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August 15, 2006


"Don't listen to preposterous claims that the phones were just being purchased for resale. In the case in which over 1000 phones were purchased, box cutters were used to tear the original packaging apart and the phones were separated from the chargers and batteries. This is not how you treat a product you are hoping to resell at a profit."

not preposterous. if you look on ebay right now the seperated parts sell for $42. my brother did this last year it is pretty profitable and legit.

The phones need to be separated because the you can sell the batteries and the minute creidt cards for about $40 (they list on ebay for $35 and $10 today.) the phones and the chargers are not worht much. th chargers are on ebay for about $3 and there is a company in texas and one in California which ships the phone bodies to china to ge the silver reclaimed they will buy them from you for $1 a piece.

It is called capitalism. There are hundreds and hundreds of products that are worth more as parts (like comaies that are bought and broken up). More so the past two weeks when tracfone ran a promotion with over 300 minutes per phone which can be transfered to any other phone.

There are a lot of how to places to find out how to get these tracphons for $20 and sell them for $40. If you are interested see slickdeals and fatwallet. Otherwise you can look on ebay where there are scores of buyers advertising "wanted to buy."

"And since when is an American retail store, even a bargain-price store like Sam's Club or Walmart, the cheapest available source for buying cell phones? What, these guys never hear of buying from Mexico or Taiwan? "

Common misconceptionm. The phones would be about $100 in Tiawan or mexico where they have no subsidy lock.

Teh ceapest place in the world to buy a cell phone is in fact walmart where in essense they pay you $20 to get a phone becuase they sell you one you can reslee for $40. Crazy but true!

I was in Walmart today and a guy had 20 tracfones. reading the news is profitable!

You make a persuasive argument, and I'm willing to hear more input from others, but I'm not convinced.

Yes, theoretically you can take any product such as a car, take it apart, and sell the parts for more, individually. I'm sure some people have done this with phone parts, particularly with phones that weren't working well to begin with and phones purchased in bulk at deep discounts.

But this is very labor-intensive: How much time and money does it take to buy 1000 brand new cell phones, three at a time? How much time, money, extra expense for on-the-road meals, inconvenience, etc. does it take to travel all around the country looking for the next Wal-Mart store where you can buy three more phones? And why was cash paid for the phones? If it's to evade income taxes, then it's not a legal transation at all. It may not be terrorism, but it is not legit.

You are arguing that someone could make perhaps a $20 "profit" per phone. Maybe, if you don't put a value on your own time, and if you sell to individual buyers on Ebay who pay shipping. But add handling time and costs, and dealing with returned products that you sold for only $20, and how profitable is that really? And keep in mind that even before you get to the reselling part, you had to waste massive amounts of time and gas buying the phones three at a time, moving around the country from one store to another and paying cash to avoid detection.

According to a news account, the men claimed to sell the phones for $38 without the packaging or charger. That sounds awfully steep. Who would pay $38 for a phone without the packaging or charger when they could buy the same phone for much less in brand new condition, with charger, packaging, and no shipping costs or Ebay hassles, at Walmart?

Something is seriously wrong here. Maybe you or your brother have nice little Ebay businesses going, but that's not what these three different groups of Middle Eastern men were up to. If the news account is correct, they claimed to be reselling only the phones without chargers, not the airtime cards or the batteries.

I suppose if they produce their "business" books and records, their business plan, their tax returns, etc. I could be persuaded. But I'm guessing we'll never see that. So we are right to be suspicious.

And there obviously is additional reason to be suspicious (e.g., bridge surveillance) or some of these men would not be charged with providing support to terrorism. Here's a link: http://www.wnem.com/Global/story.asp?S=5269589

Better safe than sorry.

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