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Thread: How to tell if a used phone is financed on all 4 major carriers

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    How to tell if a used phone is financed on all 4 major carriers

    Verizon Devices

    Get a trade-in appraisal through Verizon - you will get a message that the device is not eligible for trade-in if it is still being financed through Verizon:

    http://www.verizonwireless.com/device-recycle/



    Sprint Devices

    Use Ting's device check - it will fail if the device is still being financed through Sprint:

    https://ting.com/byod



    TMobile Devices

    http://www.t-mobile.com/verifyIMEI.aspx



    AT&T Devices

    https://www.att.com/deviceunlock/#/

    Enter "No" when asked if you are an AT&T customer. Then input the IMEI and you will get the message below if the device is not paid off yet:

    "This device isn’t eligible to be unlocked now because all of the installment payments have not been paid."

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    Quote Originally Posted by nostaldia View Post
    I haven't verified this link personally but someone on another thread said it will tell you if a device is being financed through TMobile. If someone with a financed device can confirm that would be great.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nostaldia View Post
    I haven't verified this link personally but someone on another thread said it will tell you if a device is being financed through TMobile. If someone with a financed device can confirm that would be great.
    Yes it does. But there is one exception. If someone finances a phone on T-Mobile but DOES NOT ACTIVATE it, then the phone will not show up in that database right away until the phone is activated. So if thy go into the store, finance the phone but don't open the box and physically activate the device, it doesn't show up in the database immediately. In theory they could sell it right away and it would show up as able to be activated but not financed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cellphone_guru View Post
    Yes it does. But there is one exception. If someone finances a phone on T-Mobile but DOES NOT ACTIVATE it, then the phone will not show up in that database right away until the phone is activated. So if thy go into the store, finance the phone but don't open the box and physically activate the device, it doesn't show up in the database immediately. In theory they could sell it right away and it would show up as able to be activated but not financed.
    Thank you for that information. If you call TMobile with the IMEI will they tell you if it is financed even if it has not yet been activated?

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    Quote Originally Posted by nostaldia View Post
    Thank you for that information. If you call TMobile with the IMEI will they tell you if it is financed even if it has not yet been activated?
    If you are not the account owner, they will not be able to run such a search if you call.
    Don't make me turn this car around.....

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    Veriztd is correct. Due to privacy issues, they won't release any identifiable information without either the account holders last four of their SSN/EIN or the account pin. The agents won't even have access to the information without one of those two details.

    At least you can look on the site and get the generalized information, just not any specifics.

    If people are worried about buying a phone, use a site like Swappa. That site guarantees the sale and since the seller is paying quite a bit of money ($10 to Swappa, $10 to eBay, plus shipping charges $15 on average), the chances of getting a bad phone are minimized.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cellphone_guru View Post
    If people are worried about buying a phone, use a site like Swappa. That site guarantees the sale
    Swappa doesn't guarantee the sale, you have to file a paypal dispute and/or a charge back to your credit card but that is fine because paypal always sides with the buyer on things like that and so does your cc company. So it is no different than buying from ebay using paypal.

    Quote Originally Posted by cellphone_guru View Post
    and since the seller is paying quite a bit of money ($10 to Swappa, $10 to eBay, plus shipping charges $15 on average),
    With swappa you pay $10 swappa listing fee and 2.9% + $0.30 paypal fees. With ebay you pay 10% of the sale + shipping cost and then paypal fees are 2.9% + $0.30. Shipping USPS priority mail usually runs me about $10 for a phone/charger, but if it is over $200 and you want the paypal seller protection, you need to pay for signature service, which is another $3 or free if you insured the package for over $500.

    Quote Originally Posted by cellphone_guru View Post
    the chances of getting a bad phone are minimized.
    You have 60 days to dispute with your credit card and 6 mos to file a paypal dispute. But if the seller stops paying on a financed phone later than 6 months and the phone gets blacklisted, you are out of luck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nostaldia View Post
    Swappa doesn't guarantee the sale, you have to file a paypal dispute and/or a charge back to your credit card but that is fine because paypal always sides with the buyer on things like that and so does your cc company. So it is no different than buying from ebay using paypal.

    With swappa you pay $10 swappa listing fee and 2.9% + $0.30 paypal fees. With ebay you pay 10% of the sale + shipping cost and then paypal fees are 2.9% + $0.30. Shipping USPS priority mail usually runs me about $10 for a phone/charger, but if it is over $200 and you want the paypal seller protection, you need to pay for signature service, which is another $3 or free if you insured the package for over $500.

    You have 60 days to dispute with your credit card and 6 mos to file a paypal dispute. But if the seller stops paying on a financed phone later than 6 months and the phone gets blacklisted, you are out of luck.
    I recently just sold a phone on Swappa. Swappa was paid $10 for its fee. Paypal charges were $10. And shipping from D.C. to CA was $15. So it cost me $35 to sell a $350 phone. That's expensive and one of the reasons that sellers may shy away from accepting lower prices on Swappa. It's quite expensive to sell on Swappa so it is less likely that any seller would risk getting a chargeback and eat the loss of the phone plus all those fees (non-refundable of course). So from a buyers perspective, sites like Swappa are less of a risk for the phone being on an EIP.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cellphone_guru View Post
    I recently just sold a phone on Swappa. Swappa was paid $10 for its fee.
    Yes, swappa charges a flat $10 per device but ebay charges 10% of the final value, which is sale price + shipping fees if you didn't offer free shipping.

    Quote Originally Posted by cellphone_guru View Post
    Paypal charges were $10.
    Paypal charges are a percentage and swappa has no way to change that. The swappa $10 fee is deducted and then your paypal fees are calculated on the sale price AFTER the $10 swappa fee is deducted. It is 2.9% + $0.30 like I said above. It is not a flat $10. If you sold a phone for $350 on swappa, you were charged 2.9% of $340 + $0.30 so $10.16. But if the phone sold for higher, you would have been charged even more.

    And that percentage is if your buyer pays in USD. Some of the buyers are international residents who use reshippers and they can pay in other currency although it shows up in USD in the seller's paypal account if you are a US resident. The percentage varies based on the currency used to pay, but the most I have been charged is 3.9% + $0.30.

    This is how paypal works - swappa can't change that. Paypal is a percentage ALWAYS; never a flat fee.


    Quote Originally Posted by cellphone_guru View Post
    And shipping from D.C. to CA was $15.
    Yes, it depends on the distance but the USPS flat rate medium boxes are $13.45 and they fit an iPhone box and lots of padding in quite well. But when the distance is small, you are better off not using the flat rate boxes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cellphone_guru View Post
    It's quite expensive to sell on Swappa so it is less likely that any seller would risk getting a chargeback and eat the loss of the phone plus all those fees (non-refundable of course). So from a buyers perspective, sites like Swappa are less of a risk for the phone being on an EIP.
    ebay is more expensive because their listing fees are 10%. So on a $350 phone, if you sold it on ebay you would pay $35 ebay fees, 2.9% + $0.30 paypal fees and then shipping on top of that. So $25 more than what you paid to sell on swappa.

    Lots of people sell Verizon DPP phones on swappa - swappa's IMEI checker doesn't check for that for Verizon phones. ebay doesn't even do an IMEI check.

    If someone is planning on not paying off a device, they don't really care if they are charged $35 to sell and ship it because they make $350 - $35 = $315 and didn't have to pay off the device. IMO, people should look for established sellers with good feedback.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cellphone_guru View Post
    Veriztd is correct. Due to privacy issues, they won't release any identifiable information without either the account holders last four of their SSN/EIN or the account pin. The agents won't even have access to the information without one of those two details.

    At least you can look on the site and get the generalized information, just not any specifics.

    If people are worried about buying a phone, use a site like Swappa. That site guarantees the sale and since the seller is paying quite a bit of money ($10 to Swappa, $10 to eBay, plus shipping charges $15 on average), the chances of getting a bad phone are minimized.
    I recently purchased a Swappa phone for the first time and I can tell you any buyer risk minimization is just that... minimal.
    Swappa is just a mediator with no authority other than shaming and removing a seller/buyer.
    The phone WAS financed through AT&T but not (as of yet) listed as stolen...Swappa ONLY does a blacklist check and they tell seller not to reveal ESN# to buyers to check.
    Now that I have the phone, that according to their rules, should have never been sold if I want to return it they are recommending the seller force me to pay return shipping costs (around $15 insured) since they say my issue is not that the device maybe technically stolen from the carrier - but that I don't feel the condition is the same as listed.
    Since I am an AT&T customer I am not bent on unlocking it at the moment, but more so my concern is if AT&T decides to ban the phone from the network.
    I don't believe it can be ever listed as stolen by AT&T. Technically it was the original purchaser's property and they owe for the original purchase agreement to AT&T. I suppose they could get a court order to repossess the phone, but really that's craziness.
    It sounds like from people (on other website forums) AT&T is fine with the device on the network, provided I keep my account in good standing but they (obviously) won't ever honor an unlock request.

    T-Mobile appears to be hardcore and will ban devices over 30 days late (from what others have posted).
    I have 6 months with Paypal to claim a refund from the purchase so I'm thinking IF AT&T decides to block the device it will likely be 90 days out. In reality blocking the device would hurt them more, since they'd be losing service of a customer in good-standing... and can't ask me to pay the balance... but it's AT&T and logic isn't always part of their process.

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    If the buyer reports the phone as stolen then it will be blacklisted and cease to work. Are you saying that AT&T will let you use blacklisted phones?

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2400zr View Post
    IAre you saying that AT&T will let you use blacklisted phones?
    That won't happen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by veriztd View Post
    That won't happen.
    I know. I'm just trying to figure out what the previous poster is saying.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SirRadiodude View Post
    I recently purchased a Swappa phone for the first time and I can tell you any buyer risk minimization is just that... minimal.
    Swappa doesn't guarantee a sale. Your protection is to file a dispute with paypal as well as the credit card you used. You have 60 days to file the credit card dispute and 6 mos to file a paypal dispute.

    Paypal and your credit card will side with you.


    Quote Originally Posted by SirRadiodude View Post
    Swappa is just a mediator with no authority
    Correct - your protection is through paypal and your credit card company.


    Quote Originally Posted by SirRadiodude View Post
    The phone WAS financed through AT&T
    Then the item was not as described and seller must refund in full. Swappa does not allow financed phones to be sold. Seller must pay the return shipping.

    Quote Originally Posted by SirRadiodude View Post
    Swappa ONLY does a blacklist check and they tell seller not to reveal ESN# to buyers to check.
    The blacklist check is done prior to the listing. There is no reason for you to check the ESN for blacklisting as that has already been done by swappa. However, you could do the financing check through AT&T unlock if you had the ESN.

    Unfortunately, for Verizon and AT&T phones swappa does not do a check to see if the phone is financed. I believe for TMobile and Sprint phones they do. The reason this is so is because of the way the different carriers allow 3rd party access to the financing information.

    Did you buy from an established swappa seller with a history of good feedback? The established sellers with a history of good feedback are your best options. What you can do is prior to the sale, ask the seller to do the financing check and then certify that the device is paid off.


    Quote Originally Posted by SirRadiodude View Post
    Now that I have the phone, that according to their rules, should have never been sold if I want to return it they are recommending the seller force me to pay return shipping costs
    What do you mean they are recommending the seller force you to pay return shipping? Who? Swappa?

    Quote Originally Posted by SirRadiodude View Post
    since they say my issue is not that the device maybe technically stolen from the carrier - but that I don't feel the condition is the same as listed.
    I would email [email protected] and ask them to clarify whether or not their policy is that the buyer pays return shipping if the phone is financed. Swappa's official policy is that if a seller lists a phone that is not paid off, the item is not as described. Seller pays return shipping.

    File a dispute with both paypal and your credit card for both the purchase price and the $10 swappa fee. Get paypal to escalate the dispute so that you get a refund ASAP. Tell the seller they must provide you with a prepaid return label and that they assume liability for the package if they won't pay for insurance.

    If you do a mock listing of a phone, you will see that swappa says a device is ineligible for listing if it is financed. Print that page out as evidence in your dispute.

    Quote Originally Posted by SirRadiodude View Post
    Since I am an AT&T customer I am not bent on unlocking it at the moment, but more so my concern is if AT&T decides to ban the phone from the network.
    File a dispute with both paypal and your credit card, dispute both the paypal charge and the $10 swappa fee. Get the paypal dispute escalated so that you get your refund ASAP.

    The device is not currently listed as stolen so I don't see an issue there. The issue is that it was not paid off and ineligible to be listed on swappa in the first place. The item was not as described, seller pays return shipping.

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