Buying a iPhone from craigslist or ebay is it a catch 22?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by coolwierdo, Oct 16, 2013.

  1. coolwierdo macrumors member

    Oct 13, 2011
    Ok so im in the market for a att iPhone 5 been looking on craigslist to buy,but here the thing that gets me. say i was make a purchase check the imei everything is clear/good i make the purchase a couple days later that person reports it lost or stolen or leave an outstanding balance on the phone then the cellular company blacklist the phone i just purchased. is there anyway to avoid this from happening??? or is it a catch 22??
  2. aneftp macrumors 601

    Jul 28, 2007
    eBay generally is a little safer since most come with eBay buyer protection. But u may pay more from eBay.

    As for Craigslist. I usually do a reverse phone number lookup via

    Ask if they have original receipt etc. I feel a lot more comfortable buying $400-500 items that way.

    Older phones I buy off Craigslist for $100-150 I usually don't do extensive research.
  3. polzii, Oct 16, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2013

    polzii macrumors 6502

    Mar 11, 2011
    No way to avoid that. pay up a bit and buy from eBay/Amazon and get some protection if things go awry.

    If you get one from CL that has AppleCare+, Apply may be able to help you if it gets blocked for being reported stolen after you buy it.
  4. Jett0516 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 5, 2010
    if you're buying from ebay..check the sellers rating. If you're buying it from at public places and check everything.

    Or buy it from me. worry free. :)

    PM me if interested.
  5. coolwierdo thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 13, 2011
    so stay away from CL when it comes to iPhones:confused:


    or would it help if we meet at a local att or tmobile store and have the imei registered under my info??
  6. robertbooth macrumors newbie

    Jun 23, 2012
    Markham Il

    I bought a 5 on cl and everything was ok but the guy i bought from must of waited to wait a week to report it lost because it got banned. After about a week of working it stopped connection to the network. So I take it to a local at&T store and they said it was blacklisted. They were like don't trust anyone selling a iPhone who has insurance> I able to sell it on ebay but i took a loss I paid 400 and sold it for 300. So don't do Spend the extra money and go with ebay
  7. joeshmo2010 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2009
    Seattle, WA
    Reporting a stolen phone wouldn't give that person a free pass to not pay their bill. They're still liable for their contract. I could report my car stolen, do I still have to pay my auto loan? Damn right I do!
  8. ToroidalZeus macrumors 68020


    Dec 8, 2009
    Ask for a bill of sale.
  9. coolwierdo thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 13, 2011
    apple/cellular companies should create some type of system that prevents this
  10. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere


    Apr 16, 2008
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    No such thing exists.
    I'd suggest getting one from eBay since you're covered for 30 days by buyers protection.
    If something goes wrong and if the item is stolen then it will probably happen in under a month.
  11. iosuser macrumors 6502a

    Mar 12, 2012
    I would ask for their original sales receipt and the original box with matching numbers.

    I always treat the buyer like I would like to be treated myself. The last 3 phones I sold I gave the original sales receipt to the buyer, including the original box and all. It really gives the buyer a great peace of mind, plus it helps to command a premium on my selling price ;) I just did that couple weeks ago when I sold my 5 on Ebay. The phone sold in 10 minutes, for $550 :D Sold a Samsung GS3 last year off Craigslist, again I offered my original sales receipt. You'd be lucky to find me as the seller :D You'll be paying a price premium, but you can count on no funny business from me.
  12. mcdj macrumors G3


    Jul 10, 2007
    With ebay, and in person, buy the seller, not the item. A great deal is only as great as the seller.

    An ebay seller's feedback generally speaks for itself. Buy from someone who's been there a while and has feedback as a seller. Scammers start new accounts, then buy 100 crappy items for pennies, then get 100 positive feedbacks. Look for sellers who have been there at least a year. Then check to see they've sold legitimate items and gotten feedback from legitimate buyers, who also have been on ebay a while and also have good feedback.

    Oh and before anyone says "I've only been on ebay 3 months and I'm trustworthy!"; who cares? It's a buyer's market. There's a glut of iPhones. Pay a little more if you have to, and only buy from a solid seller. Skip the newbies. Let someone else take a chance on them. Eventually they'll become established. Establishing them at the risk of $500 is not your job.

    People who think ebay is dangerous are just not smart enough to navigate it safely.

    On Craigslist, establish contact directly with people's real email before meeting up...don't keep communicating via Craigslist's anonymous proxy.

    Ask for a link to their ebay profile with good feedback if they have one, then email them via ebay to make sure they're who they say they are.

    If they're not on ebay, ask for some other online verification of their identity; a forum where they're a respected member, or their personal website.

    Google their email address. Take the the user name part of their email address and Google that separately from the domain. I've cancelled deals because Googling someone's gmail address showed no suspicious activity, but Googling their username only showed that others had been scammed by the same name, with different emails...e.g. bigmoneyman54@, bigmoneyman54@, etc. Stupid scammers are everywhere...they wouldn't be scammers if they were smart.

    If a craigslist seller has something you want, but Google has never heard of them and they have zero alternative online presence, then they no longer have something you want, unless you want problems.
  13. cwosigns macrumors 68000


    Jul 8, 2008
    I sell all of my old phones on Craigslist, and I insist that the buyer meet me at a carrier store so I can verify that it's activated and working on their account. If I were a buyer, I would insist on the same--meet me at my carrier store and make sure the phone is activated on my account without issue.
  14. StephenAndrew macrumors member

    Dec 12, 2009
    Connecticut, USA
    I sold my iPhone 5 just last week on CL. We met in my bank's lobby, I had it packaged up and ready to go. The kid handed me the money, literally just looked at the phone while I was counting the bills, and left. He didn't turn it on to make sure it was working, check to make sure it was the 64GB model, inspect it closely, or make sure the charger and cable were underneath the phone. I could have sold him a bricked and water damaged 16GB model...luckily for him, I'm an honest guy, but I wanted to smack him upside the head and yell at him for being so cavalier about giving me $450.

    So yeah, if you buy on CL, make sure everything works properly before parting ways. Pop your sim card in there, make sure the speaker works, there's no water damage, it's the right model, etc. I've had dozens of CL transactions go off without a hitch, you just have to be smart about it.
  15. redlinux macrumors regular


    Sep 25, 2013
    Between the two, you're better off with eBay. As what the other dude mentioned, go for Top Rated sellers with 99.9% to 100% Positive Feedback. One cannot simply make up some 2000+ positive feedback in the last 3-5 years.

    I personally have recently purchased my brand new 5S from eBay. I ordered from Apple on launch day but I wasn't as lucky as the others with 1-3 Business days shipping. For the record, I bought my last 4 Android flagship phones from eBay too. Better safe than sorry.
  16. coolwierdo thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 13, 2011

    but now what people are doin is selling there iPhones on CL and later down the road reporting it lost which is causing it to be blacklisted
  17. StophMac24 macrumors 6502


    Jul 14, 2007
    Always ask for the receipt.

    I sold my 64GB iPhone 5S for a pretty penny on CL to a very nice Russian guy (granted I felt like the whole drive to meet him I was going to be mugged and shot 3 different ways) but we met in a very public place in a very upscale neighborhood.

    All he asked to see was the receipt and make sure the phone was unlocked. Turned it on for him and went through the whole process, even gave him a copy of the receipt so he saw the purchase price and the date and that it was unlocked.

    Receipt is key...unless of course you have someone who has purchased a bunch of iPhones.
  18. CEmajr macrumors 601

    Dec 18, 2012
    Charlotte, NC
    If it's over $200 I usually just buy from eBay. You get 45 days of buyer protection and 180 days through your credit card company if anything goes wrong.

    With all the random reasons for phones getting blacklisted these days I would rather not take my chances on my pine becoming useless after about a month.

    I love selling my phones on craigslist though. Got a whopping $500 for my iPhone 5 a few days ago.
  19. coolwierdo thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 13, 2011
    you guys are missing the point you can buy sell on CL a receipt can be provided but if that person has insurance once the phone is sold he or she can report it lost or stolen and all of a sudden your newly purchased iphone that you brought from CL that you also got the receipt for is now blacklisted there has to be a way or some type of protocol to prevent people from getting scammed
  20. scotrinaf macrumors 6502

    Oct 6, 2013
    Blountville, TN
    Buy from eBay, look for those listed with "or Best Offer", negotiate a good price, look for sellers that aren't "commercial" sellers... Look at their feedback... I just bought 2 on eBay and have been happy with them both.
  21. lawlbringer macrumors regular

    Sep 23, 2012
    I bought one the other day(overpaid by a few dollars =\) but the guy provided a copy of the receipt with the matching serial/IMEI, it was sealed in box, and it had his contact info on it. Also, the phone I purchased he bought straight from the Apple Store, which should be safer since AT&T shouldn't have any idea about this phone considering it was never activated under his account. We met at an AT&T store and activated it under my number there and made sure everything worked fine.

    There's not a whole lot you can do to avoid the insurance fraud part, but it's always better to deal with someone that's obviously not going to flee the country. I'd say also just meet someone who is fairly close by(not a long drive) and that is willing to activate it at one of your carrier stores locations.

    Good luck.
  22. cdmoore74 macrumors 68020

    Jun 24, 2010
    What if you get one of those white box replacements were the numbers won't match the original box?
  23. EvilQueen macrumors 6502

    Aug 15, 2013
    In my own world
    Yes. Ebay with paypal is much better with more protection.
  24. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere


    Apr 16, 2008
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    You guys seem to forget that even if the seller gives you the receipt there's nothing stopping him later if he wants to report it lost or stolen.
    You'd just be stuck looking at the receipt with your blacklisted iphone.
  25. iosuser macrumors 6502a

    Mar 12, 2012
    Then provide the Apple paperwork to go with it, which will have the numbers of the original phone on it.

    True, but I would trust someone with paperwork, at least then it'd be much less likely that the phone was really lost or stolen.

    I bought a used 4s couple years back of Craigslist, after a lot of sorting thru spam ads and suspicious ads, wasted a lot of time meeting 2 guys who said mint. One had the moisture sensor tripped another was trashed. Most CL sellers were just plain uncooperative, some got hostile when I asked for original box and paperwork. Just when I was about to give up I lucked out and bought it off a great seller who just upgraded to the 5. Overall it wasn't worth the effort. I'd buy from Ebay before Craigslist. At the very least I can get Ebay/Paypal to refund if something is wrong.

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