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Cell phones for home front profiteers

Cell Phone Minutes for SoldiersOkay, if you’ve ordered anything from Amazon lately, you’ll have received something feel-goody non-profitish in the packaging, an empty doggy bag labeled CELL PHONE FOR SOLDIERS. You’re meant to read the patriotic blurb and send them your used cell phone to “Help Our Troops Call Home.” The unpadded baggy is pre-addressed to the Cell Phone Recycling Center, post paid, but you can “Help our troops even more by applying postage to this envelope.”
 
Wait, can our troops really use any old cell phone, refurbished, to call their loved ones back home? No.

Credit will be given for your returned phone and the credit will go toward paying for our soldiers’ phone calls. The CPFS website explains that soldiers receive prepaid calling cards with which to phone home. Looking further the site details that for every used cell phone it receives, a Michigan outfit called ReCellular disburses a payment to Cell Phones for Soldiers, enough to pay for one hour of international calling.

A survey of prepaid calling card rates for international calls yields rates ranging from 0.6 to 6 with a mean of 1.5. Rounding up, multiplied by 60 minutes, that’s a $1 value! The soldiers are getting ONE DOLLAR for your used phone.

Allowing for a discounted rate which CPFS can no doubt get, considering they’ve spent a million on this scheme already, probably that value is more like 50 per phone. From their own figures last year, CPFS distributed calling cards to 140,000 US soldiers, their share of the million being $2.50 each. In minutes, who knows how many or few. But wait, AT&T is credited with having contributed half that million in long distance minutes!

Whether we’re talking about administration expenses being gleaned from the cost differences, or tax deductions taken in excess of the contribution value, this is a windfall profit center for somebody. Not the soldiers.

3 thoughts on “Cell phones for home front profiteers

  1. Great writing, Recellular sucks there just out to collect the millions of cellphones so they can make the $$$$$. The other day i saw there bins in walmart telling people to ” Donate” there phones. Funny! they want me to give them more money for free losers!!!!

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