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Q. A co-worker of mine sold her used cell phone to www.cellforcash.com so I didn't hesitate to use the service based on her positive experience. So I sent in my working iPhone 3G 16GB in the original box with the charger and all accessories following all their directions.
I was sent a confirmation email with a transaction number, advising me to wait 45 days for my check. I often checked the status of my sale on their site. It showed that my cell phone was verified as being eligible for a $280 payment. But the field that reads "Check Cut" remained blank. After the requisite 45 days had passed, I sent an email to customer service and received no response. I emailed again and was told they had forwarded my email to their accounting department and that I would receive an email when the payment is issued. I never heard from accounting. It has now been 20 weeks. Can you help me get my money or my phone back?
Linda DanetA. Hi Linda, I can understand why you're so upset -- you've now waited nearly three times as long as you should have. I reached out to the company via email as well, and got a fast response from Michael Mosieur, who handles customer service issues.
Mosieur says that what happened in your case is fairly simple: The company's computer system made an error. "CFC handles thousands of transactions per month and we do occasionally make mistakes. We are glad when these are brought to our attention so we can resolve any issues."
But after doing a bit of research, I don't think this is as simple as Mosieur would like to make it seem. A quick search for this company on the Better Business Bureau website shows me that Cell for Cash, operated by RMS Communications Group Inc., has an F rating from the organization. That's exactly what it sounds like, the worst rating a company can receive, and it's due to a laundry list of infractions: 351 complaints filed against the business (and a failure to respond to 226 of them). A simple Google search also turned up seven complaints on Ripoff Report due to non-payment, and another seven on Site Jabber, one of our partner sites.
The lesson: Word of mouth is a great way to learn about new products and services, but always do your own due diligence as well. A quick search like this (I like to put in the name of the company first, then do a second and third search with the name of the company and words like "scam" or "rip-off") will turn up problems that others have had, so you can learn from their mistakes.
Finally, the only customer service contact information I could find on the Cell for Cash website is a form that allows you to send an email (if you read my post from last week, you know that this is a red flag right off the bat). If anyone else out there is having an issue with this company, try to email them directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. The BBB website also lists this email address, as well as a few phone numbers -- all of which were out of service when I tried them.
As for you, Linda, Mosieur tells me that your payment will be expedited, and in fact, you should have received it by now. Please let me know if you haven't and we'll go back to square one.
Consumer Ally problem solver Jean Chatzky is the "Today Show" financial adviser, a longtime financial journalist and best-selling author.
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