iPhone stolen and uses their iLocator app to find it ... bam, they locate it at Perimeter Mall in a big ecoPhone vending machine :)

Anonymous said...

Ask and you shall receive. This guy's phone was stolen and ended up inside the kiosk. http://news.yahoo.com/video/stolen-iphone-found-mall-kiosk-193000351.html

Anonymous said...

I THINK THAT, ITS A GOOD IDEA FOR HONEST PEOPLE, WHO OWE OLD CELL PHONES AND WANT TO SELL THEM WITHOUT GOING DEALING WITH THE CHAGES OF THE INTERNET.