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Old 03-19-08, 12:20 PM   #1
ManBearPig
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Could this be a scam -- buyer of cellphone asking for help to unlock it

Guy bought my cell phone on eBay, paid for it in person in cash, gave him the phone. Good transaction. Then got a call a few days later from (at least allegedly) a Tmobile rep who apologizes that he was trying to reach that buyer. How did that happen? Well, the rep says he was trying to unlock the phone thru Tmobile.

Then buyer contacts me the next day saying he's trying to get it unlocked for his mom to travel overseas, and that the unlock code Tmobile sent him is not working due to defective phone, so would I mind doing a handset swap. I felt reluctant at first to waste any time on this (after all, i didn't sell the phone under condition that I was providing these extra time and services). But he is a nice guy so I call Tmobile, explain it, and they send a replacement handset. I meet the guy exchange the phone, send the old one back. When I met him I said I hoped this wouldnt delay his mom's travel, and he said he just called to reschedule her flight.

Now he emails me today that Tmobile wont send him the unlock code since the IMEA is associated w/me, so I need to call Tmob to request the unlock code. I called Tmob and requested it, but then asked what the deal was and found out Tmob supposedly wont ever provide unlock code except to person on the account associated with the phone. So, how did he allegedly get the unlock code the FIRST time?

This is all starting to sound strange. Am I being paranoid, or does this sound like some sort of scam? What possible scam could this be?
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Old 03-19-08, 12:24 PM   #2
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Towlie,

I never understood the selling of cell phones when virtually every contract gives phones away for free... So, I would be wary, but I have no idea what the scam could be.
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Old 03-19-08, 12:25 PM   #3
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If you sold the phone as is, or stated it was locked to T-Mobile, its not your problem. You have already done as much good faith efforts as you can.
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Old 03-19-08, 12:29 PM   #4
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If you sold the phone as is, or stated it was locked to T-Mobile, its not your problem. You have already done as much good faith efforts as you can.
I agree, I don't feel obligated, just trying to do a favor for a seemingly nice guy, but it's ended up taking more time than it's worth.

(also, it's a phone that costs $250 even with a new contract)
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Old 03-19-08, 12:38 PM   #5
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I always unlock my phones, T mobile gives you ONE unlock every 30 days for a phone you own, if you are currently in good standing with them.

I think he bought it trying to do an unlock, futzed up the first one, then tried to get you to assist in doing it.

Basically an unlocked phone is worth an extra $100 street price. Iphones are worth an extra $200 typically due to contract issues.
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Old 03-19-08, 12:52 PM   #6
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I never knew that T-Mobile offers unlocks that way. I have always unlocked mine by either a custom ROM flash, or obtaining the unlock code from an IMEI list.

I like T-Mo as a provider, of all the cellphone companies, I have had the best service with them on a daily basis.
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Old 03-19-08, 12:53 PM   #7
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If you sold the phone as is, or stated it was locked to T-Mobile, its not your problem. You have already done as much good faith efforts as you can.
Tmobile requires you to have an account in good standing for 90 days before you can get your phone unlocked. Unless something has really changed, there's no way you were called by a tmobile rep.

You've already put more time in this than necessary. The worst case scenario for his mom is that she can either pay for international roaming or get super cheap phone as soon as she arrives. Either way, she'll be able to communicate and the money saved by the phone unlock is not worth that much hassle.
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Old 03-19-08, 01:26 PM   #8
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I kinda wondered about the resale angle. Maybe he is not really buying it for mom but instead trying to buy the phone, unlock it for free using the seller's credentials, and then resell it for a $100 upcharge. Wouldn't be worth the hassle for me, but I suppose he might think it's worth the $100.

I actually think it was a Tmobile rep cause it seems like the rep I spoke with next day had knowledge of the unlock attempt from her notes. But it's all hazy to me now.
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Old 03-19-08, 01:56 PM   #9
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I wrote the buyer:

Hey, I've given this some more thought and I am afraid I am going to have to charge another 75 bucks for this unlocking service. I'm not upset, but I didn't agree to all of this extra stuff as a condition of sale -- not only the time and phonecalls, but the liability of shipping phones back and forth under my name. My time is billed out at $___/hour, and I've already sunk about 3 additional otherwise billable hours into a phone that I let go for $180. Currently, an unlocked phone adds about another 100 bucks to the street price of the phone, but I will only charge $75. Besides, by the time you finally get the right info, your mom's flight will have left town already. She can probably find a cheap or free phone when she gets to her destination anyway. Sorry.
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Old 03-19-08, 02:00 PM   #10
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Uhh, kinda OT but how do you get an unlock code form Tmobile? I'm travelling to China on Friday and having an unlocked phone will save me from spending on a phone there, no matter how cheap.
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Old 03-19-08, 02:06 PM   #11
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Apparently you just call them and ask for it.
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