Disposable Cell Phone Scam

from the fun-stuff dept

I’ve been following the “disposable cell phone” market for a while now, as a number of Techdirt’s Corporate Intelligence customers touch on that space. One of the names that has received a lot of publicity is a company called Hop-On Wireless. The SF Chronicle spent some time looking into Hop-On (a company that has done an amazing job getting good press for itself) and discovered that the entire company may be a sham. First off, the “prototype” phones they’re displaying are actually just repackaged Nokia phones (Nokia is considering taking legal action). At first Hop-On tried to get around this, but finally admitted that they were repackaging the Nokias – but just for the prototypes. Their “real” phones would show up soon enough. Hop-On also has some legal problems. A few years ago they were associated with a venture that was charged with “fleecing investors out of as much as $20 million”. The company also recently lost their corporate status for not filing a tax return for the past two years. Ooops. Finally, all that great press they’ve been getting? It was mostly based on lies. They claimed they had all sorts of retail partners – none of whom are actually going to distribute their phones. While they had conversations with some, most turned Hop-On down, or cancelled a deal when Hop-On couldn’t deliver the phones.

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