At the University Mall in South Burlington, many shoppers flock to the food court for some good eats. But about a week ago something unusual popped up on the menu. It's called the ecoATM-- an automated, consumer self-serve kiosk that quickly evaluates and buys back used electronics like phones, tablets and MP3 players.
"Very similar to when automatic teller machines came out. 'What is that?' But we're getting a great deal of curiosity about the machine," said Jamie Polli of the University Mall.
"As much as it was trying to make money off selling a phone, it was kind of playing with the new technology at the same time," said Bill Moller, who tried the ecoATM.
Moller is one of the many people who stopped in their tracks to see what this machine is all about.
"New phones come out all the time, so many people have multitudes of used phones that they might want to get rid of," Moller said.
EcoATM creators say it's an effort to eliminate electronic-waste and avoid illegal sales of electronics.
"If there is no value to the phones they're saying, do you want to recycle this? And we can environmentally friendly dispose of your old phone that's sitting around your house anyway," Polli said. "The local police department likes it here because any attempts to sell stolen property, this is going to help them in the long run."
Now parents, you might be concerned that your kids will return a phone without your permission, but not to worry. You have to be 18 years or older to use this device, and you have to provide a license and fingerprint just to get it approved.
For one customer, dropping off an old cellphone meant getting just $1 out of the ecoATM, but the company says you can make up to $250 per item.
It's a new shopping experience that helps the planet and sometimes consumers' wallets.
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