I bought a phone off Craigslist 5 months ago... the seller forgot about his account

andyACEcandy

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 11, 2008
863
14
This is an extremely frustrating scenario. First of all - No, I was not (knowingly) scammed.

I bought an iPhone 5 for T-Mobile back in February and have been using it successfully on my account ever since. The IMEI was clean and was successfully activated on my account back then.

I have the guy's phone number and text messages.

This week, the phone was blocked and blacklisted for missing payments. I thought "weird, why would he make 5 months of payments before stopping to scam me?"
Then, I realized he must not have known. So I am on chat with T-Mobile support and gave them his phone number. They looked it up and confirmed his account was canceled due to missing payment. But they confirmed it was ONE missing payment of a very small amount... thus leading to the assumption that he does not know about it. The rep said their collections agency is trying to get in touch with him.

They said they cannot give me the $ amount to have me pay it off without his consent. EXTREMELY frustrating!!!
So, I'm sitting here with a blacklisted iPhone 5 that has a payment of like $25 left on it. The buyer just didn't know about this payment when he must have canceled his account and switched to AT&T/Sprint/Verizon or something.

I can call this number and it still rings. That's the craziest part. I get a voicemail and everything.
 

Applejuiced

macrumors Westmere
Apr 16, 2008
40,650
6,404
At the iPhone hacks section.
That's the risk one takes when buying used.
It can happen to anyone weeks or months later.
You shouldn't be able to get any information at all just by giving tmobile his phone number and the iPhone sold to you story. That's a big privacy issue right there to give you any info on someone's account that you're not an authorized user on.
 

kupkakez

macrumors 68000
Apr 4, 2011
1,842
669
Austin, TX
At this point I would just sell it for parts. You aren't going to have any way of knowing if he ever pays that $25. To be honest the carrier shouldn't have even revealed that information to you. Shame on them.
 

andyACEcandy

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 11, 2008
863
14
Yeah it was really frustrating. The rep said the amount is so small, but they aren't allowed to tell me how much.

It's all extremely disappointing. I wish he would just pick up his phone! I feel like a stalker now :eek:
 

617aircav

Suspended
Jul 2, 2012
3,974
815
I'm actually surprised the rep gave you, a stranger information about someone else's account. That kind of info is usually private and not given out. This is a common issue with buying used T-Mobile phones. Nothing can be done about this.
 

Newtons Apple

Suspended
Mar 12, 2014
22,764
14,920
Jacksonville, Florida
I'm actually surprised the rep gave you, a stranger information about someone else's account. That kind of info is usually private and not given out. This is a common issue with buying used T-Mobile phones. Nothing can be done about this.
The rep should not have given any information what so ever, not even the fact that it was only a small amount of money owed.
 

Ann P

macrumors 68020
Jun 29, 2009
2,309
9
California
That's the risk with buying secondhand phones. Personally, I always ask sellers for receipt if purchased full price, or proof of the EIP if the device has been paid off.

Can't you just pay off the account yourself?
Unfortunately not. They don't allow it, not even if $5 was owed.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
63,857
30,381
Boston
The rep should not have given any information what so ever, not even the fact that it was only a small amount of money owed.
Agreed, most companies, have very strict guidelines and clearly providing that level of detail is such that it crosses the line.

OP, sorry to about the issues, and it looks like the seller as indeed moved on. Without a way to contact him, there's really nothing you can do at this point.
 

mr99

macrumors 6502a
Jan 8, 2014
520
44
Can this really happen if the device isn't on your account any more?:eek:
 

Redskinsfan10

macrumors member
Feb 13, 2014
64
1
Lima, Peru
Look up his phone number on Craigslist (type it in the search field) maybe he has recently posted something and you can get in touch with him via email? Idk
 

Apple Trees

macrumors 6502
May 28, 2013
261
0
If he's not paying his phone bill then it's possible that he cut and run to another carrier and now has a different number.
 

andyACEcandy

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 11, 2008
863
14
If he's not paying his phone bill then it's possible that he cut and run to another carrier and now has a different number.
Possibly, but I'm assuming he ported his number to another carrier and just forgot about this one last payment he owes T-Mobile. I remember the guy... he definitely was not sketchy at all. Drove a fairly nice car, was white (just for description!), and really cool. He was the one who wanted to meet me at the T-Mobile store to make sure everything was good to go and activated before exchanging cash.

It's just a fairly odd way to scam someone. Here, let me sell you this phone today and make payments on it for the next 5 months then suddenly stop and scam you! Lol
 

mr99

macrumors 6502a
Jan 8, 2014
520
44
Possibly, but I'm assuming he ported his number to another carrier and just forgot about this one last payment he owes T-Mobile. I remember the guy... he definitely was not sketchy at all. Drove a fairly nice car, was white (just for description!), and really cool. He was the one who wanted to meet me at the T-Mobile store to make sure everything was good to go and activated before exchanging cash.

It's just a fairly odd way to scam someone. Here, let me sell you this phone today and make payments on it for the next 5 months then suddenly stop and scam you! Lol
You honestly never know..
 

cnotes2019

Suspended
Aug 17, 2013
1,514
56
Possibly, but I'm assuming he ported his number to another carrier and just forgot about this one last payment he owes T-Mobile. I remember the guy... he definitely was not sketchy at all. Drove a fairly nice car, was white (just for description!), and really cool. He was the one who wanted to meet me at the T-Mobile store to make sure everything was good to go and activated before exchanging cash.



It's just a fairly odd way to scam someone. Here, let me sell you this phone today and make payments on it for the next 5 months then suddenly stop and scam you! Lol

I agree I doubt it was a scam. I mean why would he pay for 5 months (waste his money) if his intent was to scam you in the end? He could have paid nothing or one month...
 

andyACEcandy

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 11, 2008
863
14
I agree I doubt it was a scam. I mean why would he pay for 5 months (waste his money) if his intent was to scam you in the end? He could have paid nothing or one month...
Exactly... it's just a shame I can't get back in touch with him. My only hope now is for T-Mobile to somehow get in touch with him to get him to pay this final payment for what I'm suspecting to be like $25 which is the monthly payment for an iphone 5 I believe.

I truly think it's a case of him switching to AT&T or something and everything finally got processed and he has one final payment left to be made to T-Mobile.

There would be no reason for him to have made payments on the phone for 5+ months and suddenly just stop and disappear. Why not just stop and disappear after 1 day, 1 week, or 1 month? So confused.
 

okwhatev

macrumors 6502
Oct 19, 2005
305
65
Exactly... it's just a shame I can't get back in touch with him. My only hope now is for T-Mobile to somehow get in touch with him to get him to pay this final payment for what I'm suspecting to be like $25 which is the monthly payment for an iphone 5 I believe.

I truly think it's a case of him switching to AT&T or something and everything finally got processed and he has one final payment left to be made to T-Mobile.

There would be no reason for him to have made payments on the phone for 5+ months and suddenly just stop and disappear. Why not just stop and disappear after 1 day, 1 week, or 1 month? So confused.
Get it factory unlocked (it costs around $130 to unlock t-mobile) and then use it on AT&T. If you want to use it on T-Mobile, you're probably screwed.
 

richwoodrocket

macrumors 68020
Apr 7, 2014
2,127
111
Buffalo, NY
It doesn't sound like a scam to me if the seller continued paying for the phone. I guess all you can do it wait and see if they return a phone call. I mean, if they got a new number, most likely then it would say number not available or something like that when you called it....
Maybe they're just away from their phone then.
I would say wait a while still before giving up hope.