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Used phone bought from problem seller on Ebay - can she lock it?


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Hello. I recently bought a used mobile phone off Ebay. It took the woman ages to send it (she claimed that she was waiting for funds to "clear through the system" despite my paying through PayPal, instantly), and I kicked up a bit of a fuss, saying that I didn't appreciate being lied to, and that I expected the phone to be posted immediately.

 

Anyway, I finally got the phone Yesterday, but upon powering-up, it asked for a "phone unlock code". I'm pretty sure that she did it to spite me, so that I'd have to go groveling to her for the code. I didn't; I just opened a Paypal dispute and demanded the code. Which she gave.

 

So it works now. But she is an absolute witch (to put it mildly) and I worry that she might report it as stolen and block the handset. I wouldn't be entirely surprised if she memorised the IMEI for the sole purpose of annoying me.

 

So is there any safeguard against this? I have the box and the charger and the cables and everything. And the Paypal receipt, of course - would these help me to prove ownership if she did report it as stolen? Or would my proof fall on deaf eyes, so to speak?

 

Thanks for reading.

Edited by fatherchristmas
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First - was it a PayPal e-cheque? This CAN take up to a week before the funds arrive. If it was a normal PP payment,she may have been awaiting to withdraw the funds (some do).

 

As to 'locking' the handset - it sounds as though it has a standard SIM lock, which is put there by the network physically at the point of distribution. It will ONLY work with the SIM cards from the same network, unless you go to a local dealer to have the handset unlocked- or you can possibly find the unlock codes online. Either way, the seller couldn't control this!

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Hello.

 

No, I definitely paid by an instant money transfer through PayPal. I even rang PayPal to check that she had been paid. As for waiting to withdraw the funds before posting it - well, that's just not on. Postage was only £2.51 (even though she charged £10) so it's not like she couldn't afford to send it. And she knew that she had been paid. It said so on her Ebay and PayPal overview pages. And she would have received an email telling her, too. And she confirmed herself that she had been paid - she said something along the lines of "thanks for paying so quickly through paypal, I'll send the phone as soon as funds have cleared through the system" without explaining what exactly "the system" was or how long it would take for funds to "clear through" it.

 

And, no, the lock was definitely on the handset itself. It was an O2 phone and I used an O2 simcard. And I don't think sim-locks ask for a code, anyway. And I find it hard to believe that anybody would even have a lock on their handset, never mind that they would innocently leave it locked when selling it. Especially after I had the cheek to point out that it's not okay to post (that's **post**) an item one-and-a-half weeks after receiving an instant payment for it.

 

But she has given me the code now, anyway.

 

I just worry that - given the hassle that she has already caused me - she might report it as stolen, leaving me with naught but a fancy-looking brick.

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Regarding postage - I bought one on eBay and was charged £9.50 - but I accepted this as the fee for Special Delivery would not be far off it. It never arrived! The seller had sent it Recorded Delivery, and the receipt he sent me showed the total cost he paid to post it was £2.30! I didn't feel the slightest guilt as PayPal gave me my money back and he got £33 or so from Royal Mail in compensation (I had paid £180).

 

On handsets there are 4 'locks', the handset PIN, the SIM card PIN, and the Equipment ID - called the IMEI. The user controls the first 2 but how they are described varies for each phone manufacturer. It would be easy to forget the first is there, especially if it is only called into play when the handset it powered on. This will be simple to disable from the phone menu, but it IS useful to have. The SIM PIN likewise protects your network connection, and will lock the phone from the network by disabling the SIM after 3 incorrect attempts. A Network provided PUK code is required to unlock the SIM. The IMEI can be the killer, as you point out the supplying network can and will block it if asked to by the original owner. You can get it unlocked by proving ownership, but it's a tortuous process!

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