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Thread: Stuck with iPhone AT&T says is stolen. Options?

  1. #1
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    Stuck with iPhone AT&T says is stolen. Options?

    A "friend" who was moving away wanted to switch to T-Mobile. They traded me their 4s for my unlocked out of contract iPhone 4 (dumb move on my part). Now my number on my 4s is getting locked and I get the message "we're sorry this device has been blocked from network use". Called At&t and they unlocked the line but it relocked in an hour. Now they tell me the phone is stolen and to go to a local At&t store to discuss the problem.

    Anyone else actually gone into a store with a reported stolen phone?

    And no, I did not steal the phone nor did I know it was stolen. I not only asked the person I swapped with BUT I CALLED AT&T BEFORE TRADING FOR THIS PHONE AND ATT REFUSED TO GIVE ME ANY INFORMATION ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT IT WAS A STOLEN PHONE.

    I'm honestly more pissed at At&t then the person that screwed me over. If At&t was doing thing to protect their customer they would have told me it was a stolen phone when I asked instead of leaving me to guess and then get locked out 3 months later. I feel that At&t is just trying to sell more phones instead of trying to protect their customers.

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    Wow !!! Way to go blaming the carrier without going to a store as requested. What if your "friend" reported the phone stolen after giving you his phone? Your anger is misplaced considering you haven't actually had the chance to go to the store yet. If a phone is reported as stolen, there is a procedure to resolve the problem.
    If I'm annoyed and you're annoyed, does that make us a paranoid ??

    Sarcasm is a fine art...

    "Don't believe everything you think"

    It's not a matter of if you win or lose, it's how you assign the blame

  3. #3
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    Interesting. Att said they would start blocking phones reported stolen or lost from their network. This is first time I have heard it happening.

    I know T-Mobile has been blocking phones reported lost stolen or bills past due. But this is first I heard from ATT doing it.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I747 using HowardForums

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    Quote Originally Posted by veriztd View Post
    Wow !!! Way to go blaming the carrier without going to a store as requested. What if your "friend" reported the phone stolen after giving you his phone? Your anger is misplaced considering you haven't actually had the chance to go to the store yet. If a phone is reported as stolen, there is a procedure to resolve the problem.
    I don't think phone was stolen. I think the OP's friend shafted ATT on late bills not paid and hopped over to T-Mobile with unlocked iPhone 4.

    I believe ATT may have started enforcing blacklisting their phones where customer hasn't paid the bills in addition to blacklisting lost/stolen phones.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I747 using HowardForums

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    Actually the more research I did. It seems att has started actively disabling stolen phones on their network like the rest of the 3 other big carriers.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I747 using HowardForums

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    Why wouldn't I be mad at At&t? They refused to tell me if a phone was stolen or not before I purchased it but suddenly they tell me it is stolen (after months of use). So I can either walk into a store with $700 worth of stolen electronics or buy a new phone. Do you think At&t is acting like this to protect their customers or do you think someone figured out how to force a large number of people to sign up for new contracts to get subsidized phones? And now they refuse to tell me when it was reported stolen so I have no idea if it was reported after I got it or long before that.

    Does anyone here feel safe buying a used iPhone at any price when you have no way to verify it isn't stolen and it may suddenly be turned off by At&t? In the future the only safe iPhone to buy may be a new one. Even if you haven't ever bought one, what do you think is going to happen to the resell value of phones that you want to sell when people can't feel safe in purchasing them.

    Don't get me wrong, I want cell phone theft stopped but what At&t should have done is:
    a) Provide a way to verify a phone isn't stolen before buying it
    b) refuse to mark an IMEI number as stolen once it has been on some else's account for a period of time (say a week, plenty of time for a legitimate report)
    c) only start blocking IMEI numbers for phones reported stolen after a & b were available

    Anything else is designed to create FUD in order to kill off the used market and promote contract renewals.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasetec View Post
    Does anyone here feel safe buying a used iPhone at any price when you have no way to verify it isn't stolen and it may suddenly be turned off by At&t?Even if you haven't ever bought one, what do you think is going to happen to the resell value of phones that you want to sell when people can't feel safe in purchasing them.
    I used to purchase phones on CG, but not anymore. CG is too risky and provides no accountability from the seller.
    There are tons of third party dealers and eBay members for which to purchase goods.

    Don't get me wrong, I want cell phone theft stopped but what At&t should have done is:
    a) Provide a way to verify a phone isn't stolen before buying it
    b) refuse to mark an IMEI number as stolen once it has been on some else's account for a period of time (say a week, plenty of time for a legitimate report)
    c) only start blocking IMEI numbers for phones reported stolen after a & b were available

    Anything else is designed to create FUD in order to kill off the used market and promote contract renewals.
    b.) Stolen property which has fallen through the cracks is still stolen property, regardless of the source you acquire it from or how long you have "owned" it. You don't own and never will own stolen property which has fallen through the cracks. The finders keepers rule doesn't apply here, as it seems you suggested.

    Just something to think about.

    Quote Originally Posted by aneftp View Post
    I don't think phone was stolen. I think the OP's friend shafted ATT on late bills not paid and hopped over to T-Mobile with unlocked iPhone 4.

    I believe ATT may have started enforcing blacklisting their phones where customer hasn't paid the bills in addition to blacklisting lost/stolen phones.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I747 using HowardForums
    That likely could be the case.
    People usually report their stolen device immediately to AT&T instead of waiting 3 months or devices stolen from AT&T stores/dealers will be counted against listed inventory within a few days.
    Last edited by i0wnj00; 09-04-2012 at 03:29 AM.

  8. #8
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    I can't believe the OP is posting this, getting suckered is embarrassing normally! When he said TMO what were you thinking? And for a first I don't think ATT needs to do anything, if my neighbor ripped off my my garden hose would I blame Hoses-R-US?

    Btw, I'm thinking he was a friend, so call the Police where he now lives! Tweet the idiot! You can even post the tweet so we just might believe you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CA View Post
    I can't believe the OP is posting this, getting suckered is embarrassing normally! When he said TMO what were you thinking? And for a first I don't think ATT needs to do anything, if my neighbor ripped off my my garden hose would I blame Hoses-R-US?
    Geez, blame the victim much? Besides trusting a fellow human being, what did I do wrong to be embarrassed about? I tried to do everything right, I guess only idiots buy used phones. Does hoses-r-us keep a database of stolen hoses? Do they refuse to share that information with you until they show up to take the hose from you?

    Quote Originally Posted by CA View Post
    Btw, I'm thinking he was a friend, so call the Police where he now lives! Tweet the idiot! You can even post the tweet so we just might believe you.
    I wish... literally an hour before I tried to get a hold of them to demand my phone back they had tweeted about losing (in another state). They said it was stolen from them (and yes, I believe them because they had no way to know I was about to ask for it back).

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    Quote Originally Posted by i0wnj00 View Post
    I used to purchase phones on CG, but not anymore. CG is too risky and provides no accountability from the seller.
    There are tons of third party dealers and eBay members for which to purchase goods.
    I know CG is shady, but why is eBay better? Can you really open a dispute 3 months after a sale?


    Quote Originally Posted by i0wnj00 View Post
    b.) Stolen property which has fallen through the cracks is still stolen property, regardless of the source you acquire it from or how long you have "owned" it. You don't own and never will own stolen property which has fallen through the cracks. The finders keepers rule doesn't apply here, as it seems you suggested.
    I'm not suggesting that it isn't still stolen. I'm saying all At&t is doing is creating two victims instead of one. The person that originally owned the phone and the idiot (me) dumb enough to buy it. Only the thief gets away.


    Quote Originally Posted by i0wnj00 View Post
    People usually report their stolen device immediately to AT&T instead of waiting 3 months or devices stolen from AT&T stores/dealers will be counted against listed inventory within a few days.
    Right, which is why I think I think At&t knew the device was stolen but refused to tell me when I tried to check.

    I mean what is the harm in telling people an IMEI number is stolen? I used to see the recommendation that you should meet up at a At&t store, buy a new sim if needed, and test the used phone you were going to buy before the sale but now that doesn't help.

  11. #11
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    You simply can not go after ATT, but you can pester them by forcing mediation. And that phone may of been good, but went bad after the bill wasn't paid, ATT had no way of knowing that!

    And why tell you when they plan to have you possibly arrested when you went to the store! On the phone they can't reach out and grab the phone. If I was them I would of grabbed the phone and called the police on what looked like a conspiracy. Hell there are some that would meet with you and beat on you until you gave it up and tell them everything you know. Then take your wallet and have a shopping spree with any credit cards.

    I'm not picking on you, but you sound young and haven't learned a few lessons yet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CA View Post
    And why tell you when they plan to have you possibly arrested when you went to the store! On the phone they can't reach out and grab the phone. If I was them I would of grabbed the phone and called the police on what looked like a conspiracy.
    So this is something I'm curious about. I don't think I'm ever going to get to use this phone unless the original owner (not sure who it is) reactivates the phone. Is being told to go to a local store a trap or is it a phone rep not wanting to tell me I'm SOL or is there something magical a local rep can do that a phone rep can't? Heck, I'd love it if I could find out who the original owner is so I could get this straightened out or just return the thing.

  13. #13
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    AT&T wasn't even blocking stolen IMEIs 3 months ago so I'm not sure why you are hurt they didn't tell you it would be blocked....3 months in the future....BTW blocking is immediate, it isn't like it is reported stolen and in 3-X amount of months later it stops working.

    And you refuse to follow their directions to resolve the issue with it being blocked or hear the reason because you have a tin-foil hat theory that if you go to the store and it really was stolen that secret agents will repel down from the ceiling and cart you off to jail?

    This doesn't add up >_< I think I agree with CA. Life lessons are in the middle of being learned.
    My opinions are my own and do not reflect the opinions of my employer AT&T.

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    If you go to the store, at worst, they will insist that you leave the phone with them until the issue is resolved. No store rep will activate the phone for you at this point if it is reported as lost/stolen. Neither a phone rep or store rep will offer you additional details as to why it was blocked.

    It would be no different if you bought something from a pawn shop that was later reported stolen, or if someone gave you counterfeit currency that you attempted to buy something with. In both cases, it could be confiscated and you would not be compensated for your loss.

    Sorry to hear about your situation, but those are the harsh realities.

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    Yea, I printed a bunch of twentys one day and the bank wouldn't give me new ones when I said that I got them here.
    Today a group of leading venture capitalists published an open letter to the FCC calling on them to prevent what they say would be the end of net neutrality and a crippling blow to young startups.
    No Google, say it ain't (or wouldn't of been ) so! ATT and Verizon would have killed their own cash cow.

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