Forum Thread

I think I got scammed, cant activate Iphone 6 "Outstanding Balance Device is not eligible for resale."

hugenut 1,104 1,172 August 8, 2015 at 03:38 PM
So I need tech support on most likely being scammed.
In March I see a great deal for a Sprint Iphone 6 plus on CL and I wanted to get my daughter a phone for when she goes off to college. I met the seller at a Sprint store, and the Sprint CSR told me that the phone had a clean IMEI/ESN and was in good standing.

Fast forward to today when I go to activate it, and I am told I can not because the original owner has an outstanding balance on the financed phone, and can't be activated until the original owner paid it off.

I went to swappa and see this:

"Blacklisted Not Indicated This device does not appear to be globally blacklisted.
Activation Status Assumed Clear Device appears to be activation ready."

But then, this:
"Financed Outstanding Balance Device is not eligible for resale (financed)."

So am I screwed and out of $400? What options do I have? Can I sell the phone on Ebay with full disclosure on the status?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Obviously, the original owner's phone number has been disconnected.

23 Comments

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#2
You should always check the IMEI in swappa or other sites to verify it is financed or blacklisted by any carrier. CL is the place where people get cheated easily.

Try to reach the same person and tell him otherwise call the phone company and you pay the balance for your mistake.
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#3
I would go after sprint and explain the situation. It's just too bad that you didn't have something in writing from the CSR. While they do this to get the customer to pay the remaining balance they owe, legally they don't have much ground to stand on even if they put this in their TOS. The debt follows the person, not a purchased product. Whether they will ever do this without you taking them to small claims is another matter, but I would certainly prod customer service and fill out a BBB report if they don't budge.

On another note if you can get it unlocked or if you are lucky it's already unlocked, you could just resell to another carrier user without any worries with the caveat don't ever use this on sprint.
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#4
Quote from brbubba View Post :
I would go after sprint and explain the situation. It's just too bad that you didn't have something in writing from the CSR. While they do this to get the customer to pay the remaining balance they owe, legally they don't have much ground to stand on even if they put this in their TOS. The debt follows the person, not a purchased product. Whether they will ever do this without you taking them to small claims is another matter, but I would certainly prod customer service and fill out a BBB report if they don't budge.

On another note if you can get it unlocked or if you are lucky it's already unlocked, you could just resell to another carrier user without any worries with the caveat don't ever use this on sprint.
Sprint does not care. I would not waste my time...

He is pretty much farked

Quote from mani View Post :
You should always check the IMEI in swappa or other sites to verify it is financed or blacklisted by any carrier. CL is the place where people get cheated easily.

Try to reach the same person and tell him otherwise call the phone company and you pay the balance for your mistake.
Always a good idea but what some people do is sell the phone while the phone is clear then stop paying their bill and then the phone gets blacklisted
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Last edited by The-Alchemist August 9, 2015 at 07:06 AM
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#5
only real choice is to send the phone to an overseas relative or sell on ebay to somebody that will export it.

sorry tough luck.
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#6
Would Sprint say how much is outstanding? I would guess it's privacy issue but I was wondering if they'd accept a token payment like when some providers accept 'cost' for fraudulent billing charges.
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#7
Your phone is worthless in America. Don't buy from private sellers on Craigslist
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#8
Quote from Novakingwai View Post :
Your phone is worthless in America. Don't buy from private sellers on Craigslist
Craigslist for big ticket used items is a nightmare. I would even hesitate to buy brand new, sealed, items.
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#9
Quote from brbubba View Post :
I would go after sprint and explain the situation. It's just too bad that you didn't have something in writing from the CSR. While they do this to get the customer to pay the remaining balance they owe, legally they don't have much ground to stand on even if they put this in their TOS. The debt follows the person, not a purchased product. Whether they will ever do this without you taking them to small claims is another matter, but I would certainly prod customer service and fill out a BBB report if they don't budge.

On another note if you can get it unlocked or if you are lucky it's already unlocked, you could just resell to another carrier user without any worries with the caveat don't ever use this on sprint.
Yea...this makes sense, can't see what leg Sprint has to stand on with this...
It would be like going to someone to buy a used car, you go into their bank and take care of all the paper work, the bank hands over the title, you hand the guy the money so he can pay off the bank note (but he doesn't of course) and then the bank comes and repo's YOUR car because the other dude never handed them the money. That's just farking stupid.

But it adds another layer that I'd check the next time I go through a deal...going into the store and getting a printout that the phone was paid off.
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#10
Too late, but you should have activated it IMMEDIATELY when it was clear, and left it activated for a month or two. That way the device is tied to your account and Sprint cannot de-activated or do anything to it since your account has nothing to do with the previous owner.

I've bought / sold phones off craigslist, it's not bad if you are smart and take pre-cautions. Expensive lesson to learn in this case.

Quote from brbubba View Post :
I would go after sprint and explain the situation. It's just too bad that you didn't have something in writing from the CSR. While they do this to get the customer to pay the remaining balance they owe, legally they don't have much ground to stand on even if they put this in their TOS. The debt follows the person, not a purchased product. Whether they will ever do this without you taking them to small claims is another matter, but I would certainly prod customer service and fill out a BBB report if they don't budge.

On another note if you can get it unlocked or if you are lucky it's already unlocked, you could just resell to another carrier user without any worries with the caveat don't ever use this on sprint.
His problem was he didn't activate it on Sprint immediately upon purchase.

I always activate the phones on my account before I hand over money to the seller. If it can't be activated on my account right there and then, no sale. Ironically CDMA phones are better in this regard than GSM phones, since GSM phones can be blacklisted later on if reported lost or stolen by the original owner, even if you have a record of purchase. Not sure how this will play out with LTE devices though.
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Last edited by cheap_bastid August 10, 2015 at 02:56 PM
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#11
Quote from cheap_bastid View Post :
Too late, but you should have activated it IMMEDIATELY when it was clear, and left it activated for a month or two. That way the device is tied to your account and Sprint cannot de-activated or do anything to it since your account has nothing to do with the previous owner.

I've bought / sold phones off craigslist, it's not bad if you are smart and take pre-cautions. Expensive lesson to learn in this case.


His problem was he didn't activate it on Sprint immediately upon purchase.

I always activate the phones on my account before I hand over money to the seller. If it can't be activated on my account right there and then, no sale. Ironically CDMA phones are better in this regard than GSM phones, since GSM phones can be blacklisted later on if reported lost or stolen by the original owner, even if you have a record of purchase. Not sure how this will play out with LTE devices though.

How exactly can you protect yourself from this? After the purchase of the device, the original owner has the ability to render the phone obsolete by simply reporting it lost or stolen even if you managed to activate it on a carrier.

The days that I trust a purchase of a phone on CL are over sadly. I will still try to sell stuff since I am normally an honest sort but there is way too many problems with activation and ownership with phones now.

As for the original post, unless something can be done about the original owner, unlikely, then this phone is basically a mini-tablet now. I don't think it can be activated anywhere and I doubt Sprint will work with you on it.

Worth a try, but Sprint has a terrible reputation with the people that are currently giving them money let alone people that are trying not to. They don't go out of their way to assist people.
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#12
Quote from cheap_bastid View Post :
...

His problem was he didn't activate it on Sprint immediately upon purchase.

I always activate the phones on my account before I hand over money to the seller. If it can't be activated on my account right there and then, no sale. Ironically CDMA phones are better in this regard than GSM phones, since GSM phones can be blacklisted later on if reported lost or stolen by the original owner, even if you have a record of purchase. Not sure how this will play out with LTE devices though.
huh?
How would that stop the original guy from reporting the phone stolen? It would still get blacklisted.

GSM phones are far easier to deal with since they can easily be unloaded overseas. (though most cdma phones also have gsm radios now)
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#13
Quote from fyu View Post :
huh?
How would that stop the original guy from reporting the phone stolen? It would still get blacklisted.

GSM phones are far easier to deal with since they can easily be unloaded overseas. (though most cdma phones also have gsm radios now)
Sprint, unlike GSM carriers, did not allow SIM cards to be swapped between phones. So if Sprint allowed the buyer to activate the phone on the buyer's account, then effectively Sprint blesses the transaction and does not go back and block the phone afterwards.

This is different from GSM phones where you can buy a phone, take your own SIM card and put into the new GSM phone, and the carrier is typically not involved in the transaction. So a seller cannot report the phone stolen because it was already activated on another person's account, which required the seller to contact Sprint to release the phone from their account. Thus there cannot be a report of theft.

So when I buy a used Sprint phone, I activate it on the spot. Then it's on official Sprint record that the device is no longer tied to the original account, and they usually will not penalize the buyer for the seller's actions.

This is the one good area of not having the freedom of SIM cards... which may change with LTE, but I'm not sure if Sprint allows users to move SIM cards like the GSM carriers or even Verizon still yet.

The OP unfortunately did not activate the phone on his /her account and officially "claim" ownership of the phone...thereby not taking advantage of one of the benefits of Sprint's policies. Harsh lesson learned.
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Last edited by cheap_bastid August 10, 2015 at 08:38 PM
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#14
Quote from Curtieson View Post :
Yea...this makes sense, can't see what leg Sprint has to stand on with this...
It would be like going to someone to buy a used car, you go into their bank and take care of all the paper work, the bank hands over the title, you hand the guy the money so he can pay off the bank note (but he doesn't of course) and then the bank comes and repo's YOUR car because the other dude never handed them the money. That's just farking stupid.

But it adds another layer that I'd check the next time I go through a deal...going into the store and getting a printout that the phone was paid off.
This is my thinking, but it obviously won't stop Sprint from being a d-bag about it. Most companies just don't care because the amount of people that will take it all the way is minimal. Wonder if you could press for higher damages under the pretense that this is an act of vandalism. laugh out loud
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#15
Do you have the contact information on the seller?

If so, call the cops. Tell them the guy sold you stolen merchandise. (It IS stolen. It was stolen from Sprint.)

Did you pick the Sprint retailed to meet at? Or did the seller? If the seller picked the location, then the chances are he was in cahoots with the guy at the store, who never actually checked the phone out.

That is a scenario we see on XDA Developers a lot. Someone comes to the site asking how to fix their phone, much like you did, and we end up finding out they met the seller at a phone retailed of the seller's choice. Classic phone flip scam.
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