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eCycling 'ATM' Arrives at the Mall

A new machine at the mall pays money for used cell phone and other electronic devices.

An "ATM" that pays cash for used cell phones and other electronics has come to Liberty Tree Mall.

The machine is located in the food court and is one of 300 machines nationally and 11 in Massachusetts from a company called ecoATM.

A customer insert an used electronic device into the machine and an employee looks at it and comes up with a price that is paid.

"Someone in real time is looking at each transaction," manager Andrew Spaventa told the Board of Selectmen last month and he sought permission to install the machine. It is now in place across from Marshall's.

The ecoATM employee that looks at each item is in San Diego. The employee also verifies that the person selling the device looks like the ID they have presented. Both the electronic device and the ID are held on to for at least a month, Spaventa said.

The machine needed the permission of town officials because it falls under the town's Chapter 10 bylaw that regulates second-hand dealers.

The Board of Selectmen are "gun shy" about applications under Chapter 10, said Selectmen Chairman Bill Clark, noting in recent months other second-hand dealer's have been found accepting Costco ID cards and Dominican Republic driver's licenses as identification when purchasing used items. Neither are acceptable under the town's bylaws.

"We've vetted everything on this," Town Clerk Joe Collins said. The company can comply with the reporting requirements in Danvers, Police Chief Neil Oullette told Collins.

The machine takes a thumb print of the person selling the used equipment, Spaventa said, a requirement not used when a cell phone in traded in at a cell phone store, for example.

"This is a better way, it is not a perfect way," he said.

In addition to cell phones, the kiosk also buys laptop computers, video game systems, tablets and other electronic devices.

All of the items are refurbished and resold in Africa, Spaventa said. Items that can not be used again are disposed of properly, he said. The kiosk also offers a free cell phone charging station for use by shoppers at the mall.

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