AT&T iPhone Purchased on Ebay Wont Activate

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by rjbecker26, Jun 21, 2012.

  1. rjbecker26 macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2012
    Hey Everyone. Thanks for taking the time to check out my question. I recently purchased an iPhone, out of contract, from someone on ebay. This iPhone came sealed in the original box, but I've encountered a problem when trying to activate it.

    It seems as though the person I bought this phone from purchased it on the Apple Online store using his upgrade. When he purchased it, the people at Apple applied his phone number and account info directly to the phone, causing me to have to verify his phone number, billing zip code and last 4 digits of his SSN to activate the phone. After spending over an hour on the phone with Apple Tech Support I was told that there is no way, short of sending this guy the phone for him to activate, that I can get around this.

    On my own, I've tried putting the phone into DFU mode to try and reset it back to original stock, but that did not work. I don't want to send this guy the phone in case he doesn't return it and keeps the money I spent for it.

    Is there any known way to get around this? I just want to be able to use the phone on AT&T. I'm not on a diff network or anything, just an AT&T customer. I guess I don't have a problem jailbreaking it, but I'd much rather just work around the activation without doing that.

    If anyone has any advice I would greatly appreciate it. If jailbreaking is the only option, or even possible on a 4s prior to activation, could someone provide me a link to be able to get it done?

    Thanks Everyone!

  2. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    This may be silly but can you just swap the sim card? Do you have a sim from another (your previous) AT&T phone?

    I would walk into AT&T and ask them. They're ultimately the ones who can hopefully help. If not, the seller needs to get involved.
  3. rjbecker26 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2012
    This unfortunately isn't a SIM issue. When the phone was purchased through the Apple online store, it was done so using an available upgrade on the original owners account. Instead of opening the phone, the original owner just sold it on ebay for a profit. The problem is that when I try to activate the phone, new out of the box, it has already had that individuals account info tied into it. So when I try to activate the phone after powering it on, it asks me to verify the phone number of the person who purchased the phone, along with that individuals last 4 digits of their social security number and their billing zip code.

    I'm completely at a loss and praying that I didn't just spend $500 on an expensive paper weight:(
  4. Satnam1989 macrumors 65816

    Nov 16, 2011
    Buddy, just open a Dispute with eBay, this way you will be covered. Ask for a refund, ship the phone back with tracking by courier and go home to buy a new iPhone from someone else.

    I have been on ebay for over 7 years and can tell you that its nothing you need to stress about...eBay always supports the buyer more than it supports the seller, being a seller my self I hav only had a few items returned to me in the entire time I have been on eBay but I have bought tons.


    Contact the seller via eBay resolution centre after opening a case, tell him the issue in precise details(what you have done to combat the problem and what the problem initially is...more detail the faster things will get solved and be patient) on the resolution Center, if he doesn't offer resolution (don't at any cost ship the phone to him without refund promised upon receiving his iPhone back and if/when you do ship it make sure its insured and tracked). if he does work with you, have him refund you once he gets the iPhone(again take the communication to ebay resolution centre), have him activate/fix the issue if you still want to only buy it from him then re-pay him back and get ur iPhone. It will be your loss on the shipping cost but I'm sure its not worth risking $500.
  5. SenseiPhone macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2011
    No, the SSN and Billing ZIP requirements tied to the IMEI, so no matter what SIM / iOS version used, the SSN request still persists, unless you can "hacktivate it" which only possible for iPhone 4 and 3GS, not the newer iPhones.
  6. rjbecker26 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2012

    I'm sorry everyone I hadn't realized that I didn't give an update on how this was all solved. After going through what seemed to be an endless email thread with the original owner, the only option seemed to be a refund from him and for me to send the phone back.

    The reasoning for this, being that when he purchased the 4S on Apple's website using his available upgrade, Apple tied the device directly to his acct. He was the only one that could have activated it, using his SSN. Hacktivating was not an option, which I tried multiple times.

    As a last ditch effort, I went to my local Apple store in hopes that a nice Genius would hear my plea. After explaining the situation, the Genius took the phone into the back and emerged 10 mins later with a brand new phone. She hooked me up and logged the original phone as a phone purchased by me that I was unable to activate.

    At the end of the day, I wound up with a new white 16gb 4s and the original seller got to keep his payday. If not for the incredible helpful Genius, none of this would have been possible and I would have been without a phone.
  7. a2djoe macrumors newbie

    Oct 23, 2012
    Activate Phone

    Its seems the phone is locked to AT&T and hence the issue with activation. You can attempt a jailbreak but that is temporary and possibly cause connectivity issues.
    The best option is a permanent unlock. Your phone will be factory unlocked and its easy to do. go to and submit your phone information. You will be alerted when unlock is complete. All the best!
  8. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere


    Apr 16, 2008
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    This is what it looks like below.
    See if the seller with give you that info. If not you're stuck with an unusable iphone.
    Or bring it to Apple and see if they will help you like the OP did above.

    Attached Files:

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