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Thread: What issues exist buying this AT&T phone?

  1. #1
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    What issues exist buying this AT&T phone?

    I am considering buying a friend a Samsung Galaxy J3 to be used on AT&T regular service.

    There is a barely used one for sale locally on Craigslist. He sent me a screenshot of the IMEI, and the IMEI appears good.

    However, there might be a problem. He just got this phone for free with a new service plan 2 weeks ago. He then switched it out for an iphone he already owned. (The AT&T service the seller is on is coincidentally the same as the service my friend has, non-prepaid.)

    He claims the phone is owned by him and is not tied to his service. He claims the phone is unlocked. But he dodges the issue whether this phone is or can be released to be used by somebody else. I asked him to find out.

    What do I need to be concerned about with this phone, and how can I be sure I don't get ripped off?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck-TX View Post
    I am considering buying a friend a Samsung Galaxy J3 to be used on AT&T regular service.

    There is a barely used one for sale locally on Craigslist. He sent me a screenshot of the IMEI, and the IMEI appears good.

    However, there might be a problem. He just got this phone for free with a new service plan 2 weeks ago. He then switched it out for an iphone he already owned. (The AT&T service the seller is on is coincidentally the same as the service my friend has, non-prepaid.)

    He claims the phone is owned by him and is not tied to his service. He claims the phone is unlocked. But he dodges the issue whether this phone is or can be released to be used by somebody else. I asked him to find out.

    What do I need to be concerned about with this phone, and how can I be sure I don't get ripped off?

    Thanks in advance for your help.
    Do the transfer at an AT&T store and have it activated on your account. Have them check to see if anything is owed to AT&T. If the seller won't do that, forget the deal.

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    Isn't that like a $100 phone brand new? Why take a chance on a second hand one?

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    TMI, but ... Cellphone price inflation means that a new unlocked one from Amazon or Samsung is $170. Samsung still has a few of last year's model for $150. According to my research on Samsung's website, the J3 is the least expensive AT&T phone they have.

    Local crackheads are trying to sell their used, shattered-screen models of unknown history for $100. So this guy selling his for $90 is realistic. This one is basically NIB. He activated the SIM, then transferred the SIM to his iphone, he says.

    My question remains - Does AT&T block the transfer of new phones to other users for a period of time?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobdevnul View Post
    Do the transfer at an AT&T store and have it activated on your account. Have them check to see if anything is owed to AT&T. If the seller won't do that, forget the deal.
    Completely reasonable advice, but a little complicated in this situation.

    I'm buying this phone as a gift for a friend whose baby granddaughter threw his across the room, breaking it. His phone is on a family plan, held by my friend's daughter. There is no insurance - AT&T wants $70 a month for insurance for the 4 phones on the plan!

    I do not have an AT&T account. Daughter is busy, doesn't want to go to AT&T if can be avoided. Friend can buy AT&T replacement phone at an AT&T store ... for $209 + tax. He doesn't have the money right now.

    There is more, but not relevant to my concern, which is, Does AT&T have any clearly stated policies regarding the transfer of phones to new users? I can't find anything on AT&T's website.

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    No AT&T doesn't block the transfer of phones to other users. But there are a couple of things that should concern you with any sale. The seller got the phone free so he probably agreed to keep that line for 2 years..luckily contracts are tied to the actual line, not the device. (I've swapped devices that were under agreements with no problems) BUT make sure the imei of that phone isn't on his account. If it is then your friend won't be able to "officially" add it by calling in. But he will be able to just swap his sim card into it. But likewise if the imei is on the sellers account he could always report it stolen after the sale and basically make some free easy money. If he does that then the phone will be blacklisted, meaning you won't be able to use it. But that's a risk with buying ANY phone used. Luckily up to this point AT&T hasn't blacklisted phones for non payment so if the seller ever cancels the line early you should still be able to use the phone. If the phone is truly unlocked then you won't have to worry about that. Likewise if it really is owned by him now then you should be good to go. But AT&T doesn't have a policy for transferring phones. As long as it isn't tied to a contract or agreement then he can transfer it freely. But he will have to have it removed from his account. Otherwise your friend will be able to use it by just putting his sim in it (I've used a pre owned phone on my account for months. The seller removed it from his account but I never officially added it to my account because I was using it on a line that had an agreement)

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    BUT make sure the imei of that phone isn't on his account.
    Thanks - this is something I didn't know. I will ask the guy to remove the IMEI from his account.

    I appreciate the advice, everyone!

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