3/13/2008 10:10:00 AM
Box breaking hits new high
Box breaking has reached new levels as operators pour more money into prepay subsidy, widening the gap between prepay and Sim-free prices.
The riches at stake have triggered new tactics from professional box-breaking gangs with £40,000 worth of handsets bought by box breakers every day.
Store managers in mobile chains and non-specialists are being approached with bungs from box breakers to sidestep ‘two-phones-per-customer’, rules it emerged this week.
Box-breaking gangs claimed they are in cahoots with managers at major mobile chains and non-specialists.
Managers are being tempted with cash and gifts by the box breakers, but are also incentivised by their own internal targets and commissions.
Box breakers told Mobile they have handsets delivered to their homes by store managers and the transactions are put through the tills gradually, in order to disguise any irregular activity.
Box-breaking gangs have also developed new techniques to apply for multiple credit cards to push through transactions.
Retailers have restricted cash deals, with Phones 4u banning cash purchases in London six months ago. Most retailers have restricted the number of times one credit card can be used to buy prepay phones over a three-month period.
Retail managers have also apparently been threatened by box-breaking gangs if they don’t process multiple transactions in recent months. One Phones 4u manager was recently held up with a knife by a box breaker.
The revelations come as more than 60% of prepay phones on several networks have been box broken since November as networks have become increasingly desperate to hit their numbers.