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rj41978

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 20, 2020
23
26
Bought an iPhone 13 PM on eBay and when I checked the Serial # for the warranty I get the message:
"We're sorry, but this is a serial number for a product that has been replaced. Please check your information and re-enter your serial number. If your information is correct, you may need to contact us."

I'm 99% the seller scammed me saying the iPhone had AppleCare+ which it doesn't.

Anyone else have any experience with this situation? I know now to never buy phones from eBay.
 

FreakinEurekan

macrumors 603
Sep 8, 2011
5,984
2,962
Likely, the phone HAD AppleCare+, but then they set up an Express Replacement (likely with a stolen credit card for the deposit) and never sent back the old phone - instead, they sold it… to you 😢

There are other possibilities, could be a stolen return shipment etc. Regardless, yeah - you got scammed.

If you paid via PayPal I think they have a process to get the money back? Haven’t had to look into that in quite a while. If you used any other payment method…. Well, you learned a lesson 😬
 

Fred Zed

macrumors 603
Aug 15, 2019
5,113
5,990
Florida Unfortunately
Likely, the phone HAD AppleCare+, but then they set up an Express Replacement (likely with a stolen credit card for the deposit) and never sent back the old phone - instead, they sold it… to you 😢

There are other possibilities, could be a stolen return shipment etc. Regardless, yeah - you got scammed.

If you paid via PayPal I think they have a process to get the money back? Haven’t had to look into that in quite a while. If you used any other payment method…. Well, you learned a lesson 😬
could it not just mean the iPhone was a replacement at some point by the previous owner ? Does it have the letter “N” in the model number ?
 

JPack

macrumors G5
Mar 27, 2017
12,895
24,432
Could also be cloned serial serial. Your S/N was programmed on another defective device and replaced at an Apple Store.
 

rj41978

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 20, 2020
23
26
Well the guy messaged back saying sorry and started the refund process. Definitely going to call him out when I send feedback to warn other people in the future
 
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FreakinEurekan

macrumors 603
Sep 8, 2011
5,984
2,962
could it not just mean the iPhone was a replacement at some point by the previous owner ? Does it have the letter “N” in the model number ?
That particular message means the phone was replaced, not a replacement. @JPack also has a valid possibility, serial number cloned and then replaced.
 
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FreakinEurekan

macrumors 603
Sep 8, 2011
5,984
2,962
Well the guy messaged back saying sorry and started the refund process. Definitely going to call him out when I send feedback to warn other people in the future
Make sure you follow the Buyer Protection process. Sometimes scam sellers will drag things out promising a refund, etc but having “Issues” while they run out the clock on that :/
 

Lyn2012

macrumors 6502a
Dec 26, 2007
675
267
My sister took her XS Max to Apple recently for a new battery. Their database said the serial number showed the phone no longer existed as it had been replaced; fortunately we had the original Apple invoice complete with serial number that matched the phone. Apple decided their database was in error and eventually corrected it which meant they could then replace the battery.
 
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JPack

macrumors G5
Mar 27, 2017
12,895
24,432
My sister took her XS Max to Apple recently for a new battery. Their database said the serial number showed the phone no longer existed as it had been replaced; fortunately we had the original Apple invoice complete with serial number that matched the phone. Apple decided their database was in error and eventually corrected it which meant they could then replace the battery.

It's almost always because someone else in the world cloned the serial. They programmed it onto another device or simply generated a fake invoice for a non-functional unit. Once that unit is replaced, the original serial is marked as out of service by Apple.
 

GMShadow

macrumors 68000
Jun 8, 2021
1,935
7,895
Correct. Having the original invoice or receipt in those cases is always your friend.
 

GP-SE

macrumors 6502
Feb 27, 2013
344
52
My sister took her XS Max to Apple recently for a new battery. Their database said the serial number showed the phone no longer existed as it had been replaced; fortunately we had the original Apple invoice complete with serial number that matched the phone. Apple decided their database was in error and eventually corrected it which meant they could then replace the battery.
I am going through this myself with an iPhone 8 Plus I gave to a family member. They wanted to replace the battery, but apple said the device was replaced. I know it wasn't as I bought it new from the Apple Store and never exchanged it. I found the original receipt and will be going back for the battery replacement in the next week or two.
 

Shadowbech

macrumors G3
Oct 18, 2011
9,038
5,894
I am going through this myself with an iPhone 8 Plus I gave to a family member. They wanted to replace the battery, but apple said the device was replaced. I know it wasn't as I bought it new from the Apple Store and never exchanged it. I found the original receipt and will be going back for the battery replacement in the next week or two.
Something similar also happened to my iphone 8 Plus few years ago. Of course at the time the serial number was not randomized so like post #10 indicated, since it's not randomized the serial number could be spoofed.

However my case was my phone screen was shattered to pieces and the phone was bent. When they ran the serial number, they found that the phone I had in possession should have been turned into apple as it showed in their system that it was already replaced. Per the note on the case, there was already a case # made for that particular phone in Apple Store in California. I let the tech know that I have never been to the Apple store in California. He basically told me that it's possible that one of the genius may have mistyped the serial number of that customer's device and ended up guessing and typing up my serial number.

For me I didn't need a receipt or invoice to indicate it was mine. What they did was they hooked it up to their macbooks and ran a software to send the serial number of my device to telling Apple that the serial number tied to the phone still existed and that it was still at customer's hand. Only then I was able to get the phone replaced. Plus the phone was on iUP.
 
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JPack

macrumors G5
Mar 27, 2017
12,895
24,432
Even with random "serial" numbers, it can still be cloned.

The source of these numbers comes from low-level Apple employees working in retail.

For retail employees, it's typical to use the Zombie Check dongle to verify the serial number. But sophisticated fraudsters can program the S/N on the logic board components. It's a cat and mouse game which is why it still happens with iPhone 13.
 
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