Is it legal to sell unlocked iPhones?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by mrat93, Feb 20, 2008.

  1. mrat93 macrumors 65816

    mrat93

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    Dec 30, 2006
    #1
    I'm trying to find a new way to make money, but my dad wants to make sure my idea is 100% legal. From what I've read, unlocking an iPhone for one's self is legal. I also know how to use, (and used for myself), iJailbreak. My question is: Is it legal to sell the iPhone unlocked? I checked eBay, and there are currently over 2000 listings for unlocked iPhones. I emailed eBay on the subject and they said I have to find out if it's legal myself.
     
  2. Justinerator macrumors 6502

    Justinerator

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    #2
    YOU WILL GO TO JAIL.

    Jk. I think you'll be fine...
     
  3. SFStateStudent macrumors 604

    SFStateStudent

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    #3
    Ditto...

    you may want to seek legal counsel on this matter! Why don't you send a message to those eBayers and ask them. I think you would be much more successful going to Business School and take the world on with a Baccalaureate Degree and then a Masters Degree. It sounds like you might still be in high school. STAY IN SCHOOL!:cool:
     
  4. Luis macrumors 65816

    Luis

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    #4
    AFAIK isn't it legal to unlock it yourself, BUT ilegal to make money out of it (eg, selling it)?
     
  5. carfac macrumors 65816

    carfac

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    #5
    I think I would be asking myself how many of those 2000 iPhones are selling, too.
     
  6. polishmacuser macrumors 6502a

    polishmacuser

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    #6
    then what about freeit4less they sell unlocked iphones and unlock them for you ????
     
  7. CD3660 macrumors 68040

    CD3660

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    #7
    Whether or not it is illegal, don't be under the illusion that you will make any real money from this proposed scheme. As you rightly observe there are over 2000 listings on eBay suggesting that the world and his wife have jumped on this bandwagon already.

    The market for unlocked iPhones is flooded so the profits are becoming minimal.

    Bearing in mind the high cost of purchase, the very small profit by way of return, and the very real possibility of being scammed by an unscrupulous purchaser (thereby sustaining a significant loss), it just isn't worth it!
     
  8. Sobe macrumors 68000

    Sobe

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    #8
    I think it's a situation where Apple probably could go after you and make your life miserable with lawsuits, but I doubt they could make anything criminal stick.

    I don't see what law is being broken, but if someone out there knows of one, please inform us/me.
     
  9. senorFunkyPants macrumors 6502

    senorFunkyPants

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    #9
    As long as you are not mis-representing what you are doing....ie claiming to be an agent of Apple selling brand new phones ...then there are no legal issues to worry about.
    However there are tax implications from selling items on Ebay that you have specifically bought to resell. Nothing worth worrying about on a small scale but a problem if you are trying to make a living out of it in which case you would have to trade as a business.
    I bought and sold mobiles on Ebay for about a year and you can make some handy spare cash but its never going to make you rich with the margins involved.
     
  10. mrat93 thread starter macrumors 65816

    mrat93

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    #10
    Yeah I just started my Freshman year in September.

    On the first page of completed listings, the only ones that didn't sell were either manually ended, or costs way too much ($800+). Still, most people were making about $200 profit for each phone.

    "You'll be fine" isn't enough. Even if Apple wrote to me saying "it's okay", not, "it's legal" to do it, my dad still wouldn't let me sell it.

    Well I'm only 15, so I'm not trying to make a living off of this.
     
  11. avaloncourt macrumors 65816

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    #11
    One thing you'd have to keep in mind is the average person buying the iPhone. You unlock and phone and sell it to Joe X on ebay. Apple does a firmware update 10 days later. Joe X accepts the update and undoes the unlock and/or potentially screws up the phone. Joe X now screams at you because the phone is not working. Joe X files a claim against you with PayPal because the phone isn't working or files a chargeback with his credit card issuer. At this point you're pretty screwed because it's going to be hard to defend yourself because the iPhone isn't working in the manner it was originally designed and, of course, Apple is going to say it's not their fault. It's your problem for messing with it in the first place.

    Of course, you will always have the people like the other thread where the person's son has dropped his phone 100+ times. If there's no visible damage to a phone and they claim it isn't working you're going to be stuck because you can't prove they did something to it.
     
  12. Corvillus macrumors member

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    #12
    It depends on where you're going to be selling them too. If you're selling them in the US, the legal status of that is technically dubious. The DMCA has an exemption that allows you as a consumer to unlock your own wireless device for the sole purpose of connecting to the wireless carrier of your choice. Now the key words here are "sole purpose". As soon as you're making any money off it, suddenly you've introduced another purpose, and aren't protected by that exemption.

    Now, if you're unlocking and selling those phones in most other countries, legality shouldn't be as much of an issue.
     
  13. avaloncourt macrumors 65816

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    #13
    Unitl an unlocked phone isn't working and Apple refuses to do anything with it because it's been modified in an unauthorized way. Then it will go back on him.
     
  14. iSamurai macrumors 65816

    iSamurai

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    #14

    jailbreak yourself if you're caught. :D:D


    it's legal if:
    - you're selling it outside US and/or other countries that has iphones launched (to avoid complications) - im not saying you can't sell unlocked iphones in US
    - the buying party knows that it's purchasing an unlocked iphone
    - and they know that by unlocking an iphone warranty could be voided and stuff not working (ie. if they brick it)

    and so on.
     
  15. kdarling macrumors demi-god

    kdarling

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    #15
    If you search around for phone unlocking lawsuits, you'll find that there are a couple of major ones.

    IIRC, one is about a company in Florida that does/did mass unlocking of various phones for resale. I think the carrier tried to stop them.

    Another lawsuit is about a carrier trying to relock phones.

    Basically, I don't think it's been decided yet. Obviously it's not something Apple goes after very much or we'd hear about it.

    The bigger problem is your competition. Lots of it :)

    You could always just do what others do: advertise your ability to unlock on craigslist. No investment needed.
     
  16. ghettochris macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 19, 2008
    #16
    your efforts might be better off selling us itunes vouchers to those overseas so they can buy us movies and tv shows. less cost/risk involved (not $400 each time) more or less legal? not sure
     
  17. mrat93 thread starter macrumors 65816

    mrat93

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    #17
    I can put warnings in the listing in big letters saying "If iTunes asks you to update the iPhone software, DO NOT DO IT. You will mess up your iPhone." The instructions show how to restore it if there's a problem. Once I build a reputation for selling, I'd show some of my feedback comments and say something like "10+ iPhones sold! Buy with confidence" ... and later "No returns." I sold over 20 Wiis and haven't had one problem yet.
     
  18. mrat93 thread starter macrumors 65816

    mrat93

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    #18
    I'm actually doing that now. I bought (8) $25 cards and sold 2 so far and made about $13... It was weird though.. The guy was in California.
     
  19. avaloncourt macrumors 65816

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    #19
    And after 90 days the listing is no longer available. It will be very hard for you to prove anything if someone comes back on you and you claim your terms. Anything provided at that point could be claimed to be fabricated.

    But were they hacked Wiis with a WiiKey or D2C chip? Probably not. So, you're comparing apples to oranges. The Wiis were factory stock. The iPhones would not be. The people who bought the Wiis could send them back to Nintendo for repair.
     
  20. JCastro macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 12, 2008
    #20
    IMO it is not worth the risk. If you are a huge reseller and can afford to spend money to make money it would be one thing. But you aren't...
     
  21. Sobe macrumors 68000

    Sobe

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    #21
    So you're one of the people responsible for no stock store shelves. Thanks a ton! =D

    Of course with the inventory trackers, it's not really an issue anymore.
     
  22. uPhone macrumors regular

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    Sep 15, 2007
    #22
    I'm also 15, a sophmore in high school.

    Ive been unlock phones locally and recently started selling phones on ebay.

    I made about $4500 since october.

    this is quick fast money but I am goine g to stop selling iPhones on ebay because as others of said the margins have gone down and now make $50-$60 per phone as opposed to $100-$150 before.

    I have a new idea to make money and it has to do with iPhones.. but not selling or unlocking them for money.

    Hopefully my idea will go live in one month!!
     
  23. iSamurai macrumors 65816

    iSamurai

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    #24
    iphone aftermarket services? are you going to help ppl update/unlock/unbrick or whatever iphones as a services? :)
     
  24. uPhone macrumors regular

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    Sep 15, 2007
    #25
    Nope. Don't worry, I'll show you in one month.
     

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