I declare W.O.R! Responsible Electronic Recycling.

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No. This is not a typo. WOR stands for Wave of Responsibility. What does that mean to you? Let me tell you.

Just a real-life scenario.

There once was a woman named Ms. Climber.  She started a successful business and hired several people.  They all worked diligently with computers at each desk.  In April of 2014, Ms. Climber was told by her IT consultant, that she needs to have new computers because her Windows XP computers were unsupported and there was no way to secure them properly.  Ms. Climber had no choice but to purchase new computers, which made perfect sense because the equipment she had was over ten years old.

Ms. Climber had no choice but to purchase new computers, which made perfect sense because the equipment she had was over ten years old.

Ms. Climber called someone to remove the old computers to make room for the new equipment.  The computers were removed by a recycling company with an 800 number.  Ms. Climber was assured that the hard drives would be erased and all electronics would be recycled properly.  After all, that is what the $75 for pick-up and removal charge is for.

That’s not exactly what happened.

Months later, Ms. Climber got a call from the Consumer Protection Agency telling her that her company was responsible for charges that were fraudulently charged on her client’s credit card.  

You see, the $75 pick-up and removal charge were not used to remove data from the hard drives.  The $75 was used for gas and a Big Gulp at the Circle K.

In fact; the computers were sold to a pawnshop, three blocks from Ms. Climbers company location.  When Ms. Climber tried to call the man that removed the equipment from her place, she got a message saying, “This number is no longer in use.  Please check the number you have dialed and try again.”  Ms. Climber thought she might have the wrong number, so she looked on the internet and found the website he gave her.  The website looked o.k. But when Ms. Climber tried to click on other pages, she found error messages.

Ms. Climber thought she might have the wrong number, so she looked on the internet and found the website he gave her.  The website looked o.k. But when Ms. Climber tried to click on other pages, she found error messages.

When she clicks on other pages, all that comes up is errors.

Ms. Climber is now in a pickle.  She does not know how many credit card numbers out there she might be responsible for.  Does she announce to all her customers that there has been a breach of contract concerning personal client data?  Should she not say anything and hope that this was a single incident? Should Ms. Climber talk to an attorney about this situation?

I don’t have the answers to these questions, but I do know how to prevent such misfortunes in the first place.  Declare WOR.  Ask for a Waive Of Responsibility.

There are several things Ms. Climber can do to save herself embarrassment and this unfortunate position in the future.

  • She can do a simple investigation on a search engine on the web.
  • Ms. Climber can visit the website to see if it looked professional and updated.
  • She can seek out comments and reviews about this recycling company she is thinking about using.
  • Ms. Climber might have looked to see if the recycler is in a chamber organization or any other respectable organization.
  • Another good question; does this company destroy data and certify it?
  • And last but not least: Does this company offer a WAVE OF RESPONSIBILITY?

There are six steps that would have taken Ms. Climber 30-45 minutes.  Don’t make the same mistakes as Ms. Climber.  Deal with computer recyclers that will do what they say they will do.  Help us declare WOR!

Post Script:  The next time Ms. Climber did find an electronic recycler that would give her a documented Wave of Responsibility.  In fact, the company did not charge her for pick-up or data destruction.

The company explained there is no reason to charge

The company explained to her that there is no reason to charge her for anything because they make their money on scrapping the computers and extracting the elements; therefore, nothing goes into the landfill.  100% of the material is recycled.

Update: We no longer call the document WOR (Wave Of Responsibility); we now call the document, TOR (Transfer Of Responsibility).

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