Blacklisted iPhone question

bigjnyc

macrumors 603
Original poster
Apr 10, 2008
6,271
3,338
Hey guys so here is the story, I purchased an unlocked Verizon iphone 6S plus off craigslist back in August of last year. I was using the phone on AT&T with no issues up until Monday.... On Monday I ported my number over to T-Mobile, when I popped my new T-mobile sim in the phone it would not activate, when I called T-Mo they told me the phone was blacklisted by Verizon. I'm not sure why I was able to use it on AT&T for so long. I guess it didn't ping the server until it needed to be activated again?

I know I am now left with a paperweight that I can't do anything with (unless anyone knows about any way to have it removed. PM me since I know its not allowed here)

My question is, would there be any way to avoid this in the future? it kind of sucks that you buy a phone and the person can choose to block it weeks or even months later. Can I call the carrier and inform them that the phone has changed ownership when I buy one or something along those lines? or is buying used iPhones become a risky gamble?
 

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
21,173
13,003
ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
Probably what happened is that the original owner stopped paying the bill on it. So, it was blacklisted for non-payment.

The only way around that is for (a) the original owner to pay the bill, (b) a swap of the logicboard for one that is not blacklisted or (c) a new phone.

Alternatively, it can be sold off to someone outside the US who does not plan to travel here.

In the future, if there is some way, check the financial responsibility of a device before purchasing.
 

noobinator

macrumors 603
Jun 19, 2009
6,314
5,274
Pasadena, CA
The best thing you can do is purchase through a website like Swappa which gives you protection for I think 6 months, but this is still no guarantee. Yes, buying iPhones is always risky.
 

bigjnyc

macrumors 603
Original poster
Apr 10, 2008
6,271
3,338
Probably what happened is that the original owner stopped paying the bill on it. So, it was blacklisted for non-payment.

The only way around that is for (a) the original owner to pay the bill, (b) a swap of the logicboard for one that is not blacklisted or (c) a new phone.

Alternatively, it can be sold off to someone outside the US who does not plan to travel here.

In the future, if there is some way, check the financial responsibility of a device before purchasing.
Yeah i definitely learned my lesson all I checked was if the IMEI was clean and if it worked with my sim, didnt think to check if the phone was still being financed.

I didnt know about the logic board replacement. how much would that cost approximately? I can look around at the iphone repair shops in my area... Will that definitely remove the blacklist?

*edit* Never mind I just saw the price of a replacement logic board. its not even worth it
 
Last edited:

HallStevenson

macrumors 6502a
May 1, 2012
525
315
or is buying used iPhones become a risky gamble?
This "risk" isn't exclusive to iPhones. It applies to ALL phones - iPhones, Androids, 'dumb' phones, and so on.

didnt think to check if the phone was still being financed.
I doubt there's any way to tell. If I am financing a phone through carrier "x", you can't call and get account details. What you could possibly do is call the 'original' carrier, tell them you're looking at buying this phone, and want to create an account with them and ask "will I have any trouble activating this phone?". If it's still under contract (still being finance), they'll have to tell you "yes" or "no" when it comes to activating it but may not go into much detail.

I bought an LG V6 from another Verizon customer after my wife broke her phone. Turns out she still owed money on it but during our parking-lot-meet-and-purchase, we were on the phone with Verizon who sorted it all out, including taking a credit card payment from the lady to pay off the balance.

*edit* Never mind I just saw the price of a replacement logic board. its not even worth it
I can't speak for eyoungren but I suspect his comment was kind of a 'last resort' option. The logic board is where the IMEI is stored and the only way to get rid of the blacklisted one.
 
  • Like
Reactions: bigjnyc

noobinator

macrumors 603
Jun 19, 2009
6,314
5,274
Pasadena, CA
Does it still work on AT&T? Perhaps T-Mobile blacklisted it along with Verizon but AT&T left it unblacklisted. If so you could try to sell it to an AT&T customer but I'd be very honest about it's status.
 
  • Like
Reactions: bigjnyc

Stefan johansson

macrumors 65816
Apr 13, 2017
1,294
606
Sweden
Buying a second hand device from Craigslist or similar is never a really good idea. You should have bought a refurbished phone from Apple. Only phone I ever bought from private sales,was a Nokia 3310 to use as cash card phone on a holiday trip,think I paid equal to 20 American dollars or so,worked well,but of course,it was a 17 years old phone only device.
 

bigjnyc

macrumors 603
Original poster
Apr 10, 2008
6,271
3,338
Does it still work on AT&T? Perhaps T-Mobile blacklisted it along with Verizon but AT&T left it unblacklisted. If so you could try to sell it to an AT&T customer but I'd be very honest about it's status.
Thats a good point, unfortunately since I ported out of AT&T I have no way of finding out, unless a friend lets me insert their AT&T sim card or I get a prepaid one.
 

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
21,173
13,003
ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
Does it still work on AT&T? Perhaps T-Mobile blacklisted it along with Verizon but AT&T left it unblacklisted. If so you could try to sell it to an AT&T customer but I'd be very honest about it's status.
Once reported it's blacklisted for ALL US carriers. The blacklist is shared between all.

Technically, what is on the US blacklist is supposed to be shared with the international blacklist and vice versa. But in practice this rarely happens. Which is why you can sell a US blacklisted phone overseas and it'll work.
 

noobinator

macrumors 603
Jun 19, 2009
6,314
5,274
Pasadena, CA
Once reported it's blacklisted for ALL US carriers. The blacklist is shared between all.

Technically, what is on the US blacklist is supposed to be shared with the international blacklist and vice versa. But in practice this rarely happens. Which is why you can sell a US blacklisted phone overseas and it'll work.
The blacklist is the blacklist. It doesn't mean that all carriers will disallow phones on the blacklist. ATT is known for allowing phones that were blacklisted by other carriers. I had the same thing happen to me as the OP. Purchased a phone and a year later moved from ATT to Tmobile and my phone no longer worked. It was blacklisted after 6 months or so but I never knew until I tried a Tmobile sim.
 
  • Like
Reactions: bigjnyc

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
21,173
13,003
ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
The blacklist is the blacklist. It doesn't mean that all carriers will disallow phones on the blacklist. ATT is known for allowing phones that were blacklisted by other carriers. I had the same thing happen to me as the OP. Purchased a phone and a year later moved from ATT to Tmobile and my phone no longer worked. It was blacklisted after 6 months or so but I never knew until I tried a Tmobile sim.
If that is the case, then the carriers are not doing what they should be.

According to Wikipedia:

In 2012, major network companies in the United States, under government pressure, committed to introducing a blacklisting service, but it's not clear whether it will interoperate with the CEIR. GSM carriers AT&T and T-Mobile began blocking newly reported IMEIs in November 2012. Thefts reported prior to November 2012 were not added to the database.
The CEIR referenced is the international blacklist I mentioned earlier.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Mobile_Equipment_Identity#Blacklists_of_stolen_devices
 

noobinator

macrumors 603
Jun 19, 2009
6,314
5,274
Pasadena, CA
  • Like
Reactions: eyoungren

bigjnyc

macrumors 603
Original poster
Apr 10, 2008
6,271
3,338
The blacklist is the blacklist. It doesn't mean that all carriers will disallow phones on the blacklist. ATT is known for allowing phones that were blacklisted by other carriers. I had the same thing happen to me as the OP. Purchased a phone and a year later moved from ATT to Tmobile and my phone no longer worked. It was blacklisted after 6 months or so but I never knew until I tried a Tmobile sim.
Yup thats exactly what happened to me to a T... I will definitely try to pop in an AT&T sim and report back cause this is interesting if one company is pretty much ignoring the blacklists on some phones. Perhaps I can sell it to one of my AT&T friends for cheap (letting them know the situation of course)
 
  • Like
Reactions: noobinator

JPack

macrumors 601
Mar 27, 2017
4,671
6,990
The only way to prevent this is to buy a new or used factory unlocked iPhone either from Apple or from someone who bought directly from Apple. It's easy for the seller to provide proof of purchase verifying this.

Anything associated with a carrier can be blacklisted by the carrier later. It's the risk you run buying a carrier phone.
 

Applejuiced

macrumors Westmere
Apr 16, 2008
40,650
6,403
At the iPhone hacks section.
Thats a good point, unfortunately since I ported out of AT&T I have no way of finding out, unless a friend lets me insert their AT&T sim card or I get a prepaid one.
Yes, just pop someones sim inside for a minute that has an AT&T account.
Sometimes domestic US carriers do not communicate well and things can fall through the cracks. So if it works with AT&T it will be easier to get rid off or you can sell it for international use cause it will work fine outside the US with any GSM carrier.
It sucks that you got stuck like that though.
There's a risk when buying used and even with paypal protection for 6 months you could get stuck a while after that.
Maybe use a good credit card while purchasing it that has some kind of fraud protection that will cover such situations.
 
  • Like
Reactions: bigjnyc

bigjnyc

macrumors 603
Original poster
Apr 10, 2008
6,271
3,338
Yes, just pop someones sim inside for a minute that has an AT&T account.
Sometimes domestic US carriers do not communicate well and things can fall through the cracks. So if it works with AT&T it will be easier to get rid off or you can sell it for international use cause it will work fine outside the US with any GSM carrier.
It sucks that you got stuck like that though.
There's a risk when buying used and even with paypal protection for 6 months you could get stuck a while after that.
Maybe use a good credit card while purchasing it that has some kind of fraud protection that will cover such situations.
Whoa I just tried it with my friends AT&T sim and it worked!!! Bizarro but cool. I’ll just sell it with the disclosure that it is blacklisted but works on AT&T buy at your own risk.
 

Tthomas612

macrumors 65816
Aug 24, 2013
1,309
273
This is highly interesting. I really want to see an update in 6 months as to whether or not AT&T ever acknowledges the blacklist or not.

I have a feeling the device will work forever on AT&T...
 
  • Like
Reactions: eyoungren

Tthomas612

macrumors 65816
Aug 24, 2013
1,309
273
If sold cheap enough someone would buy it.
Yeah someone will bite especially an at&t customer. Say he sales the phone for less than $150...

Some person would be happy to have a 6s for under $150 just saying... For the right price someone else definitely bite
 

Spink10

Suspended
Nov 3, 2011
4,259
1,002
Oklahoma
Buying a second hand device from Craigslist or similar is never a really good idea. You should have bought a refurbished phone from Apple. Only phone I ever bought from private sales,was a Nokia 3310 to use as cash card phone on a holiday trip,think I paid equal to 20 American dollars or so,worked well,but of course,it was a 17 years old phone only device.
Bought about 6 iPhone used off CL/eBay/Amazon. Zero problems. I check if there on contract.
 

bigjnyc

macrumors 603
Original poster
Apr 10, 2008
6,271
3,338
Bought about 6 iPhone used off CL/eBay/Amazon. Zero problems. I check if there on contract.
I’ve probably bought 7 or 8 over the years and this is the first time this happened.
 

HallStevenson

macrumors 6502a
May 1, 2012
525
315
Bought about 6 iPhone used off CL/eBay/Amazon. Zero problems. I check if there on contract.
Used phones are bought and sold on places like this every day. As you allude to, people shouldn't beer afraid... A case like this is the exception, not the rule.
 
  • Like
Reactions: bigjnyc