Company buys, fixes used cell phones

March 18, 2011 3:39:54 PM PDT
Most people switch out cell phones every couple of years -- and one local company has found a way to cut your costs and keep electronic waste out of landfills.

The idea of buying second-hand cell phones may scare some people, but you might think twice once you see the quality of the merchandise and hear the warranty. You, too, may be ready to live green with your smartphone.

Recycle and re-use is the basic business model for Lombard-based GreenCells. The company buys used cell phones, wipes the data clean and fixes whatever ails them.

"People that are in the middle of a contract that have broken their phone, dropped it in the toilet or whatever and they need a new cell phone, they go to the store and they have to pay an outrageous amount for that new phone," Jay Hines, owner GreenCells, said.

Some of the phones they get are older and may show signs of wear.

"We take the parts off of those phones because we might have parts from that model of phone that are really pretty, but we just didn't have the guts of the phone to go inside of it, so we save everything," Hines said.

Others are practically brand new. These phones were returned to a major retailer.

"You would never even know the difference either between a used phone and a brand new one, a slight bit of wear on some of them, but no one would ever know that the phones I use are used," Hogan Young, director of business development, said.

They are also getting in some of the newest electronics-- like Samsung Galaxy tablets. The owner says if the idea of used electronics worries potential customers, his warranty should put those concerns to rest.

"For the first 30 days, you can send the phone back for any reason, like I just don't like it or I don't like the color. It doesn't matter. They can send it back for a refund or exchange it for another phone. And then for the remainder of that year, they can exchange that phone at any time," Hines said.

Those recycled phones start as low as $25. The company also buys and sells manuals and accessories like chargers and battery backs. Check out their merchandise at