Philly will not ban kiosks that buy old cell phones

 City Council President Darrell Clarke (Emma Lee/NewsWorks Photo, file)

City Council President Darrell Clarke (Emma Lee/NewsWorks Photo, file)

Philadelphia City Council was talking about banning kiosks where people can sell old mobile phones.

Now it’s expected to vote to grandfather existing kiosks and allow new ones on a case-by-case basis.

The kiosks scan the phone, make an offer to the owner and then pay cash on the spot. Currently there are only two in Philadelphia, at the former Franklin Mills Mall (recently renamed Philadelphia Mills).

Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown worries the machines are a means to unload stolen phones.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

“We have evidence that there is an uptick in the crime rate with people stealing those phones and going to get immediate cash,” she said.

A compromise, more than a year in the making, gives council the right to approve or reject any new machines. The existing kiosks are grandfathered.

“That will not eliminate but arrest the spreading of the machines in urban communities, particularly around college campuses,” Reynolds Brown said.

The bill could be approved by council next week.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal