• I Played the Amazon Grey Market Smartphone Lottery (and lost)



    Big fan of Amazon Prime over here... The free shipping is fantastic, but what seals the deal for yours truly time and time again is the almost-unbelievably generous return policy on every order. I've sent back memory cards that I've used, cameras that I've taken on trips abroad, even shoes that I've worn outside. And now, it seems, that I'm about to return this LG G6.

    Because I'm a Prime Member I honestly didn't put a lot of thought into this purchase—in fact, I bought the phone from my phone while wandering around a mall in Vancouver, a pit stop on the way home from Sri Lanka. I was still considering a smartphone purchase for 2017 and this particular G6 seemed to be compatible with Lineage OS, a good sign that it was a modding-friendly device. I dig the "scared robot" look on the back and, more importantly, prefer the idea of a wide-angle second camera over a telephoto one.

    The phone arrived in Toronto shortly after I did. It was only then I started paying attention to its specific model number: H870DS, a phone intended for sale in Hong Kong. This revelation brought with it some good news:

    This specific phone supports dual SIMs;
    There's 64 GB of storage, an extra 32 GB over North American models;
    It'll work in Asia (obviously), but there's also Band 7 LTE for my carrier here.

    ... And unfortunately, a few deal-breakers as well:

    There's no option for an app drawer on LG's Hong Kong ROM;
    I can't actually unlock the bootloader, let alone install Lineage OS.

    I took some photos with it earlier this week, but there's not much more I can do with the phone beyond that; no unlockable bootloader, no deal. Kind of a shame, really, as there's a lot to like about the G6.

    Has anyone else played the grey market smartphone lottery on Amazon? Feel free to share your experience below...

    Link: LG G6 Dual SIM on Amazon Canada

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    This article was originally published in forum thread: I Played the Amazon Grey Market Smartphone Lottery (and lost) started by acurrie View original post
    Comments 8 Comments
    1. SnowyWhite's Avatar
      SnowyWhite -
      Last year I bought a new unlocked international version of the Lumia 640 xl.
      Unfortunately it was made for the South American market I think.
      No 4G or LTE.
      T-Mobile recently stopped supporting whatever band it worked with 3G where I live.
      I tried using it on 2G and that was unpleasant.
      I stuck my Truphone SIM in it and that works on 3G fine but I'm not happy.
      The phone only cost me $19.99 USD because Amazon was giving me $70 to get their credit cards.
      But I am still disappointed that it doesn't work that great on T-Mobile which is my preferred carrier.

      As a WiFi toy it's pretty nice.
      I love Windows Phone especially the Lumia line of phones.
      The camera is great.
      Although nothing touches my Nokia Lumia 1020 in the camera department.

      I am used to carrying more than one phone so not a big deal.

      Sent from my Wonderful LG Phoenix 2
    1. acurrie's Avatar
      acurrie -
      Thanks for the comment!

      $20 for a phone—sorry, WiFi tablet—is still a pretty great deal; this unlocked G6 was $700 CAD, and I'd never gamble that amount of cash without the safety net of Amazon Prime.
    1. cyberstoic's Avatar
      cyberstoic -
      I have played the Amazon gray market smartphone lottery several times and lost.

      I ordered an HD7 that was supposed to be unlocked and have the bands for 3g in America. Even emailed the seller to make sure the model he would be sending. Of course they sent a completely different model for the middle east that did not have T-Mo's 3G bands. Complained to Amazon and their guarantee allowed me to return it.

      Also a few years back I ordered a Nokia Pureview 808. Seller sends one from Hong Kong (not the model they said it was) and it was definitely and obviously a refurb and not new like it said.

      After that, I decided that I was not going to play that lottery any longer because there are apparently (from reading comments) a lot of shady stuff going on and it is too much of a hassle to have to deal with getting a refund, sending it back, etc.
    1. themanhimself's Avatar
      themanhimself -
      I've had similar experiences. Phones were always different than what was specified. Now I wait for new phone prices to come down and generally avoid the online tactics. Some are honest but it's hard to tell until after you interact with them.

      The other day a friend bought a new s7 active on eBay. Turned out to be a used s6 active so he wasn't too thrilled

      Looks like the recent moto has dropped to $500 already at least on T-Mobile so phone prices can drop really fast.
    1. jb82's Avatar
      jb82 -
      Sorry but the buyer really ought to do their homework. It isn't a lottery if you pay attention to the details and do your homework. I mean the listing quite clearly gives you the model number and other details. Some listings are obviously lacking in details so should be avoided or there are warning signs in the reviews. Caveat emptor

      Amazon can close accounts for excessive and unreasonable returns so don't lean on it too it. It also is morally corrupt to return things that you know you shouldn't be returning. But who am I to tell you that
    1. David Walcott's Avatar
      David Walcott -
      I like to buy on EBAY and Swappa for most of my used phones. Honestly phones are getting boring it is the same black slab. The reason I get either an I phone or a Galaxy it is easy to fix. Also the phone will get software support. I gave my Dad a used iPhone 5 64GB and they just stopped supporting it. I heard the 5C the first Iphone I purchased postpaid is getting IOS 11. I gave the phone to my Dad to sell overseas and one of cousins bought it and still using it. I have a co-worker that loves HTC phones but can never find anyone to fix the phone.
    1. tech_head's Avatar
      tech_head -
      Quote Originally Posted by acurrie View Post
      Attachment 154175

      Big fan of Amazon Prime over here... The free shipping is fantastic, but what seals the deal for yours truly time and time again is the almost-unbelievably generous return policy on every order. I've sent back memory cards that I've used, cameras that I've taken on trips abroad, even shoes that I've worn outside. And now, it seems, that I'm about to return this LG G6.

      Because I'm a Prime Member I honestly didn't put a lot of thought into this purchase—in fact, I bought the phone from my phone while wandering around a mall in Vancouver, a pit stop on the way home from Sri Lanka. I was still considering a smartphone purchase for 2017 and this particular G6 seemed to be compatible with Lineage OS, a good sign that it was a modding-friendly device. I dig the "scared robot" look on the back and, more importantly, prefer the idea of a wide-angle second camera over a telephoto one.

      The phone arrived in Toronto shortly after I did. It was only then I started paying attention to its specific model number: H870DS, a phone intended for sale in Hong Kong. This revelation brought with it some good news:

      This specific phone supports dual SIMs;
      There's 64 GB of storage, an extra 32 GB over North American models;
      It'll work in Asia (obviously), but there's also Band 7 LTE for my carrier here.

      ... And unfortunately, a few deal-breakers as well:

      There's no option for an app drawer on LG's Hong Kong ROM;
      I can't actually unlock the bootloader, let alone install Lineage OS.

      I took some photos with it earlier this week, but there's not much more I can do with the phone beyond that; no unlockable bootloader, no deal. Kind of a shame, really, as there's a lot to like about the G6.

      Has anyone else played the grey market smartphone lottery on Amazon? Feel free to share your experience below...

      Link: LG G6 Dual SIM on Amazon Canada
      You can get an app drawer back by using Nova Prime. It costs a few bucks but is well worth it.
      If it doesn't work on your carrier try Swappa to get rid f it.
      I bought the unlocked US version from B&H.
    1. tfusr19's Avatar
      tfusr19 -
      You don't even have to buy Nova Prime, as the standard free Nova Launcher is so good - for those who have never tried it. I did buy the Prime version after being so impressed with Nova Launcher

      Quote Originally Posted by tech_head View Post
      You can get an app drawer back by using Nova Prime. It costs a few bucks but is well worth it.
      If it doesn't work on your carrier try Swappa to get rid f it.
      I bought the unlocked US version from B&H.