questionsgood place to find (used?) phone deals?

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I was about to buy a used phone until I was made aware of a huge insurance scam.

What happens is people will buy a phone and get the theft/breakage protection on it. They sell it for a reduced price, wait until they get positive feedback (a couple months) and then they report it stolen. The insurance company will block the IMEI number so the phone cannot be used on any domestic network and you're out all the money you spent. The person you bought the phone from paid a small deductible and ended up with another new phone and your money.

Unless it is from a very good friend that you trust, I wouldn't buy a used phone from anywhere. It can be guaranteed to work and you can test it and that means nothing. These people are smart and they wait a couple months before making the claim and you lose all chargeback rights by that time.

vote-for9vote-against

Have you checked out Swappa yet? I've heard from quite a few folks who have gotten used phones from there that have been very happy with them & the service. They seem to have a pretty strict listing policy that is set in place to protect the buyer. Have a look here: http://swappa.com/faq/general/listing_device_criteria

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@jtanner1

Thanks for the info. I bought a used android phone a couple of months ago but quickly figured out it wouldn't work for what I wanted it for so I didn't know what to do with it. Maybe I can get a few bucks for it.

@cengland0

I hadn't heard about that scam. I guess I got lucky with the phone I bought. It is amazing the things crooks come up with....

cf cf
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@jtanner1: One thing I learned from your link is they have a cool IMEI checker. If it's not a clean IMEI, it can tell you.

http://swappa.com/esn

However, those results cannot be guaranteed.

vote-for5vote-against

@cf: Ain't it though? I must have been raised wrong: this stuff just never occurs to me.

vote-for7vote-against

I just used their ESN checker tool. The first try was weird results (I think it didn't like the no-script tool being on), the second try showed my ESN as being okay. Neat tool. It limits you to 20 checks a day.

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@magic cave

They are extremely ingenious but I think they must be built differently than we. I would feel, I don't know, dirty? Also, I am too lazy for crime. I will go to any amount of trouble when something is worth accomplishing. "Worth accomplishing" is anything I feel good about, even if no one else knows about it. Unfortunately, sometimes it is hard to convince oneself that dusting is worth accomplishing.

cf cf
vote-for5vote-against

@magic cave: I'm with you on that! A few years ago our Internal Auditor made us change security access for all of my HR and Payroll folks. They said that the way it was set up we could be creating new positions, putting fake people in them, setting their pay as high as we could, then routing their paychecks to our own bank accounts.

Dang! I never even thought of that!

On the used phone deals, thanks for posting the question. We need to replace DD's iPhone3 but don't want to sign another contract for her since she is out of the house and planning to get married in the next decade or so (I just wish they would elope and get it over with). I think she wants to stay with an iPhone, but I hadn't thought about the insurance scam possibility. Good info, @cengland0!

vote-for6vote-against

Swappa is a good place to buy used phones, but, keep in mind that as with anywhere selling used phones, there are scams. Make sure you buy from someone that seems trustworthy. There is a comments section on every listing. Make sure you engage with the seller and gauge their trustworthiness. I would advise buying from someone that has a long standing Swappa account and has sold at least a couple devices with good feedback. I recently bought a Note 3 there in March. Well, just a couple days ago the phone got blacklisted by T-Mobile for being bought with a stolen credit card. Luckily I was within PayPal 45 day buyer protection and got a refund and sent the phone back to the seller. So, as with any place, make sure you do some research before just jumping on a great deal. You can also look for refurbished devices on reputable sites like Newegg, Cowboom, bestbuy.com and even Sprint.com.

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@cf: "...hard to convince oneself that dusting is worth accomplishing."

Oh, lordy, yes indeed! My mother (who was an almost obsessive cleaner and tidier, as were many women in the 40's and 50's) used to joke that she saw no great reason to change the sheets on the bed, since she'd just have to do it all over again in 3-4 weeks.

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@belyndag: One of the clinics I used to manage had an accountant who was a real stickler about things like that. (As one would want her to be, if one is legitimate.) Once or twice a year she'd phone the day before payday and ask us to hold the checks [long ago, before direct deposit] until she arrived. We'd then have to show her a photo ID to prove we weren't ghost employees.

Oh, and did I mention that that clinic had a grand total of seven employees, and we'd all been around for at least five years?

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I got a couple cheap phones off of http://www.mobilekarma.com/ and have had no issues with them.

vote-for5vote-against

@jtanner1: Such a place does not exist. You're taking a chance no matter where you go. I listed a phone on Swappa. Before doing as such I called Sprint (twice) and asked them if the IMEI was clear and they said yes. Swappa's IMEI checker ALSO said the phone was clear. So I listed it. A month later I got a bill from Sprint for $499. I wasn't trying to scam anyone or rip off anyone. Luckily, I didn't have a buyer and immediately pulled my listing. I had the best intentions, but if my phone had sold, I would have used the money to buy another similarly priced phone with another carrier and would not have been able to refund the buyer his/her money. Good luck.

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@juan2345678: I noticed you specifically stated "with another carrier". Was that $500 an early termination fee? If that is the case the phone you had for sale should have still worked fine. Cutting service shouldn't put a "stolen" lock on the phone.

vote-for3vote-against

Well, this is really scary. I guess I'll wait a couple more months before I try to sell my phone to make sure that it isn't compromised in some way.

@magic_cave
That is funny! I don't have a problem with changing sheets weekly, it is such a nice feeling to have everything all clean, but I have sheets that need to be ironed. That is a pain. It just occurred to me that all of the things (work shirts, sheets) that need ironing are summer things. I think I am doing it wrong.

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I also recommend swappa. Just make sure to buy from a reputable seller. A phone aficionado friend of mine has bought and sold 5-6 phones through there and always recommends it to people looking for phones.

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If you are just biding your time until your current contract runs out, you are probably best served by buying the best two year old phone you can find that has just come off contact from a friend or a friend of a friend. Galaxy 3s if you are so inclined should start flooding the market in the next few weeks and drop in price substantially especially a cdma based one from Sprint. Not sure what other models from Sprint would be of that generation but Google should be able to point you in the right direction.

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Thank you everyone for the advice, caution and links. I'll look through swappa. I'm thinking that yes, I'll focus my search on a really good older gen phone like an S3.

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I had a great experience with Mobilekarma. I got a phone from them and it started having problems a week after the warranty expired. I emailed them asking if there was anything I could do. They replied within the hour and they had me send it back. As soon as it got there they overnighted a replacement that has worked flawlessly for years. I would definitely use them again.

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I got a galaxy note 2 on sprint network for sale. Clean esn