About to buy used Iphone4, Quick tips and help needed

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by kettlecorn, Jul 7, 2012.

  1. kettlecorn macrumors 6502

    Jan 21, 2011
    I'm about to trade someone on craigslist my tablet and keyboard dock for an iphone 4 (AT&T(. I never had an iphone in my life and only played with it for a few minutes at the Apple store or with my friends. I don't know all the little details nor do I have Att. I've been reading up on various iphone scams to prepare but you can't prepare for everything and I'm meeting up within a few hours.

    Do you guys have any tips, pointers, experience on what to look out for? PARTICULARLY the stolen phone issue. With verizon, there's an ESN and you can just call it in and see if it's a bad ESN. Not sure what the deal is with ATT. Yesterday news was announced that owners can report their phones stolen and blacklist it so what's to stop this guy from calling in his phone (or anyone else) stolen, pocketing the cash and getting a new iphone replacement from Att?

    Should I call in ATT while I'm with him and have him tell ATT that he is no longer the owner? He doesn't seem to be hiding anything I'm just being extra cautious. He said he has a sim card to demonstrate everything is working and the pics he sent me show normal everyday use with facebook sync, notifications, etc.
    I am with Tmobile and am looking to unlock this Iphone 4 to use on my tmobile network. If I don't end up liking it, I need to be able to resell it.

    I also heard that there are iphone clones out there (wtf?) and sometimes a 32gb will actually be a 8gb but they hack the "About phone" info.

    Any tips greatly appreciated.
  2. lordofthereef macrumors G5


    Nov 29, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Ask for a box. The serial and IMEI should match the box. You lower your chances of getting a stolen phone drastically this way.

    I have never seen the "about" info hacked before, nor have I read about it. Don't have any tips there, unfortunately.
  3. kettlecorn thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 21, 2011

    He says he doesn't have the box because it's a replacement that he just got from Apple. The pictures look real clean.

    I asked if it would alright if I called At&t when we met up and he said if I call them to tell them the sold was sold, he's going to get a contract termination fee. His story is that his work is providing him with a new phone.

    Why would ATT care what phone you have or what you do with your iphone as long as your pay your bills for their service? I never heard of contract termination due to selling your on-contract iphone as long as you get another phone. Is this true?

    Last proposal, I just asked to meet at ATT store to check if he will in fact get contract termination and I can ask and verify everything I want. No response yet.

    Not looking good but I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt.
  4. lordofthereef macrumors G5


    Nov 29, 2011
    Boston, MA
    To be clear I am not calling the guy a liar... but he is misinformed at the very least. He would not pay a contract termination fee if he sold his phone and AT&T has no grounds to charge him for one. In fact, a common misconception is that if you open a contract with a smartphone you must keep that plan. As long as you are NOT using a smartphone, you are free to drop texts, data, and go down to the lowest minutes package even if you used your upgrade on a smartphone 5 minutes ago. All AT&T cares is that you fulfill your contract to term. You signed for two years, you either pay whatever their cheapest package is or you pay an ETF.

    Unfortunately there is too much dishonesty that happens with these sales. based on what he has said and based on a lack of there being a box, I would be weary. Is he able to provide a receipt for when he bought the phone?
  5. kettlecorn thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 21, 2011
    Yeah thats what I thought. He hasnt replied to my suggestion of meeting at an AT&T store so I'm calling it off. Not sure if hes a scammer or someone looking to pawn off a shady piece of equipment but not taking the chance unless I get a guarantee that everything checks out.

    Thanks for the help.
  6. DroidNoMore macrumors newbie

    Jun 28, 2012
    Meeting at the store is the best way to handle Craigslist phone purchases. That's the only way I would do it. If he won't meet you there, I'd be wiling to bet there is a problem with the phone.
  7. RocketRed macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2012
    This. Golden rule of craigslist: always meet somewhere in public, especially somewhere with people.
  8. vonWachtstain macrumors regular

    Nov 20, 2011
    If I was the seller I would not sell you my phone. Because you are way too paranoid. Nobody wants to meet stranger and stand with him for minutes. He is probably as freaked out by you as you are of him. It's a diffrent story if you are selling CMDA verizon phone and buyer wants to meet in store to verify. But GSM iPhone? I bought and resold so many and never not once I got any problems.
    If you buying AT&T you only need to:
    1. Check two water damage indicators headphone jack and charging port
    2. Make sure phone turns on
    3. If you and seller dont mind waiting you can ask to put sim card in and make a call.
    4. rare occasion if seller claims phone is brand new check serial number on apple website.
    For me if first two steps check out I just make exchange.
    An I the only one thinking that seller didn't want to meet at the store because a) nobody does that with AT&T phones b) way to much effort for something that should be 3 minutes sale?
  9. Phone Junky macrumors 65816

    Phone Junky

    Oct 29, 2011
    Sunshine State
    Just had my 4S replaced at an Apple store for defective volume buttons. My replacement phone does not match my box.
  10. gsugolfer macrumors 6502a


    Jul 11, 2010
    Georgia, USA
    If I'm selling something like a phone (which has been rare), I try to do everything I can to make the buyer feel comfortable. Then again, I'm always using a CDMA device.
  11. C5Longhorn macrumors regular

    Jul 31, 2010
    This. I absolutely would meet a buyer at a store. It's too risky for the purchaser not to.
  12. labman macrumors 604


    Jun 9, 2009
    Mich near Detroit
    My favorite place to suggest a craigslist meet is the police station. If both party's are honest this should be a great place to meet safe for both party's. How ever if somebody is dishonest this seems to be the last place they want to meet. I just cut though allot of BS like that. there are a ton of iPhone's for sale on craigs if the deal smells even a little move on. ;)
  13. mattopotamus macrumors G5


    Jun 12, 2012
    same, but you can enter the serial into apple.com under support to see if the phone is still in warranty and whatnot. For example, i have applecare+ so when the 5 comes out and i sell my 4s...i can just bring my mac and show them that it is still covered
  14. saud0488 macrumors 6502

    Aug 18, 2011
    Or just pull it up on the iphone :cool:
  15. techiegeek1225 macrumors member

    Jun 29, 2012
    he doesn't have the box, he doesn't want to meet at an AT&T store... and it's from craigslist! I'm not being judgmental or anything but yes, you are right, you really have to be cautious big time!
  16. kettlecorn, Jul 9, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2012

    kettlecorn thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 21, 2011
    And if you were the seller, I would not buy the phone. Are you seriously joking with your post? I would rather err on the side of caution than not and if you really think that going to meet at a public At&t store equates to "standing around for a few minutes" like it's THAT much trouble for a pretty expensive purchase, then I don't know what to tell you.

    I'm not an iphone expert but I am very experienced in dealing with craigslist and can read people very well. This guy was not it. The fact that you would consider this a 3 minute sale says a lot about your "selling style" and I would never deal with someone like you. People who post up items with very little information and then when asked questions, answer in very short 1 worded yes or no answers are usually impatient sellers and they're impatient for a reason. Lot of times in my experience, they have something to hide and want to get it done fast.

    It's all perspective, I've read way too many iphone clone scams and all sorts of nonsense to know better. I've met more than 1 person who told me that they had been ripped off because someone had managed to change the "About phone" on one of the iphones to show a bigger storage than it had. The risk is mostly on the buyer in this type of transaction. The only thing the seller can get caught with is fake currency. The iphone could be reported stolen, which technically anyone could do and it'll immediately be blacklisted according to At&t's new policy of reporting stolen devices.

    Any way, I found one in better condition, with the original receipt, box, very nice owner who agreed to meet at location and time of my choosing today so I'm satisfied.

    Thanks to all those who chimed in with helpful information! :D
  17. C5Longhorn macrumors regular

    Jul 31, 2010
    I would take the same precautions as a buyer. Ot's not worth the risk to me.
  18. lordofthereef macrumors G5


    Nov 29, 2011
    Boston, MA
    That's fine, but also irrelevant. I didn't say that all phones that come without boxes (or with serial numbers not matching the box) are stolen. I said if you are handed a phone with a box with matching serial numbers, it is highly unlikely the phone was stolen. Most phones get stolen/lost in public, where the original owner does not have the box with him/her. If the numbers on the box check out you are almost certainly buying a legit device.
  19. vonWachtstain macrumors regular

    Nov 20, 2011
    I dont think you know anything about reselling iPhones then. AT&T phone can be stolen and you wouldn't know. AT&T doesn't care. They don't blacklist phones. So I don't see why you need to be so careful. You pop your simcard and activate and you done. I don't think it changed recently as in last 2 weeks I sold 3 4S and one 4.
    Guys who resell phone please chime in. I literally resold 50-60 (i dont know exact amount as craigslist app doesnt keep records going past October 2011) I have never met anybody at AT&T store nor was I asked to meet there. Only time I met buyers at the store was when I was selling Verizon iPhones.
    OP I think he stopped responding to you because he thinks you might be a "tirekicker."
    And about making buyer feel safe. Seriously every time i'm meeting buyers I dont know who they will be. Best bet set up meeting in public place (Starbucks is great for me since I live right across from it). And bring somebody with you just in case to watch your back.


    And I am 100% you are not familiar with Craigslist. Because you say u cant trust somebody who respond with one or two words. If you know anything about CL it should be that people do not read ad. You can compose the best ad ever with every single detail and nice pictures and you will still receive texts or call: is it still for sale? what color? how many gb? is it unlocked? can u sell it for 150?
    Sellers get angry after explaining to yet another moron who cant read.
  20. mostlynameless macrumors member

    Sep 22, 2008

    AT&T supposedly changed their policy today.

  21. batting1000 macrumors 604

    Sep 4, 2011
    the seller at an AT&T store so you and the store can verify it's legit, that's all.
  22. kettlecorn thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 21, 2011
    Thank you.

    At&t started blacklisting phones which is what I stated in my original post vonWacht.

    Am I the crazy one here or is it not too much to ask for the seller to meet at a local At&t store to check if the phone is legit? The stores and kiosks are everywhere. I feel like you do business differently than I do, so far off that the mere suggestion of meeting at a store turns your world upside down. Judging from your posts you seem to have little patience and dont like to answer questions (even if they are repetitive) or make the buyer feel very reassured and that is where our selling/buying "style" differences are apparent. Someone can ask me "Is it still available?", "How many gb is it?", "It's At&t right?" and I don't mind taking 1/2 second out of my time to reply a yes or no. I provide high quality very good pictures and make sure to disclose everything, including warranty information, how long I've had, if I'm the original owner, receipt, etc.
    And I do ALL my transactions on craigslist and a lot of them are done with awesome, honest people. I've given money back to someone who wanted a refund even though I did not have to.

    Maybe you do 50-60 reseller transaction but I'm not sure how many of your buyers are completely satisfied. Or what % of the buyers feel like they've been ripped off? Maybe it's just me but I'm a thorough and detail oriented person and I take responsibility for the device if anything is wrong with it, even if I'm just "reselling it" so forgive me if my demands for checking a product or device is too stringent for your business style vonWacht.

    Any way, it looks like you're the odd man out here. Most people here would prefer to meet at an At&t store for the reassurance it looks like. Like I said, I ended up with a very nice phone with a great person with the original receipt and met at an At&t store and we both left completely satisfied. But you do you and to each his own.

    Thread is over. Thanks to everyone who did help out. ;)
  23. vonWachtstain macrumors regular

    Nov 20, 2011
    My point is you are not buying a car, its a phone. You don't need mechanic to look at it. And why are you so bent on meeting at store? If seller wanted to screw you over he can do it no matter what. They verify phone is good and not stolen you buy it and he calls next day and says phone was stolen.
    And I don't see how you can comment on my selling style as u don't know me nor you know my customers. I only buy perfect condition phone bc those go fast and for premium price. These past 2 weeks I sold few 4S iPhones for $500+ when there were many 4Ss listed for much less. So that should tell u what phones I sell.
    No need to go personal. I simply give my 2 cents and you are attacking me like I stole your mother's noodles or something. I will give you best advice: buy it brand new from Apple that way you will know for sure phone is good.

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