UpgradeSwap stops buying used T-Mobile phones [Update x2: Correction]

Upgrade-Swap-Logo

UPDATE: T-Mobile got in touch to correct some of the information being shared by UpgradeSwap. Customers buying used devices can – in fact – check their devices to see if they’re financed, or if they’re clear. You can check that link here: http://www.t-mobile.com/verifyIMEI.aspx

“If a customer wants to purchase a T-Mobile phone and is checking the IMEI number, they should be using our tool for the correct information.” 

UPDATE #2: UpgradeSwap also got in touch with us following the update to inform us that it is aware of the T-Mobile VerifyIMEI service, and that it has experienced inconsistent and unreliable results from that too. 

We’re not trying to spread lies, but are hoping changes happen to better protect all consumers who buy and sell mobile devices.”

Buying and selling used phones is big business these days, especially at the rates customers can now change their devices. Whether it be on eBay, Craigslist or elsewhere, there are many routes to go down in order to get rid of our old devices. One provider, UpgradeSwap, has just announced that it’ll “never buy used T-Mobile phones again”.

In a blog post, the company details reasons why its has stopped accepting T-Mo devices, and – in essence – it comes down to the way T-Mobile’s EIP system blacklists phones and doesn’t allow more in depth IMEI checking.

As an example, a customer could decide after a few months that a phone is no longer right for them. So they take sell it to UpgradeSwap. Customer tells the company that the device is all good for activation, and gives them the IMEI to check with T-Mobile. T-Mo gives the all clear, and UpgradeSwap hands over the money.

What the buyer doesn’t know, and can’t find out in any way, is that the handset is being financed by a T-Mo customer using one of the carrier’s EIPs. The T-Mo customer then decides they don’t want to pay their monthly installments anymore, and stops. UpgradeSwap has since sold the phone on to another customer who’s been using it for a couple of months before it – out of the blue – stops receiving carrier signal. The phone has been blacklisted.

Turns out, T-Mobile’s IMEI checking system is a little different to the other major U.S. carriers. It can only tell third parties that the there are no blocks on the handset at the time it’s handed over by the original customer. T-Mobile can’t and won’t tell buyers whether or not the phone has been fully paid for, or is still being paid for using a financing plan. T-Mobile can’t and won’t tell buyers if the phone is active on a customer’s account.

Thankfully, AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint have a smarter system in place. They will tell you if the IMEI or ESN (the network identification number for the phone) is active on an account by simply calling them. If the phone is released off the account and not reported lost or stolen, you can be most certain the device won’t have any issues being activated on a new line and you won’t have to worry about your service getting cut because the past owner stopped paying their bill, like on T-Mobile.”

And the sad thing is, even systems like Swappa’s IMEI checker can’t give fully accurate information on whether or not a phone is active, or being financed.

All in all then, it leaves companies like UpgradeSwap without the ability to sell on a T-Mobile device and knowing for sure that it’s clear to sell and can be activated. It’s not clear how many customers were affected by this system. Regardless, the risk is there that a customer could end up with a useless phone. And that’s not a risk UpgradeSwap is willing to take.

Via: UpgradeSwap

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  • Alex Zapata

    Am I the only one that thinks it’s rather obtuse of them to not allow full communication between them and resellers?

    • um duh

      Probably.

  • Jay J. Blanco

    You can call tmobile and ask them to run a IEMI number and they’ll tell you of its blacklisted, paid off or unpaid EIP. I’ve done it before.

    • tmo_rep

      The rep or reps who tell you if it’s paid off, or has a EIP balance will coached, or could face serious action. They ARE NOT supposed to release that type of info. I’ve seen an employee get fired over this. Please do not jeopardize this on any of our reps just because some didn’t know the policy! We can tell you if the device is active, or if it’s blocked, and the general reason for the block ie blocked due to stolen.

      • Jay J. Blanco

        The rep that told me this. Didn’t release any sensitive information. She just me That the phone was blocked due to EIP and to send it back to seller.

        • tmo_rep

          Oh ok, we can state that. We just can’t say it’s active and on eip because that would require us to access the customer’s account to find that information.

    • J

      They will run the IEMI number for current blacklisted but they won’t tell you if there is eip plan attached to the phone unless your the party financed it….
      States that on the official T-Mobile search tool…
      If phone eip payment is current theres no block for the tool to find….

  • thepanttherlady

    And this is why I stopped buying phones off of Craigslist. Not only is there no way to verify the device has been paid for but if a seller reports the phone “lost” or “stolen” after they’ve sold it to you, you’re SOL. Too many shady people out there.

    • Zach

      get an unlockable att phone, then it doesn’t matter if it gets blocked.

      Source: i resold blocked tmobile phone to att customer. works fine for the past year.

      • thepanttherlady

        No, thanks. I only purchase international unlocked versions now. Solved all problems without the hassle. :)

        • Pitahson

          My issue with international models is that they often don’t support the regular 1700/2100 bands t-mobile requires for HSPA+

    • Eric Stengrevics

      Yeah. I had a bad experience with this. I bought my first HTC One from Ebay, shortly after, it would no longer connect to the network. Brought it into T-Mobile and was told the guy I bought it from never finished paying it off. Luckily Ebay gave me my money back and took it up with him. Definitely recommend going through Ebay over Craigslist for this reason. Got another one after though and couldn’t be happier :)

  • http://benpike.net/ Ben Pike

    This might help: https://www.t-mobile.com/verifyIMEI.aspx

    Although there’s no way to know if the phone is actually paid off yet…. If the account is still active, delinquent, or recently cancelled there’s no real way to know a device won’t get blacklisted for non-payment after you buy it. But hopefully this may help if you want to make sure a phone isn’t reported as lost or stolen.

  • Greg

    This happened to me when I bought a used phone off of Craigslist. I had the phone working great on T-Mobile for a month then all of a sudden it stopped working because it was reported stolen and blacklisted. I was able to get the phone sim unlocked and it did work on the ATT network so I was able to re-sell it to someone on Craigslist wanting to use it on Straight Talk with the ATT sim.

    • Zach

      same worked for me :)

  • http://www.t-mobile.com Big-Myke Kanuri

    Who? UpgradeWHO? IRRELEVANT

  • Mike Coleman

    if you buy from craigslist or whatever, just have the person meet you at a t-mobile store and do the transaction there. then they can check it out/verify before you go dump a couple hundred or however much on it

    • thepanttherlady

      Still doesn’t stop someone from reporting the phone lost or stolen after the transaction. Happens all the time.

      ETA: There needs to be a system in place that once a device is sold it is no longer linked to the seller. When I had Verizon many years ago, once you “released” the phone from your account you had no control over it. I don’t know if it’s the same way now or not.

      • Mathew Colburn

        This is also why you write a contract out for them to sign saying that they will not blacklist or report the phone lost/stolen when you buy it from them, and have them provide you with a copy of any receipt showing the device has been fully paid for or the document can and will be used in any legal proceedings. I’ve done this multiple times and if they refuse to sign it and meet at a local store I don’t even deal with them. Give yourself at least a little bit of protection.

        • thepanttherlady

          Who is going to give a random stranger the personal information required to locate, serve and sue them in small claims court if they blacklist the device?

        • Mathew Colburn

          A person that wants to sell their device and has a person willing to purchase it.

        • thepanttherlady

          So, I now have a working phone but some random stranger has enough info to steal my identity or sell it. No, thanks.

          Again, the solution is simple. T-Mobile can implement a system where the original owner can “release” the phone to a new owner. Done deal. The new owner doesn’t have to worry about their device as far as blacklisting is concerned.

        • Jason

          Exactly :)

      • Thomas Vu

        It would stop them, cause then T-mo could tell the buyer, “Yes, this phone is being financed.” or “No, this phone is paid off in full”

        • thepanttherlady

          So T-Mobile tells you “No, this phone is paid off in full” and you purchase the phone. 2 months later your phone stops working because the seller decides to report it lost or stolen. Now what?

        • Thomas Vu

          T-mobile would also register the IMEI to the other user while they’re at the store. The phone is no longer the sellers.

        • thepanttherlady

          But T-Mobile doesn’t do that. If they did, this would solve a lot of problems. ;)

        • Thomas Vu

          I don’t see why they wouldn’t. Maybe things are truly different at T-mobile than they are at Verizon.

          At Verizon, accounts are linked to phone models and IMEI. Also, T-mobile can detect what phone is being used with which SIM card. The only difference being that the T-mo employee would manually move it over, instead of waiting a week for the protocol to do it automatically.

        • thepanttherlady

          When I had Verizon it was so simple, as you say.

          I believe the phone’s IMEI # used to be tied to the SIM/account. Once a SIM was put into the phone, the IMEI # would register to that account within a few hours to days. I “think” that changed with the implementation of the blacklist database but I’m not sure. Maybe some of our reps can chime in here regarding this? How does a buyer ensure the phone they’re purchasing from a seller is linked to their account and not the sellers after purchase to avoid blacklisting? Of course, this is only for devices that are free and clear of any EIP.

        • Thomas Vu

          I used to manage all the lines at my old company and we had Verizon.

          I hope it hasn’t changed. When you log in to my-tmobile.com, it shows the phone you’re currently using. I can’t see why the process would change, but if it does it would affect my credibility as a reseller. I feel like I already jump through enough hoops as is!

        • thepanttherlady

          Other than randomly testing new phones (LG G Flex), I haven’t used a T-Mobile purchased phone in some time so mine don’t show up on my account (Xperia Z, Xperia Z1, Xperia Z2 and OnePlus One). Not sure if they’re able to be blacklisted or not as a result, not that I’m trying. LOL

        • Thomas Vu

          Neither have I. My past few phones were Nexus 4, Nexus 5, M7. They eventually showed up, but that might be because they eventually started selling the phone themselves?

          Lucky you, getting your hands on a OnePlus One.

        • bisayan

          Woah lady take it easy…so u now have the Xperia z2 and the one plus one?? Damnnn lolz..Can u spare some invites? I still didn’t get any phones I’m now waiting for the lg3..

        • thepanttherlady

          I still have my Z1, Z2 and yes, now the OnePlus One. The only ones that have received invites to give out are some of the Smash the Past contest winners. The rest of us that received invites haven’t been given any to hand out at this time. :/

        • Zach

          the difference is CDMA vs GSM. with CDMA (verizon, sprint) A devise has to be registered to an account for it to work. With GSM (tmobile, att) all you have to do is put in the sim card. Tmobile can see what phone you’re using, but they don’t have to have it “registered” with the account. I really like GSM better for this reason, but there is the backlash of phones getting blocked.

          A way around this is to use the device on ATT. I bought a tmobile note 2 on craigslist. It stopped working after a week. I took it to an att store to test, it worked on att (i unlocked it). I ended up selling it to my friend who has att for the same price i paid for it. so it worked out. My next purchase was an ATT note 2, that i used on tmobile.

          TLDR: if you get an unlockable device on att, you can use it on tmobile without worry, and vice versa.

        • Thomas Vu

          As of at least when LTE started blowing up on Verizon, you only needed a SIM card to switch between Verizon phones without registering them.
          There were also a few phones that could also use T-mo’s service on them, but you wouldn’t get LTE.

        • John

          If you use an AT&T phone on T-mobile, you will not get all the LTE or 3G bands. Vice versa so depending on your location you might be stuck with the low 2g (Edge).

        • Zach

          it depends on the phone, many devices have both bands. I used an ATT note 2 on tmobile and i received 3g, h+, & lte

        • Willie D

          They can’t report a phone lost or stolen that is active on another account that was activated in store and IMEI scanned into the system.

      • DDLAR

        I think someone else in this forum mentioned that in a case like this they were able to call the insurance company and get the phone reinstated. I think if you have a bill of sale it would be very hard for the insurance company to refuse.
        The problem with a financed phone is that T-Mobile is within their rights to blacklist the phone.

        • thepanttherlady

          The post you’re referring to was posted over an hour after the one you’re replying to.

          T-Mobile absolutely should be transparent on whether a device is being financed or not. If a buyer still purchases one being financed then it’s on them if it gets blacklisted.

  • Daniel Marchand

    There needs to be a way publically to find out if the phone is being financed. Cars, houses, boats, etc. have liens in place – I don’t see why T-Mobile couldn’t at least devulge if a lien/EIP is active on the device or not. Of course the other challenge with this is what if honest people sell their financed phone and use the cash to pay off the EIP – if that is you it would make it very hard to sell your device…. it would have to be paid off first, then sold.

    • Zach

      they’ve told me over the phone before if the device had financing. But i’m a customer, it might be different for 3rd parties.

      • Daniel Marchand

        It should be build in that IMEI checker page to though, I just tried my own and it showed it was all good, I just got the device and haven’t made one EIP payment yet… lol Just a financed yes/no box is all it would take. I agree with raitchison I think they want people to buy new and kill the used market off, and frankly it’s working it’s to risky to buy used from a random stranger in my opinion, risk is not worth the savings usually.

  • http://robert.aitchison.org raitchison

    Don’t think T-Mobile is in any hurry to fix this problem, they would like to kill the resale market entirely because they want to sell you a new overpriced phone on EIP.

    • monkeybutts

      Phones aren’t necessarily overpriced they are just rarely on sale.

      Paying off contract on the other carriers actually saves you a lot of money as well. $600 if you have a 10 GB or more plan on ATT or Verizon. Which is better than paying $200+$600 from getting a contract. Under 10 GB and you get a $15 discount which is $360. End cost $300 on $200 on contract price minus any activation fees.

    • Chris Sanner

      actually, I doubt this as t-mobile has made it terribly easy to bring your phone from another carrier or pick up a phone anywhere and use it on t-mobile’s network. they’d rather just get your monthly payments than have to deal with all the BS of selling phones

      • thepanttherlady

        They’ve also stated they’re doing quite well in this area themselves. Of course, they’d rather the revenue flow through them.

      • Mike

        No T-Mobile rather have customers financing there phones .bringing your own device is just a tactic to get you to switch then once you realize your AT&T phone isn’t fully compatible on T-Mobile network then bam you’ll end up financing a phone from them.

    • Can’t Tell if Trolling…?

      ” they want to sell you a new overpriced phone on EIP.”

      Funny how their EIP prices are pretty much exactly what the OEM’s charge except for the Nexus devices.

      Unless you’re implying all phones are over-priced, regardless of who’s selling them; in which case, T-Mobile is irrelevant to your complaint.

  • prime

    Just a thought. Seller can go through a process where buyer agrees to take over payments. Then the seller cannot report stolen and the buyer becomes the fully responsable party.

    • mike

      Not if the seller is a flake and TMO won’t even let you pay the phone off!

      • prime

        Not what I meant. Like taking over the payments on a car, the buyer is now responsible for the debt. At that point the new owner has the title or pink slip. The past owner can’t report it stolen.

    • Mike

      I like that idea but T-Mobile would never do this because they want to sell new phones and have more people financed.

  • Irfan

    its all about the seller , the better way to buy the phone if seller agree to go with you to the T Mobile store, but to be honest you can not stop this fraud at all if even on any network …its all about honelty of seller ..simple

    • Ronnie

      it can be easily stopped if Tmobile cooperates and provides a tool that works as they have implemented on their end

  • MIKE

    I’ve been in the same shoes as all the other buyers b/c I bought my GS4 brand new on ebay but 4 months later and it stopped working due to the same IMEI blocking from unpaid EIP. I was so frustrated and TMO REALLY NEEDS TO START TELLING PEOPLE ABOUT THE FINANCING PART WHEN CHECKING IMEI! I DON’T WANT ANYONE TO BE SCAMMED LIKE I DID.

  • des

    those people are GHETTO!

  • Bowen9284

    Be more cautious about where you purchase your phone. I use Swappa and each user has a rating and amount of transactions they have completed. I have had zero problems with used T-Mo phones.

  • ChrisKringle

    I can understand why T-Mobile would block the IMEI # for usage. When someone purchase a device from T-Mobile on EIP, that person is agreeing to finance that particularly device from T-Mobile. Two months from now, that person decides they want to sell the device and stop paying the monthly balance for the device to T-Mobile, then my question is who takes the financial lost here? Not the person selling the device or the person purchasing the device. T-Mobile will be taking a financial lost so kudos to T-Mobile for protecting their investment to some degree. Its like financing a vehicle and then selling it to someone else while you’re still under contract and you decided to stop paying the monthly note because you feel as if you do not have the vehicle in your possession anymore. What happens then? The financing company issues a repossession order for the vehicle and it will get picked up the minute its spotted. Do yall think T-Mobile is going to send a repossession team for a cellular phone?? I thinks not so they block the IMEI so it cannot be used. Makes sense to me.

    • John

      Actually the buyer is taking financial lost also. If T-mobile provide the information about the phone than both party won’t take the financial loss.

    • Mike

      Your comparing a phone to a car lol. A nice car today cost $30,000 or more of course a bank would hire someone to come get it if you stop paying.

      • ChrisKringle

        The level of comparison is irrelevant. I was only making a point lol

        • Doofus

          your point is based on a faulty comparison
          tmobile unsecured credit, car loan is secured credit

          tmobile has information they are unwilling to supply, even thought it’s in their best interest to reveal
          plain laziness is at blame, tmo’s policy encourages fraud due to crooks knowing TMo will look the other way

        • Guest

          You’re still in a buyer’s contract. Your analysis of unsecured credit vs secured credit is redundant and has zilt, nada, nothing to do with my point.

        • Dimwit

          you don’t have a point
          what type of credit has everything to do with what can be considered for repossession….
          with cars you can see if there is a lein on a title…. in tmos case you cant unless your the buyer
          whether your in contract on not has no bearing on whether TMo should make information readily available especially since they advertise bring your own device….
          A good business will protect it’s customers especially it easily feasible and openly encouraging it….

        • Point is Dead

          for example….
          miss car paymemt repossession can occur…
          miss credit card payments, they cannot repossess items bought from credit card, only the cash amount due can be pursued
          unsecured debt owed can only be obtained thru a judgement or garnishment
          tmobile is unsecured credit, if TMo wanted to it could seek a judgement or garnishment but the cost would be more than the value of goods…. lawyer, court papers, proceedings in some cases TMo would be unable to collect

          they block imei so they don’t allow the person to sell or use on tmo network to deter the purchaser from profiting and/or still have use from equipment that is unpaid…. also they write off the amount lost to recoup some of it on taxes, tmo sells debt to collection agencys to also recoup unpaid debt

          so to kill what you believe is a point, TMo cannot repossess the phones unless there is a bankruptcy filed and even in that case the phone if the bankruptcy trustee see potential income in device repossession, all the income would be distributed to all creditors not just TMo

  • shadlom

    That’s not tmo’s fault, it is the dishonest eip dodgers messing it up for everyone!!

    • DDLAR

      It is true that the thieves are the ones really at fault here. However, T-Mobile has a responsibility to supply better information to make it more difficult for the thieves.

      • Jason

        And it’s in TMobiles best interest to protect it customers especially if they have the information in front of them

  • ohwell

    Well I am sure there will be a huge event coming maybe called” Irresponsible Carrier 1″ where a cussing, swearing f words tossing CEO tells everyone the the other three lying, cheating and stealing carriers are doing it wrong ;)

  • Jason

    There should be a way to check eip balances if you have the device info…. No personal information would be needed…..
    You should also be able to pay off a prior balance owed anyways, T-Mobile should know whether device is an eip blacklist or blacklisted from insurance…. It’s sounds more like laziness on TMO’s part….

    • 21stNow

      I agree that the buyer should be able to pay off the EIP balance. However, the selling price plus the remaining EIP balance would probably make the phone’s overall cost to the buyer too high. The buyer might as well just buy a new phone from T-Mobile at that point.

      • Jason

        Atleast there would be an option instead of sorry but your device is a T-Mobile brick….
        Like I stated first there should be a system in place to verify beforehand which would make this situation avoidable

  • repz

    I’m a rep , I helped a transaction take place in my store by checking imei blocks and having the buyer pay off the sellers eip balance . Both tmoble customers. Seller then reports the phone stolen(seller can report the phone stolen within 30 days of that imei last being regestered on his account) buyer comes back with a blocked phone . Then calls assurant(insurance company) and reports the seller committing insurance fraud .insurance company reversed the imei block for him. And goes after the buyer

    • repz

      Seller *

    • Pitahson

      I had an issue with an IMEI issue with an S4 in january, called the insurance company and they said once the phone is blocked, its as good as brick and that they could not revert the change. funny thing is, the IMEI got blocked 6 months after purchasing on swappa. No one could do anything. talk about SOL

  • Mike

    This happened to my dad he bought a Note 3 from a cell phone shop and it ended up getting block a week later the owner agreed to replace it and they called T-Mobile over the speakerphone and we was told the phone wasn’t blacklisted then two weeks later it got blacklisted again. The owner ended up giving my dad a AT&T brand Note 3 which he called in and was told it wasn’t active on any account and can be used and $100 back and it still works to this date. T-Mobile needs a better system when it comes to the used phones market and stop trying to force customers to buy new phones from them.

  • Mike

    I meet a guy from craiglist who agreed to trade me a HTC M8 for my Note 3 . We met in a T-Mobile franchise store and the rep swap our phones and 2 1/2 weeks later my phone was blacklisted for lost/stolen which I know the guy did a insurance job. As much as I want to find and confront the guy T-Mobile screwed me . After you swap phones in a Franchise store I shouldn’t have to worry about getting blacklisted.

  • Luis Espinal

    I’m surprised they state swappa can’t verify a balance on the phone. I’ve seen several instances where swappa listing are canceled because an Imei check shows a balance remaining on TMOBILE. This isn’t insider information, it’s visible on the communication board at the bottom of the listing.

  • Justin Jones

    I took T-Mobile to court over this very situation. T-Mobile even admitted that the situation was not my fault but would not remedy the problem even though they were the very cause of it. Unfortunately the court didn’t seem to think T-Mobile is responsible blacklisting their own devices that they have already cleared for use…. go figure.

  • DDLAR

    I think the problem can be summed up pretty simply.
    There are people selling, what are essentially, stolen phones. T-Mobile is not responsible for that. However, T-Mobile is making it easy for the thieves to operate. T-Mobile needs to move quickly to fix this issue.

    • bfastenau

      while it is theft, TMO is falling short on protecting their customers, period. read below what happened to me on this very issue and you will see that they need to fix how they track phones.

  • bfastenau

    I had a not so nice conversation with a tmo rep yesterday due to this very issue, ON A TMO SUPPLIED REFURB!. I had to replace a 2 month old LG G2 due to the mic not working on the headset jack, low and behold 3 months later my phone won’t register with their network. I start a chat with online support who would not deviate from her script, only to be told the imei had been blocked due to no payment (by the previous owner) on the phone and it would take 24 hours to unblock… WTF this was a t-mobile provided refurb! So I pick up the phone and immediately request a manager, after threatening to leave if it was not resolved immediately she was able to unblock my phone while on the phone with me. Come on John and Co, fix these issues. It’s nice that you are again the cool kids on the block with all your “Uncarrier” attitude, but it’s crap like this that sends people back to the competition.

    • D.

      You made that situation quite a bit more difficult then what it had to be. You could have simply visited a t-mobile location and had a rep correct the issue for you

      • bfastenau

        Your fucking kidding me, I pay on time every month for a service that was interrupted due to a poorly designed tracking database. This issue could be addressed without too much difficulty by integrating their systems better. I don’t feel that being inconvenienced is OK, what if I was on the road and my car broke down and I could not use my phone due to this type of “mistake” what if it was a medical emergency? Your mindset that this is not as big of a deal tells me you live life on the left with all the others that don’t want to blame or hold people accountable.

        • Ti

          That’s right, everything wrong in your life is someone’s else fault, I’m sure you are perfect and you never make mistakes.

        • JayMo86

          He kinda has a point…there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be held accountable for a replacement device they provided. I don’t think anyone should blame the sales reps or even the call center rep, but this is definitely a flawed system if the phone was blocked by the actual company that provided the device

        • archerian

          if the device was blocked, then the device should have been “stolen” or “lost” .. I wonder, how did it then end up with T-mobile themselves? This is like in Lethal Weapon 3, where corrupt cops resell guns meant to be destroyed via the ‘No questions asked drop-off’ program :)

        • Ta

          troll

        • bfastenau

          Ti, you can go pound sand, this was not a personnel issue, it was a systems issue. The phone that got blacklisted was a refurb/replacement for the 600 dollar phone that I bought new. That said the database they use should have been updated when the device was brought back to be refurbished, the device should have been unassociated from any account other than mine. The manager on the phone after being made aware of my dissatisfaction took care of the issue promptly. I was never abusive to her, I was however very up front with my next steps if this was not resolved quickly (not 24 hours like the online rep).

      • thepanttherlady

        How? The op didn’t state what time this took place so it is possible it happened after store hours. Also, let’s not assume visiting a T-Mobile location is more convenient for someone than calling customer care.

  • David

    I am a T-Mobile representative. I’ve been reading several of these comments and most of you fail to realize that tmo has to protect themselves from a business standpoint. I warn customers all the time that there is a lot of attempted fraud in our stores. Potential customers come in, activate multiple lines of service with 0 down on the phones and them sell the phones on places like craigslist and ebay for 3-4 times the amount they paid in store for the devices. Then the customer doesn’t pay the bill and the account is cancelled for 1st month default on payment. Person who bought the device 2nd hand is then stuck because they did not buy directly from tmobile. My advice being on the other side of the counter, take the money that you were going to cough up to by the Craigslist phone, come in to a store and put it all on a down payment for a phone. You are protected from this issue and you monthly bill is still low because you paid more up front for the phone

    • thepanttherlady

      While I agree that T-Mobile should protect themselves, what I believe the general consensus here is that they lack transparency. They should let customer’s know whether a device is being financed or not. They should implement a system that allows customer’s to transfer a device to their name/account to prevent unscrupulous sellers.

      And no sir, I will not take my money and use it as a down payment at T-Mobile. Why should I be forced to spend more than I want because T-Mobile doesn’t want to play nice in this regard?

      • T-Mobile rep

        You cannot give out customer information to anyone not verified. The decision is on you as the consumer. Stop blaming T-Mobile for not researching your product properly before buying.

        • thepanttherlady

          First of all, where have I blamed T-Mobile? What I have stated is that their system is flawed.

          Secondly, I can “research” my product until I’m blue in the face with the current system T-Mobile has. With the current system I can purchase a device that T-Mobile has stated has a good IMEI # and still have it blocked at a later date.

          Lastly, if you’ve read anything I’ve posted on this thread then you’ll know I no longer purchase used phones or anything directly through T-Mobile.

        • ThatGuy

          I’m not on T-Mobile, but regardless of how uninformative their systems are, how is it the carriers fault that you were fucked over in an attempt to fuck over the carrier that provides you the service to use on these used devices. You all are adults. Take responsibility for you all coming up short when trying to take a short cut. Thames aren’t certified pre owned vehicles, here. There are no “cellfax”

        • thepanttherlady

          I just reread my post that you responded to and still can’t find where I claimed to have been “f*cked” over.

          In that you’re not on T-Mobile then you certainly won’t need to worry about their blacklisting practices. ;)

        • This Guy

          VOTE REPUBLICAN!!!
          Your opinion always matter even if you don’t have any connection to the situation, reading comprehension will be absent at all times, and intelligence isn’t needed if you have money to pay for your stupidity

          cellfax, clever really clever

        • Aaron Davis

          T-mobile won’t allow proper research.
          All they have to do is answer a single question, “Is this IMEI currently being financed?” They don’t have to divulge who owns it, or how much is left on the EIP, they just have to say Yes or No.

          The problem is that t-mobile is unwilling to answer even this simple question.

          How do you properly research something when the ONLY source is T-mobile itself, and T-mobile refuses to cooperate?

        • JayMo86

          This is the difference, whether a device is currently financed or not should not be considered customer information. If you are able to bring a device into a store and have the IMEI checked for lost or stolen claims without pulling up a customer’s account, the same should be allowed to determine if a device is currently financed. That type of information is not considered “CPNI”. (Also a T-Mo Rep)

        • archerian

          If a device is being financed, its technically not the user’s property, its kind of like a lease to buy. So T-mobile is actually the current owner and they could reveal whether the device is on “lease” or not. Tie the Yes/No to the device and not user.

        • Mike

          well AT&T , Sprint, and Verizon are not having these kind of issues with pre-owned phone like T-Mobile does Mr. T-Mobile rep… T-Mobile is trying to force customers to buy new phones and fiance it to lock u in .

        • T-Mobile Manager

          I am store manager for T-Mobile and we see these issues everyday. We, at T-Mobile, are not at all trying to upset the consumer. We just want you all to take responsibility for the risk of purchasing 2nd hand. T-Mobile loses money on these devices when they are not paid off and are purchased out of the act of fraud. Understand that we are subject to termination for sharing info that you all, the consumers, feel we should share. Fraud or not, we are expected to treat and protect every account. Please do not be upset at your carriers because you were taken advantage of outside of your network provider. Fraud is alive and well in the wireless industry so the best way to protect yourself is to buy direct. Fortunately, we offer interest free and 0 Apr financing

        • thepanttherlady

          “Fortunately, we offer interest free and 0 Apr financing”

          This seriously made me laugh.

        • T-Mobile Manager

          Well, you could always stay locked into a contract and keep paying for devices you’ll never see…the choice is completely up to the consumer. I’m not trying to win over any subscribers, here. Just trying to expose truth. The ugly truth is that the consumer pays a fraction of the of a device from a 2nd hand retailer and expects for it to be as legit as a device that was sold sealed shut. It isn’t your carrier’s responsibility to monitor purchase made outside of their territory. There is risk involved. Even when people call the store asking to check imei’s we let them know that it shows clean, but does not guarantee it will stay that way. At least that is how my reps are trained.

        • thepanttherlady

          I own a Z1 (not the Z1s), a Z2 and a OnePlus One. What contract will I stay locked in?

        • Jeez

          So should we also avoid going to TMobile since over the years there has been cases of Customer Service Rep fraud???

          No you fix the current setup to get rid of the fraud and in this case it would be very easy to implement and may have been implemented because original article has been updated *facepalm*

          If tmo employs too many managers like yourself, it won’t matter if the buyout or any uncarrier program rolls out because customers don’t like being contradicted and treated poorly….
          TMobile itself has advertised bring your own device and your stating opposite while being a jerk about it….

        • Troller

          Stop pretending to be a tmobile rep lol
          If you a rep get retrained because you fail customer service part of the job

    • Verizonthunder

      No thanks, I did just fine with swappa buying a LG g flex in excellent condition. The seller even direct messaged me with tracking for me and for swappa. He was a great seller too answering all my questions fast and saved $190 bucks.

    • Jon

      T-Mobile would be protecting itself by protecting it’s customers…
      When anyone has to deal with the headache of a blacklisted esn because of eip payments, it’s bad publicity….
      If there was a system in place for T-Mobile customers to check for an eip balance on prospective phones everyone wins…..
      All the numbers are already in there system it’s just missing transparency for its customer’s

    • Mike

      sounds like you and T-Mobile are forcing customers to buy phones from T-Mobile and in the meantime you earn yourself some kind of commission/bonus

      • Moses JC

        It is a business. T-Mobile isn’t forcing anyone to do anything but if I can deter people from buying from third party vendors I would as well. It’s a public company with shareholders & other people with a lot of invested to the company. T-Mobile could do more, but are they doing anything wrong ?

    • Jason

      What store so I can avoid ever entering??
      Besides sounding like a desperate car salesman with your “advice” your post forgets to address the fact that Tmo has all the data available only to themselves which if they simply had a eip check tool for customers the problem would be solved….

    • Moses JC

      Exactly. No one wants to hear until they get burned. I also work for T-Mobile & said the same thing.

  • http://www.my49monthly.com jamel gay

    t-mobile is dumb… just send the person account to collections and write it off like normal business do… stopping people from using the lost phone just makes you guys lose more money in the long run dumby

    • thepanttherlady

      The account will still be forwarded to collections but this is supposed to deter the behavior. They have every right to blacklist a device that hasn’t been paid for.

      ETA: If you report your phone lost you choose whether or not to blacklist it. At least, whenever I’ve reported one lost it gives me that option.

  • T-Mobile rep

    This is by no means T-Mobile’s fault…people are selling their used phones that aren’t paid off yet, and not paying them off even though they signed a contract that said they would. They are trying to call a customer’s fraudulent actions T-Mobile’s problem, which it is not. I tell people all day, if you buy a used phone, you are at risk of buying a bricked phone. If that risk is worth it to you to save a penny, then go ahead and take it. Also, to those of you who are blaming T-Mobile for blocked insurance claim phones, you should know that every carrier began that exact same process about a year ago. When you do an insurance claim and legally claim that your phone was stolen, all 4 major carriers will then block your phone from being used by the supposed thief. This was agreed upon by the 4 carriers and it is not a t-mobile only practice. All that this amounts to is that T-Mobile is protecting their customers from thieves and their inventory from fraudulent customers. That is completely acceptable…and to think that you should be able to just call up T-Mobile and expect them to just give you customer account information is absolutely absurd. That is a breach of the customer proprietary information law. They’re not going to tell you if a customer has EIP, Insurance, or has not paid their bill if you are not fully verified. Moral of the story: if you want to buy used phones, expect that there’s a chance it won’t work forever.

    • thepanttherlady

      They don’t need to give customer account information. If the phone is being financed then I should be told the IMEI# is no good. Quite simple really. Yes, means the device is free and clear of any financing, it hasn’t been reported stolen or lost. No, means it’s being financed or has been reported stolen or lost. See? No account information was divulged.

      As far as insurance claims, if I purchase a phone from someone, T-Mobile should have a way to “remove/log/notate” etc. that the seller has released the phone to me and I am now the “legal” owner. The seller no longer has any rights to it. Period.

    • MaseW

      I feel like you are somewhat missing the bigger picture here.

      If a phone is on an EIP…from the standpoint of it being resold…it is no different than a subsidized phone where the contract term has not been completed. In both situations, basically, the phone has a “lien” on it. The ownership of that phone cannot be transferred without the lien holder (T-Mobile in this case), certifying that it has no further claim to ownership of the device.

      Saying that an IMEI is “clean”, when it is on an active EIP, is not just inconvienient…it’s outright misleading. It would be like the public records office not listing that bank had a lien on a property associated with a mortgage, giving the impression that no one beside the seller of the house had any claim to ownership during a sale of that house.

      If you bought a house, only to find out 6 months later that the bank of the seller is foreclosing on it for non-payment, thereby kicking you out…and leaving you still owning money to your bank for a mortgage…that this would be an acceptable course of events?

      T-Mobile would divulge no customer account information by simply responding to a request with, “device is not free of obligation to T-Mobile”. In that statement, they are only referencing the state of the device, not the customer…and only commenting on T-Mobile’s status regarding it, again, without mentioning anything about the customer.

      Now, why would T-Mobile not do this?

      There are probably quite a few reasons that this would happen but, in my opinion, the primary one is…T-Mobile does NOT want people reselling their own phones. What they want is for surrent T-Mobile subscribers to use the JUMP! program, where T-Mobile itself makes the money on the resell (as opposed to the customer)…and for a potential new T-Mobile subscriber, they want them to by their phone from T-Mobile directly, not from some third party.

      This is not to “protect” customer account information, this is to protect T-Mobile revenue flows. All other carriers, including T-Mobile before the switch to EIPs, divulge the ownership status of a phone upon request.

      On what basis do you say that, just because this is an EIP as opposed to a subsidy, somehow the rules just ccompletely changed?

      • volvoV70guy

        Subsidized phones really aren’t the same as EIP. Under contract with a subsidized phone, you own the phone outright, from the very beginning. Your bill won’t decrease after a time, because you never ‘pay the device off,’ as you do with EIP. The purpose of the subsidized phone is to lock you into the contract, for which you become fully liable if you stop paying (which can be far, far more than the price of a phone).

        • MaseW

          You don’t own your phone outright in the subsidized model, and I can prove it.

          Get a subsidized iPhone from one of the other carriers and then try to immediately unlock or sell it. You won’t be able to do it because that carrier still has a claim to ownership until you complete your contractual obligations. Just like with a phone purchased on EIP.

          If you “owned the phone outright” you could do whatever you wanted with it immediately.

          ETA: The only difference in the subsidy/non-subsidy model is that the actual cost of the hardware is not being hidden from you in a service contract. Both models require an approximately 2 year long contract, it’s just that one is for service (with merged equipment costs) and the other is for equipment only.

        • Jason

          You can sell right after you buy device with subsidies…. am I missing something?
          All you have to do is change phone line to a different device….
          ETF/contract is tied to the account not the phone…
          You might not be able to get your unlock code thru carrier but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to unlock it….
          People do it all the time and keep their old device and sell new device and pocket the sale money….

          problem with an iPhone is network compatibility….
          sprint normally won’t add esn’s
          Verizon and sprint block Sim from connecting to USA gsm carriers
          Att and T-Mobile use different bands for radios
          Depending on what iPhone edition some of above can be worked around…

        • Daniel Marchand

          I agree with MaseW… and the caveat is each carrier does it a bit differently, I don’t think AT&T blacklists a phone if you get a 2yr contract sell the device and decide to never pay your bill again they just come after you for payment, however I know Sprint (and pretty sure Verizon) blacklist phones for non-payment. I’ve had folks buy a used sprint phone off someone thinking they got a great deal only to be told by sprint you have to pay the outstanding $425 phone bill that was tied to that phone to be able to use this device again.

          Contractually it’s all the same you get a contract you have ETFs, you finance a phone you have finance payments…

          By that regard I could get a new phon from T-Mo today and sell it on ebay, if I pay my EIP payments over 24 months like I’m supposed to it’s the same principal as you renewing your contract and selling the new phone. Big difference is the EIP is split out from your service, vice integrated with the contract model.

        • Jason

          Personally I’ve never encountered a Verizon or sprint phone that was unattached to the line get blacklisted….
          I don’t even know how that would be possible…. As soon as you change your device, the old device previously active becomes dormant and unattached to any account….

          The only issue I know of with involving selling subsidized devices is you have to have it activate to receive a rebate if there was a rebate offer attached to the purchase….

          In your scenario the phone was still attached to the account when the account went delinquent…. If you replace the newly bought phone attached to the line to a different device, the device now attached to the line becomes the blacklisted phone after delinquency….
          Otherwise every device you activated on to said network would get blacklisted if your account goes into delinquency…..

        • MaseW

          This simply is not true.

          If you get a device from Verizon or Sprint (or ATT, for that matter), that is subsidized through you signing a new service contract, the obligation of two years on that device does not simply disappear because you deactivate it.

          That phone will show as “under contract” in the carrier’s system, until either the two years has elapsed, or you break your contract and pay the ETF.

          If what you were saying is true, people would just get the latest phones, pay the subsidized price, replace it on their account with a phone from eBay, and sell the new one for profit free and clear.

          They can’t do this, which is why it’s such a big deal to be able to check and see if an IMEI is “clean” before buying a used phone.

          The only thing that’s makes this even the least bit conceivable, is that GSM phones can be unlocked outside of needing the carrier to do so. Which if you look, is a violation of your contract…and the carrier’s right to do this was codified, even when that law was passed to force them to unlock user’s devices.

          They are only obligated to remove any subsidy limitations from a phone, if you have met the contractual obligations you agreed to when taking possession of the phone.

          You are stating that people can get their phone unlocked through 3rd party means, without also stating that in doing so before their contractual obligations are met, is a violation of their contract. The carrier would be well within their rights to charge them either the full off-contract price of the phone, or terminate their contract and bill them for all ETFs on all lines, if discovered. You violate on one line, you’ve violated on all lines.

          What your are saying is not only incorrect, it is irresponsible, and could end up costing people a lot of money.

        • Jason

          People do use their upgrade and then sell device and aquire another device all the time….
          Contract stays in place along with etf…
          IMEI checks for phones that have flags from insurance claims and non payment of bills…
          IDK what else to say but been there done that…..

          Anyone else here sell their device after using their upgrade have problems???
          I thought that was a common theme…

          Even on Craigslist you’ll see after a phone release, a whole bunch of postings from individual private sellers…. No way they all just bought the device for off contract price and decided to sell it half off…
          They bought it at subsidized price and then are selling it after activating a different phone on line….

        • thepanttherlady

          I have through Verizon.

        • Jason

          Thank you I thought I was going crazy or misunderstood what the two posters were stating….

        • Daniel Marchand

          I get the swap scenerio, and there is a difference in that regard since once Verizon allows you to swap your device it changes what is active on the account with T-Mo like you said it’s attached to the phone as well so if you swap and there is no means to transfer EIP ownership it’s like renting a house from a guy who doesn’t pay his mortgage – you get evicted even though you paid rent. (I haven’t dealt with CDMA phones for a few years now, but you used to have to call every time you switch phones, ask mother may I, and reprogram the device).
          The scenerio we were discussion is the most typical of someone deciding not to pay the bill, I may be wrong but if I elect to short my T-mobile phone bill, say it’s $100, and I only pay $80 because I don’t want to pay the EIP on line 2 I would assume T-Mobile would cut my entire account off until I pay in full right? I can’t just let 1 EIP go delinquent and keep everything else going? At any rate the whole discussion revolves around blacklisted EIPs for non-payment and most carriers do this, albiet you may be able to deliberately swap your new phone for your old one on Verizon so the new one is cleared before they cut you off, kind of gaming the system, just assuming from what was discussed never had Verizon.
          If accounts are in good standings it’s a non-issue, swap, sell, etc. all day long.
          Two things T-Mobile needs to do for customers: 1) accurately state if the phone is financed (mine shows its clear right now and I bought it in April with $0 down) 2) provide some way to do an EIP transfer for eligable parties (this would allow the phone swapping after purchase thing you highlighted with Verizon with no risk to swappers).

        • WOW

          Your still missing the main point that was being discussed….
          In Verizon and Sprint scenario once you buy your subsidized device, you own it…
          Your not scamming anything if you sell it, its they way the network is set up and the fact you own the device as soon as you buy it….

          In reality if you don’t have or want your mail in rebate, you don’t even need to activate the newly bought subsidized device to sell it…

          Verizon and Sprint will blacklist for non-payment but only to attached phone when account goes deliquent…

          MaseW and yourself are just making stuff up, using your opinions when the rules, procedures have already been setup….

          Subsidy is tied in contract and has nothing to do with the phone
          EIP is a financing agreement just like any other financing agreement in real life

          In TMobile case you don’t own device til paid in full….
          You can’t elect to make a partial payment on your eip and stay active….
          TMobile transfering of eip balance isn’t part of your eip agreement….
          If your renting your not financing anything…. If you want to move out, its your responsibility to find a credible replacement renter, not the landlord’s

          We can make up bullchit scenarios all day long but it’s not going to change anything especially if there is no relation of circumstances

          I agree that a system should be in place to see if there is a balance but disagree that TMo should shoulder the work….
          If a phone has eip balance on a TMo tool thats accurate, don’t buy until eip balance is paid by original financer…

          No company caters to the customer on a financing agreement because they have an agreement in place to be repaid with criteria they set up to reduce their chance of non payment….It’s not Tmobile responsibility to follow thru on a signed contract, it’s the person whi signed the contract….

          The down payment for eip is determined by original financer credit, the person taken over the eip could have a different credit class…. Makes too much work for TMo when it is the financer’s responsibility to adhere to what they agreed to….

        • Guest

          I’ll admit my knowledge is limited I’ve always been biased to GSM and never had nor considered a CDMA phone carrier… I did at one point sell Sprint and Alltel as an authorized agent and that is the extent of my dealings with them. I get they operate differently… but if phones and contracts are truely 2 totally seperate things why do they even bother blacklisting the phone attached when delinquent? You OWN the phone as soon as you buy it so why blacklist it?

          I only advocated allowing EIP transfers as a solution to the swapping scenerio. Personally I don’t care if they ever allow EIP transfers I keep phones for 1+yrs and I wouldn’t mind paying it off and getting $$ back selling it a couple weeks later.

          End effect for most all carriers is the same here is a verizon customer who sold someone an S3 and said F*** verizon I’m not paying them it plays out like someone selling a phone and not paying their EIP (contractually different sure, but the effect is THE SAME): http://www.s3forums.com/forum/galaxy-s3-help/5610-verizon-blacklisted-my-phone-due-prior-owner-non-paying-bill.html
          No matter what carrier, it goes back to this – phone gets blacklist due to: 1) non-payment 2) lost 3) stolen.
          If verizon only goes after the attached phone and not the one bought with subsidy that in affect allows people to game the system by buying some crap 5 year old flip phone with good ESN on ebay for $10 and putting it on their line before their service gets cut because they dont want to pay their $1200 phone bill – then said person can sell their brand new S5 for $500 on ebay… and toss their $10 now blacklisted flip phone in the trash.

        • Daniel Marchand

          Tell me this then if you OWN your phone as soon as it’s purchased why won’t networks let you unlock it until your contract term is up and for that matter why would Verizon or Sprint blacklist the phone you OWN that is attached to your account when it goes delinquent? Oh that’s right there is an agreement called a contract that must be fulfilled… so they can recoup their subsides. Contractually an EIP and a contract are apples and oranges, but net effect is the same – carriers will blacklist phones due to: 1) delinquency 2) lost 3) stolen.
          You can find situations online that play out just like the EIP deal, someone buys a good ESN phone, 3 months later Verizon cuts them off due to the original owners non-payment google it, it happens…
          What I meant by gaming the system is based on what you described I can open an account run up my bill, call verizon and have them swap my new S5 out with a 4 year old flip phone with good ESN I found on ebay, not pay my $1200 bill and I’ll end up with a blacklisted crap flip phone and an S5 I can sell on ebay with good ESN for $500. Not saying your right or wrong, but that is what I got out of your description on how Verizon operates.
          I’m by no means an expert at CDMA networks I have biased toward GSM providers… but I have sold Sprint and Alltel phones as an authorized dealer once upon a time.

        • Last Time LoL

          There wasn’t any laws requiring carriers to unlock your phone before the last couple of years ….

          They blacklist the phone to deter use on their network and so the party in deliquency can’t sell phone and forget debt owed….

          9 times of ten, if you bought a phone activated in on sprint or Verizon and 3 months later comes back bad esn it not from non payment but the seller put in a lost/stolen claim

          Maybe the 1/10 is because Verizon LTE devices have changed things a little due to sim cards being used for LTE from two years ago but very much relevant….

          Sorry guys I’m done proving your opinions on how things work as far as swapping devices, do your own research honestly google is very easy to use :/

        • Zurich

          I googled the 3 months after activation with Verizon and only came up with instances where it was insurance related….

          I tried to post a link but hasn’t cleared moderation…
          Basically Verizon LTE devices may or may not have changed because of the sim being used for lte….

          Been 3 to 4 years since i had a cdma phone and I have never owned a sprint/verizon lte device so when it comes to a lte device im not totally sure but process beforehand was just as i posted before above….

        • Jason

          And for the last part yes you can sell the tmobile device on eip and keep paying the eip payment….
          But you would also need to keep the monthly service active or pay off eip otherwise you will encounter problems…
          EIP is attached to device and service plan until eip is paid in full

        • MaseW

          The point is, if you actually owned the phone there would be no need for “workarounds”.

          And if you sell a phone before your contractual obligations are met, the person that buys it would not be able to get service on that phone with the same carrier, unless you actually broke your contract and paid the ETF…the IMEI would be flagged in their systems as still under contract. Just like you would be required to pay off your EIP before a T-Mobile phone could be used by someone else.

          In the case of Verizon and Sprint, they’re not activating the other’s phones on their network under any circumstances. And with T-Mobile and ATT, you couldn’t do it without the phone being unlocked.

          Again, we are only taking semantics here. The exact same limitations exist in both situations.

        • Jason

          There isn’t any imei flag with conditions you stated above…..
          I’ve done it multiple times….
          The majority of phone purchases on Craigslist are from devices just purchased activated and then unattached…

        • MaseW

          How do you know for sure under what circumstances the phone you bought was obtained? How do you know that they didn’t buy for the off-contract price? How do you know it wasn’t some kind of insurance/warranty scheme that ends up with a “cleaned” IMEI?

          All you know is what they’re telling you…and how else do you think the carrier tracks the status of a phone, if it is not through the IMEI?

          In addition, I didn’t say it was “blacklisted”, I said it was “tracked’. So what I’m telling you is that every carrier tracks the status of every
          phone they sell, that information is stored by the IMEI number of each phone. They know who bought it,
          under what circumstances, and if that person has met the contractual
          obligations that are associated with that device.

          They don’t “blacklist” a phone because you haven’t finished your contract. They will, however, refuse to activate it for another person that buys it from you, while the phone is still in the subsidy period.

          Now, you have either been extraordinarily lucky with your purchases…or, carrier is being very (uncharacteristically) relaxed about enforcement.

          However, don’t think for one second that the system does not exist, and that carriers don’t have access to this information…they do, and if you do a Google search about it, you will discover many people that found out the hard way exactly what the carriers know about these phones.

        • Jason

          I have bought and sold devices from upgrades with Sprint and Verizon….
          I have swapped new devices with seperate accounts, i have swapped with my brother on seperate accounts….
          It also isn’t just me it a good percentage of craiglist cell sales….
          You can activate any sprint phone that was unattached in good standing on any other sprint account in good standing…
          People sell their upgrades all the time without repercussions….
          Verizon also….
          Whatever phone that is active and attached to line when service is cut off because of non payment becomes unusable til payment is received….
          ETF fee still stays the same as agreed from purchase but IDK i thought this was common knowledge unless thi gs changed….
          I have been with TMo for 3/4 years but havn’t came across any new information stating differently for Sprint and Verizon …

        • thepanttherlady

          I did this as well when I had Verizon

        • MaseW

          Then that is benefit that Sprint provides/provided to it’s own customers. But saying, “You can activate any sprint phone that was unattached in good standing on any other sprint account in good standing”, is completely different than making the blanket statement that someone can just activate ANY phone, and not have to worry about anything. That’s simply not true.

          The first part of that statement is the key, “account in good standing”. That means you are both under contract, and already have a device subsidy embedded into your contract. The subsidy cost is the same regardless of which device you bought, and is spread out over two years…so what would Sprint care if you guys swapped between each other. They’re still getting the full subsidized costs, amortized over two years, from both of you.

          That still doesn’t mean that you “own your phone outright”. Basically, you are still renting, you just moved to a different apartment in the complex.

          The reason why is because if your rent is late (account not in good standing), your brother wouldn’t be able to activate it on his account. If you had paid full contract price for the phone, Sprint wouldn’t care if your account was in good standing because they’ve already recouped their subsidy, and they would happily activate the phone for your brother.

          If you actually owned the phone, your account status would be irrelevant for someone else to activate the phone, as long as it wasn’t reported stolen. So you don’t “own your phone outright”, until you complete your contract obligation.

        • Jason

          I’m sorry but you have no idea what your talking about….
          You could swap with someone out of contract also…
          If you buy device outright there is no subsidy…. Plan stays the same and your out of contract… The whole point of TMobile UnCarrier push of no contracts…
          Phone activated on line is attached to the account and will be the phone blacklisted once the line hits collections…
          Thats one of the differences between eip and subsidized phones….
          Unless there has been some kind of shift from that IDK what to say anymore…
          If what you two are saying is right then if you lose your phone on contract without insurance and with a subsidy, the carrier would want subsidy given back since device is gone….
          Device is owned at purchase and no carrier ever attempts to repossess device unless a bankruptcy judge finds value to in device to pay creditors

        • MaseW

          That’s what I said in my previous comment. If the device has already been paid for (through completing contract, or paying the full off-contract price), the carrier will have no problem activating it…as long as it’s not been reported stolen. That’s how it works in the subsidy model.

          I said that if your account was not in good standing, your brother couldn’t activate a phone you gave him, if it was still within the subsidy period. If it’s out of the subsidy period, there won’t be a problem.

          The carrier WILL actually get some of that subsidy back, because you would not get the same “promotional” price on the replacement phone, and you wouldn’t just pay the “deductible” price if you had insurance. The replacement cost would be more expensive than when you initially bought the phone, and you would still need to sign a new 2 year contract.

          Unless you wanted to pay full off-contract price, and not sign a new contract.

          So if you paid $199 for a $600 smartphone, and lost it 1 year into your contract (with no insurance), they’re not going to charge you $199 for another one and let you stay on the same contract that expires in 1 year. They’re going to charge you like $350-$400, and make you sign a new contract. You’d be paying back the subsidy (maybe just partially) on the previous one, while paying the full subsidy on the new one.

          Believe me, the carriers have figured this subsidy thing out. They’re not just sitting around selling thousands of $600 devices for $200, and losing $400 each time a subscriber turns around and immediately sells it.

          If it were as easy as you think it is, more people would be doing it, and it would be much bigger than some phones on craigslist. That’s a free $400 dollars for every transaction.

        • Jason

          There isn’t a subsidy period….
          As soon as you buy device for subsidy price with contract extension attached, you can swap to any phone that has a clear imei and sell device to anyone and they should have no problems activating phone….

        • Jason

          They aren’t going to offer you the subsidized price after selling because you are still in contract and already received the subsidy benefit….
          When contract is up or your line becomes eligible for upgrade (depends on carriers rules), the carrier will offer subsidy price….

        • MaseW

          That’s what I said.

          So they’re recouping some of the previous subsidy from you by charging you the higher price, but still making you sign a two year contract.

          This means that you will pay the same subsidy over the course of that NEW two year contract, but you will have paid more for the device initially…which equates to them recouping some of the previous subsidy from you.

        • Jason

          If you buy a phone unsubsidized at whatever carriers store there is no contract extension….
          Thats one of many of your opinions stated above that is flawed….

        • MaseW

          I’ve said over and over and over that if the full off-contract price is paid, there would NEVER be a problem getting it activated.

          What are you talking about? Quote one sentence, from any of my comments, where I said something to contradict that there would be no problem activating a phone that was bought at full price.

          i specifically said this: “Unless you wanted to pay full off-contract price, and not sign a new contract” in one of my comments.

          You are just trying to win an argument, not actually be correct.

        • Jason

          So they’re recouping some of the previous subsidy from you by charging you the higher price, but still making you sign a two year contract.

          RIGHT THERE…. ITS WRONG, HIGHER PRICE IS BECAUSE YOUR PAYING SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE…
          TWO YEAR CONTRACT STILL STAYS WITH DATE OF SUBSIDIZED DEVICE PURCHASE
          NO TWO YEAR CONTRACT WILL BE REQUIRED TO SIGN

        • MaseW

          IF YOU BUY ANOTHER SUBSIDIZED PHONE AND THEREFORE HAVE TO SIGN ANOTHER CONTRACT.

          I said that the subsidized price would be higher if yo are replacing a subsidized phone in the middle of a contract, that you didn’t have insurance on. But if you bought it full price, you wouldn’t have to sign another contract. They will give you the option.

          Good grief you are dense.

        • Here’s Johnny

          You have to pay full price if your in contract and buying a new device….
          There is no option of a subsidy until contract is up or until you eligible for an upgrade which is like 3 months til contract is up….
          You have no idea what your talking about…
          It doesn’t work the way you believe, let it go….
          I have did it, pantherlady has did it, people are doing it all the time….
          We use to have a phone trade/sell forum before swappa existed on xda where people would sell their upgrades all the time with said process i stated within the comment section….

        • Jenna Jamison

          Do both of us a favor and google “sell my phone upgrade”

          You don’t have to apologize for the dense comment I tried to tell you multiple times that you were wrong with no ill intent, it was seriously for accuracy sake and I could careless if I’m wrong or right…
          My biggest pet peave is misinformation and love to be corrected so I don’t spread misinformation

        • JASON

          IF A PAID IN FULL DEVICE IS ACTIVE ON AN ACCOUNT WITH DELIQUENCY POSTED, PHONE WILL BE BLOCKED FROM USAGE ON ANOTHER PERSONS ACCOUNT….
          CAPS BETTER?

        • MaseW

          This makes no sense. Nowhere have I talked about what would happen on the account of the person that paid full price on their phone, and their account goes delinquent.

          I said that a subsidized phone, if sold during the subsidy period, could NOT be activated on a BUYER’s account, if the seller’s account is delinquent.

          None of that applies to a device that was purchased at full price.

          The CAPS just make you sound like a RAVING idiot, instead of just a regular one.

        • I’m the one who’s dense?

          I can buy a device at subsidized price, activate it, and then deactivate the phone by reactivating my old phone on the line and sell the the newly bought subsidized device….

          If my account goes deliquent the buyer of my new phone i just got subsidized will activate just fine for anyone with an active account….
          My old phone activated on my line will become blacklisted if I become deliquent but the subsidized phone will have clear imei and won’t be blocked…

          Are you agreeing to that?
          That is how Verizon and Sprints network is ran….

        • MaseW

          OK we’re talking in circles.

          You’re not getting what I’m saying…of course that can happen if the IMEI is “clear”. What I’m saying is, what “clears” that IMEI?

          If it’s between two Sprint customers, and the device is still under its subsidy period…the thing that “clears” the IMEI, is “both accounts being in good standing” at the time of transfer. If the “sellers” account isn’t, the phone can’t be transferred, because the IMEI isn’t “clear”.

          I’ll admit, I have no idea what happens if the sellers account goes delinquent, while the sold phone is still under its subsidy period, but has already been transferred…that’s what is being complain about with how T-Mobile is handling this. TMo would shut the phone off. Maybe Sprint doesn’t.

          If the device was purchase on subsidy, and is out of it’s subsidy period (2 year contract completed),
          or the phone was bought at full price (no subsidy period in the first
          place), the IMEI will also be “clear”, and account standing will have no
          bearing on whether or not the device could be activated by someone
          else.

          So, the thing that “clears” the IMEI for transfer, is that it is a subsidized phone, still in the subsidy period, but the “sellers” account is in good standing. Or, it is a subsidized phone where the “seller” has met his contractual obligations (2 years have passed since obtaining the phone) or, the phone was initially purchased for the full, off-contract price.

          If a phone does not meet one of those three tests, and it is sold, the buyer will NOT be able to activate that phone, unless they pay for whatever delinquency is in place for the account it came from.

          The IMEI check that a reseller would run before purchasing that phone, would report that the IMEI wasn’t “clean”.

          Does that not make sense to you?

        • Jason

          It doesn’t work that way…..
          IMEI is clear to begin with and the only time an imei gets flagged is for insurance claims and deliquent bills….
          there is NO subsidy period, subsidy is tied to contract not phone….
          imei will be flagged if account goes deliquent and the phone attached and active on the line becomes flagged…

          Nothing happens to the subsidized device if device isn’t active on the line that became deliquent…. the device could be sold, could be sitting in a dresser drawer, doesnt matter….
          Aslong as the phone isnt active on the deliquent account at the time of delinquency, you are free to do whatever with the phone…

          In retrospect I believe If you buy a device full price activate and the attached account becomes deliquent the respective network can flag the device and make it unuseable for the respective network it has been flagged from…. I haven’t encountered that ever but that is how it worked in the past and correct me please if there has been changes to their imei policy, a link or anything would be perfect evidence I would definitely apoligize….

          I’m sorry you aren’t right and all i am doing is stating the policy that has been in place for aslong as i remember and how they implement it

        • bob90210

          For the purpose of this discussion, EIP and subsidies phones are the same thing since the carrier in both cases has a claim on the phone if the remaining balance or ETF is not paid.

          T-Mobile should absolutely let you know if can blacklist the phone you want to buy.

        • Jason

          EIP has a claim on the phone but subsidized phones only have a claim if the subsidized phone is active when account goes delinquent…
          ETF may help recover subsidy and be charged according to type of device subsidized but the etf is tied into the service plan and not necessarily the device itself….
          ETF is set upon what device is subsidized at purchase but if subsidized device is replaced by another device, the device is clear and free to activated on any other account from the same respective carrier…
          Only times a blacklist is issued :when device is claimed to be an insurance loss and when subscriber becomes deliquent the current device attached to account becomes flagged

  • JaswinderSinghJammu

    People are greedy and desperate for $$$. I sold my S4 when Nexus 5 came out. Went to the store and paid my EIP of $240 right then and the other person was able to activate in store. What goes around comes around is all I am going to say. Sick off these thugs and thieves burning people.

  • JaswinderSinghJammu

    I guess people would have to ask for proof of device is paid off before you buy it from someone. If they can’t prove that the device is paid off, I wouldn’t buy the device.

  • jeremyvbk

    It is easy you just blacklist the current phone on the persons account. If you finance an s5, trade/sell it for the m8, and don’t pay anymore, you simply just block that phone currently on the device. There are better ways of going about this.

    • Moses JC

      The problem is most people are fraudulently opening accounts sell the phones & don’t use T-Mobile at all.

      So you can’t punish a person who either doesn’t care about their credit or used someone else’s … The imei check needs to be redone.. It really just needs to show if the phone is being financed.

      • jeremyvbk

        People do that more with Sprint/Verizon phones from what I see, and are 95% IPhone. People buy them on contract unlock them, sell the phone for several grand overseas, and easily make money. It happens on all carriers. ATT has just as much of the same problem as Tmobile does. It is not just a Tmobile issue. This is where the “uncarrier no contract” pay for your phone instead of contracts hurt consumers more, it hurts those who legitimately buy phones used but get screwed. On a contract the only person getting screwed is the persons credit. This way Tmobile gets left with the bill of the device plus an unhappy customer, who will most likely go to another carrier.

  • fishermanners

    Wonder if the reseller will still buy TMO Moto X phones… T-Mobile won’t sell those directly at all, so there won’t be any Moto X’s on a payment plan with the carrier.

    • Knowsall

      Yes. You can buy that phone from tmobile on EIP

      • Guest

        No, Moto X is not available on EIP as it’s not available online, stores, telesales, etc..only via Motorola site

    • Justin Merithew

      My guess is that they would take it, because it’s advertised more as a GSM unlocked phone that can be used on Tmo than a Tmo branded device.

  • nerdlust

    I’m reading this blog on a great condition 2nd hand note 2 that I bought last year. I agree tmobile needs to protect itself but also needs to protect its customers as well.

  • Rick Rudge

    Interesting. I got my iPhone 4 as a hand-me-down from my Son. He was going to upgrade to the iPhone 5 on Verizon and closed the account with AT&T. AT&T unlocked my phone and I took it to a T-Mobile store for their mini-SIM card and I was using my same phone number. I didn’t realize that T-Mobile wasn’t set up the same way.

    • schweddyballs

      Tmobile is set up the same way, also because they allow financing, some people don’t pay their bills and the financed phone is then blocked because they didn’t pay for it all. The reason ATT unlocked your phone is because you either paid for it in full, or bought it on a contract which is now up.

  • anduha90

    checkesnfree.com tells you weather it is or not. not sure why they havent used them

  • steveb944

    This sucks. It’s a good thing I’m an early adopter and only buy new! They need to change this tho.

  • Niteryder

    Go use the tool on swappa.com – http://swappa.com/esn. It tells you if the device has an EIP on it.

  • AK

    I have been looking at used phones lately and now, if I go that route, I think I will stick to factory unlocked models or other carrier models rather than T-Mobile versions. That way you know T-Mobile never sold the phone and therefore not subject to the EIP hold (the Nexus 5 may be the only exception). Of course you still need to make sure the phone has not been reported as lost or stolen.

    By the way, used T-Mobile iPhones seem to be the most expensive with used Sprint iPhones being the cheapest (significant price gap). This clearly shows where the demand is. Now with UpgradeSwap no longer buying T-Mobile phones it may actually lead to higher prices, especially if others follow, as sellers would turn to selling directly.

    • Neoprimal

      Personally, I only buy new. But I can say that if it were not within my means, I would buy only new unlocked at this point as well.

      There are some really good new unlocked phones out there, starting with the Moto G and Nexus line and ending with Blu Life phones which are surprisingly good. The only reason I’d stick to Moto and Nexus is Android updates, otherwise the Blu Life series are very good and all for under $400.

      There’s 0 reason to buy used in 2014 unless you wanted to get a Note 3 or SGS 5 for under $500 and I would never, ever do that.

      • AK

        With the Nexus, you can’t go wrong at those price points. The Moto X is also a good deal starting at $350. The One Plus One will be a good deal, starting at $300, if it is ever released.

        If I were to spend over $500 on a phone, I would only buy an iPhone as they seem to retain at least half their value after 2 years as long the phone is in decent shape. I took a chance and just bought a used Xperia Z in like new condition for $220.

        By the way, T-Mobile sells refurbished Note 3′s online for $550. They have refurbished Note 2′s for $300, tempting but I think I got a better deal with the Z.

        • netplayground

          I can’t count the number of phones I’ve had over the years, but the biggest difference in dependability, sound and video quality, and responsiveness came when I upgraded to the Note 3 on T-Mobile (from S3).

          Best of all, I signed up for the version 1 “Jump” program. I’m looking forward to my first jump to the Note 4 in late September.

          There is something to be said for paying a little extra so one can read comments like the ones for this article only out of curiosity instead of necessity and survival to avoid picking a cellphone that is really a landmine .. waiting to really **ck up your world.

          I’m not sure if Jump version 2 is as customer-friendly as Jump 1′s terms, but you can upgrade and not have to take on the 24/7 stress that your choice might suddenly become the most expensive little brick of uselessness you have ever owned.

    • D.

      Sprint iPhones are cheap because it is not possible to unlock them for use on a GSM network. T-mobile and AT&T phones will always have the highest value because they are GSM which is used around the world

  • Mike

    T-Mobile is double dipping let’s say I bought a cell phone and stopped paying and T-Mobile blocks the phone and sends me to collection and I decide to pay it since it will show up on your credit report does my phone get unblocked because I heard once it’s block it’s no way of getting it unblocked.

    • Marcelo Vera

      If your account goes to collections and you pay it off, the collections agency informs T-Mobile so that Tmo can update your account as paid/ write off status cleared and if it is the whole amount, they will remove the phone from the blacklist. Outside of that, you can remove blacklisting by checking Craigslist ads for 3rd party vendors to help with removing the blacklisted IMEI

      • Tony Yayo

        yeah. good luck with that. have fun trying to clear that up with TMO once it’s gone to collections, TMO has nothing to do with it and has no responsibility to unlock your phone. as far as I’m concerned, if it goes to collections, and you are responsible for it, even before and after that happens, it should never be blocked at all.

      • Jadon

        typically the 3rd party vendors will swap imei with same devices that aren’t blocked or have personal access to the networks database to change status of blacklisting….

        As far as TMobile allowing a blacklisted device to be relisted after payment, I have yet to read or hear about….
        But most my friends pay their eip…. lol

    • Neoprimal

      How is that double dipping?

      Pay your EIP, that’s all there is to it. Gone are the days when you could successfully shaft the carrier by leaving the service and not paying off the phone and essentially getting away with it.

      It’s one thing to quit a service because the service is bad. You’re free to leave TMo whenever you want – but pay off the phone you agreed to buy.

  • fencepost

    Interestingly, the T-Mobile page referenced doesn’t recognize my phone’s IMEI at all – perhaps because it predates the EIP program (I paid in full for it at the time of purchase and got a lower rate for effectively bringing my own phone).

    • Jason

      It recognized mine and bought the phone in March….
      Pretty sweet if this works 100%…

  • yaby1979

    Are you guys checking your eip balances. I just found that the $102.56 per month of my bill that is supposed to go to my eip balance hasn’t posted since April 22. I made my May 20th and June 20th payments but my eip balance hasn’t changed at all!! Where’s my $205.12 reduction in my eip balance. Customer service says they’ll check into this and fix it in 72 hours. We’ll see……

  • factchecker

    Used the Updated link w/ a financed phone: only tells you if it is still “good” in their system, doesn’t say anything about EIP. Wrong fact

    • Jason

      mine showed financed

  • wazmo

    UpgradeSwap is listed as a malware vector, FYI….

  • Tony Yayo

    status subject to change at any time. this tells you nothing

  • Tony Yayo

    I don’t understand why these phones get blocked at all. Even if it goes unpaid, that account goes to collections, you are in essence, still on the hook for that money, whether you pay it now or 2 years from now, unless you were to file bankruptcy. Tmobile gets paid from the collection agency when they sell them the debt and the rest they write off anyway. So if Tmobile is still getting paid for the phone, how do they have the right to block it in the first place? Just because it’s not the original purchaser paying them, they still get their money so where is the problem? The only thing that should be blocked is the original purchasers from financing another phone with ANY company at all.

    If you overdraft a banking account and don’t pay, what happens? You can’t open another account with another bank until they are paid off. If you get a cable box, and then don’t pay the bill and don’t return the box, your account is charged, goes to collections, and until it’s paid, you can’t get cable from the same company again. Why is this situation any different?

    This is merely another ploy and BS reason for these companies to force you to buy another phone from them no matter how good YOUR standing is with them in the first place.

    Am I the only one that sees this and doesn’t understand it because no one ever brings this argument up when talking about IMEI blocking? Why is it the IMEI being blocked when it should be the account holder of the device?

    • missinginput

      When you send something to collections you get a small portion of the cash not the entire amount.
      If you bought a car someone was financing and the seller never pays off the bank for the title would it be wrong for the bank to try to repossess the car?

      • Tony Yayo

        I didn’t know you could buy a financed car from someone without that lien being paid off first. Unless you know something I don’t. Doesn’t the title list any liens on the vehicle?

        • missinginput

          You can’t, just like you can’t buy a phone with a lien/eip. You can think you can but if that lien is not kept current and eventually paid off in full the lien holder will repo it. In this case rather than get the physical device they just block it from working on their network.

          When you buy a fraudulent phone the only thing you are guilty of is not performing due diligence in checking the origins of the device but that doesn’t mean you are entitled to use it.

        • Tony Yayo

          Exactly my point, TMO doesn’t give you ANY way of knowing whether money is owed on the device or not. The IMEI check should say $XXX amount of money owed on the device, same as you should be able to find out the amount of money owed on a vehicle before purchasing it. This isn’t the case with TMO, they just say, yeah, it’s ok, right now, but subject to change in the future. This way, you can verify what is owed and if it’s a matter of a few dollars, making sure the previous owner pays it off before purchasing it, or giving them the first 50 bucks or whatever is owed first before giving them the rest. Sure you can get screwed for some money but better than being out all of it. I’m sure the amount owed on many of these devices is minimal but we have no way of knowing in the first place, or being allowed to take care of the balance ourselves. I’d be pissed if I spent $300 on a used phone only for it to be blocked because the previous owner owed 1 months payment on the device when I’d have no problem ponying up the extra $25.

        • 50 Cent

          I wouldn’t give anyone any money for a phone if the device showed financing still owed….
          If I stood right next to them at a TMobile store while rep pulled up account, gave a receipt showing matching imei as paid and the seller activated a different phone maybe but I’d rather a cellphone sale be more of a less up close and personal deal…. lol

        • Neoprimal

          “This device is being financed and has an outstanding balance that must be paid or it may not be able to be used on the T-Mobile network.”

          What more would you need to know?

        • Tony Yayo

          Mine says it can be used but still says status is subject to change at any time. Doesn’t say it’s being financed, but doesn’t say I’m 100% in the clear either.

        • Jason

          You can get sold a car with a lein but when you go to have the title transferred it will be rejected…. Just as TMobile

        • Tony Yayo

          At least when you buy a car you know who you’re buying it from, not just someone off the internet, and can go back to recoup your money.

        • Saddam

          Ummm not exactly…. Car sales have higher values and if your buying private party you could easily get burned also…

          Cars sales have fraudulent instances happen too…. Criminal charges occur when fraud happens and financed phones typically don’t….

          I don’t meet anyone at my house for sale of anything and would rather meet in a public open spot for any sale of anything….

        • Mike

          if you buy a car with a lien and give a check to the person driving the car instead of the bank who has the lien on the car your stupid as hell. If your buying a car with a lien you either write the check out to the bank or get financed through the bank to take over the car loan.

      • Jason

        Apple’s and oranges comparison….
        On financed autos, the car is collateral that can be repossessed…. Secured debt

        With Cell phone’s the device could be repossessed but TMo etc would rather list as a unsecured line of credit and collect debt in full then repossess and resell because most of the time there wouldn’t be a significant return….. unsecured debt

        • missinginput

          I’ll give you that but it still comes down are you entitled to use fraudulent phones on T-Mobiles network..

          These sites are victims of fraud as much as anyone else and they should be pointed the finger at the perpetrator not the company

        • Tony Yayo

          Problem is… TMO is still not giving definite answers on whether these phones are clear or not. The other companies answers are black and white, while tmo’s are waffley at best.

    • Jason

      TMobile doesn’t get full amount when its written off or sold to collections…
      Ex-Customer could sell phone and be the only party to profit from device besides manufacturer….

      Bank over drafting is nowhere near the same but if you keep using checks while the account is in bad standing you can be criminally charged…

      Cables companies neither because you are leasing the cable companies device…..
      One similaratity exist though in essence that the Cable companies hardware won’t work until returned so you can’t sell hardware to a current customer because it will be blacklisted….

      The easy solution is to allow customers to check if device is being financed and a balance is still owed, plain and simple…

      • Tony Yayo

        But the writer of the checks is still the one responsible, correct? Not the person who cashed it. With the cable company, you still can’t get service from the same company without paying off that first box. Trust me, I owe comcast for $600 box from years ago, part of the reason I don’t have comcast now.

        • Jason

          The person who receive’s the bad check most likely won’t get payment and/or get notice that the money has failed to deposit….

          My point was that cable box you owe Comcast can’t be used by another customer either…. Comcast blacklist any device leased when delinquency occurs….

          Comcast goes even further because even after you pay off the $600 bill off, the cable equipment is blacklisted until they receive property back….

      • jeffroks

        That’s correct. You can learn if the phone is free of encumbrances with T-Mo if you have the ESN or IMEI number. Call T-Mo support, tell them you want to check if the phone is free to unlock. If their is any money owed on the phone, they will then tell you. The hard part would be that it can be difficult to impossible to get the IMEI number before you purchase the phone, unless you are with the buyer and have the phone in hand.

    • Neoprimal

      I think it’s perfectly fair.

      In a world where an item that is smaller and more expensive than some computers exist, yes, this absolutely needs to be in place.

      Back just a few years ago, you turn your back and your $800 phone is stolen and the thief either gets to use your phone or sell it for $400 – either way, they profit from your very expensive loss.

      Now you report your phone stolen ASAP and the IMEI is blocked almost instantly. 1. phones will get stolen less and less over time because they know the IMEI will be blocked quickly and 2. there’ll be less reason to steal phones because people who were interested in getting these “deals” will know that it isn’t going to work out.

      Blocking account holders is draconian in nature. There are many scenarios in which an emotionally/etc. spurned customer will want to have nothing to do with a service. In anger, they might want to cut their ties with said service instantly. They may or may not have the funds to continue paying for 2 contracts so they may choose to let the “evil” company default into credit/collections. I’m not saying it’s right but it is what it is. This is very, very different from someone stealing a phone and re-selling it. For one, let’s say the customer has paid the phone off but is still on a contract with the carrier. Then the carrier would have it in their power (under your rules) to get this account holder blocked with/from other companies. This is now gone in a pretty ridiculous direction.

      So, lets say your carrier pulls 2 towers out of 3 total in your backwoods lil’ town and now you get next to no service. You’ve been with them for a year, paid your phone off but have 2 years left on your contract. Do you, pay your $350 ETF and go the other way or give them the middle finger and find another carrier and let the debt end up wherever it may go, either in a $100 settlement offer or, whatever.

      I don’t really see blocking IMEIs as a ploy, I mean there are legitimate examples of other products and services which would see the item be blocked from use in some way, shape or form if considered not paid in full or stolen. I for one also would feel better knowing that my phone is not able to be used if it is stolen. I work hard for my money, I’m a good person, I give when I can – I’d really rather not have someone just take my $400 device and be able to use or sell it.

    • D.

      To answer you questio as to why T-Mobile blocks IMEIs, from a business standpoint, it’s to mainly deter from fraud.

  • Neoprimal

    I just read this on BGR first and I call shenanigans. It sounds like someone at UpgSwap is pissed at TMo and decided to go on a PR rampage for revenge purposes.

    Here’s the thing:

    “This device is being financed and has an outstanding balance that must be paid or it may not be able to be used on the T-Mobile network.”

    This is the message you get when an IMEI is being financed, period.

    So even if someone is in the clear and paying their phone off – this is the message that someone who checks it would get using the online checker from T-Mo. So, let’s say Buyer A buys the phone today from T-Mo and changes their mind in just outside of the exchange/refund period. If UpgradeSwap knew about the tool online, they could use it and not buy that person’s phone because, duh – this is the message they’d get pretty outright. The absolutely only way that the tool would clear the IMEI is if Buyer A either paid the phone off in full.

    Here’s what I think happened. UpgradeSwap bought some phones from T-Mo customers and didn’t actually know of any way to check the IMEI so was therefore dependent on what the customers told them. They likely called T-Mo who would not give them the information on the customers IMEI (seeing as how they aren’t the ones financing the phone) and thusly ended up getting burned.

    I can’t really think of any scenario in which, if I were purchasing a used T-Mo phone I could possibly go wrong with the online tool. In fact, I helped a friend purchase a used phone quite a while back and all was well.

    • Daniel Marchand

      I think the update 2 from UpgradeSwap above is accurate, I checked my phone and was told “Congratulations! Your device is ready for use. Select one of the SIM cards on the previous page to get started.”. I bought it in April and haven’t made one EIP payment to date. Maybe the status doesn’t update correctly until I’m in repayment? Maybe mine slipped through the crack somehow? No clue… hopefully with the simplified billing, no proration and starting EIP payments on month 1 it may fix this.

      • Tony Yayo

        Mine says the same thing. I bought mine from swappa months ago. You’re saying you are on EIP and my phone is supposedly paid for so… still no solid answers here.

        • jeffroks

          I have a definitive answer from experience. Please read my post 3 posts prior.

    • jeffroks

      Any ESN check on a T-Mo phone only means the seller, if they still owe on the phone, is current on their payments (unless the phone is unlocked, as they must be paid off before T-Mo will unlock it). The seller can default at any time, at which point the unhappy buyer may find their phone is suddenly BLACKLISTED. I know, because it happened to me on Craigslist, eBay and Swappa. It’s the same with any reseller.

  • http://twitter.com/tabascotx Mike Roberson

    Yeah I got screwed. Bought a Nokia 810 on Ebay,seller said is was clear. T-Mobile says its blocked. Ebay wont back me up because the seller said there is no refunds,even though its “not as described” and the listing was wrong.

    • HeatFan786

      You can try the small claims court system. It’s definitely not worth it in most cases, and you’re probably SOL. You can also talk to Paypal and your bank too. Suing in small claims court is not worth it since you probably cannot get court fees, attorney fees, damages, and a remedy refunding you the money in a settlement. Your best bet is to reason with T-Mobile, but they did something similar to me. They sent me a warranty replacement for the HTC One. HTC repaired it twiced and still had issues. I went to go to AT&T to get it and thought it was unlocked. HTC relocked it and T-Mobile refused to give me an unlock code to leave since the IMEI was an unknown #. So I managed to sell it to the guy after several unlock codes sites failed to help. One messaged me after I sold it w/ a code, and I lost $. I had to get another phone.

    • AK

      Using T-Mobile’s IMEI Status Check tool, I just checked my Lumia 810 that I bought on eBay and have been using on T-Mobile for about a year. It says it is blocked even though it is clearly not being blocked.

      Update: I checked before using the IMEI number displayed under Settings. I saw that the last digit was different on my T-Mobile account and I checked that number too and it also said it was blocked. I then took the battery out to see which one was correct. The one displayed on the phone was correct. I placed the battery back in and started the phone and it did not connect. It said No Service. I chatted online with customer service and they said it was blocked. I have been using it for a year! So then I asked if they could check the 2nd line on the account. They said it was good for now but could not confirm there are no payment obligations on it that could become an issue in the future. Absolutely ridiculous!

  • http://profiles.google.com/gallimichael Michael G. Galli

    This is an utter crock of shit. Screw these guys spreading lies and FUD.

  • Fernando Vallejo Jr

    There is a loop hole in the system and low life scum are taking advantage. This is a mess that no one wants to take responsibility. Whatever happens between the buyer and seller. It’s going to be put on the these third-party companies and carriers! T-mobile, in a way, is monopolizing handset device game by taking no action done to prevent this from happening. When the device is bought it is registered to that customer, paid in full or not, the customer can still put in a claim. Ridiculous!

  • Fernando Vallejo Jr

    There is a loop hole in the system and low life scum are taking advantage. This is a mess that no one wants to take responsibility. Whatever happens between the buyer and seller. It’s going to be put on the these third-party companies and carriers! T-mobile, in a way, is monopolizing handset device game by taking no action done to prevent this from happening. When the device is bought it is registered to that customer, paid in full or not, the customer can still put in a claim. Ridiculous!

    • Mike

      Your right I met a guy in the store and we swapped phones and bam 2 1/2 weeks later my phone is blocked even tho we met in a cooperate store and T-Mobile refused to do anything. I had a similar thing happen with Sprint we meet in store the rep verify our accounts and we swapped and he tried to make a claim and my phone was blocked I simply went back to the same store and the rep remembered me and she called Sprint and since I swapped in store they unlocked it and credited me $50 on my account.