Earth Mobile cease trading, take money and mobiles with them
Mobile phone recycling has become an easy way of both clearing out the kitchen drawer of crapola we all have, and earning a few extra bob. Except when the website you sent your mobiles to goes to the wall before you're paid - welcome to the world of Earth Mobile.
Businesses go bust all the time, but that's not what's irritating customers in the MSE forums, as well as avid Bitterwallet reader Alasdair:
"The obvious problem is that there are a lot of people out there who had sent in their mobiles and haven't been paid. Most of these mobiles were sent in a long time ago, and as the company promised to pay "within 7 days" and haven't paid for months or so... clearly they knew that this was coming but still accepted phones and offered to pay for them."
According to these reports, Earth Mobile were whipping up plenty of interest by offering the best prices on used mobiles, swaying consumers from choosing more established services. After seemingly stringing many customers along for weeks with promises of payment, all the while accepting handsets from new customers, the Earth Mobile site disappeared on Monday to be replaced with a message stating the company has ceased trading.
The company operated through a rented PO Box number, but a dig through the details at Companies House (which still shows Earth Mobile Ltd as trading) and other websites show Earth Mobile was operated by Russell Malcolm Tilbury, and numerous searches reveal several addresses in the Windsor area. He certainly cast his business net far and wide; Earth Mobile appears to have been trading on eBay in both China and France.
Since Monday, Tilbury has gone to ground, taken his customers money and their mobiles with him. We've tried to call all the numbers littered about the internet, but all resolve in recorded messages or full mailboxes. There seems to be no footprint outside Earth Mobile for Tilbury or the company's other director, Katie Iliffe. MSE members have reported recording the issue with Trading Standards; in the meantime, we'll keep hunting for the elusive Mister Tilbury.