Help! eBay Buyer Wants Money Back / T-Mobile Activation Issues?
BACK STORY: I received a brand new 3GS as a replacement under warrantee from the Apple store after mine was damaged. I also chose to purchase a New iPhone 4 at that time instead of activating the replacement 3GS. I talked the Apple employee into not activating the 3GS on AT&T's network (which after some sweet talking he agree'd). My plan was to net a nice amount of money on eBay (like may people do) for a new factory unlocked iPhone.
The guy who won the auction for $480 three weeks ago didn't seem very tech savy so I tried through email to help him as much as I can. I've never activated an iPhone on another network so I ended up doing some research but it didn't appear to be too complicated.
I sent some links & even advised him to take it in (or call) T-Mobile for some guidance as well since they've done this with numerous iPhone before. I also asked him to join the forums here to take advantage of the vast knowledge base tipb has to offer. It doesn't appear he's taken or utilized any of that advise/ direction & just keeps trying to fumble with this himself. To make it worse, his English isn't very good so it's somewhat unclear what he's talking about & i wonder how much of what I'm saying is getting communicated effectively to him?
ISSUE: So now the buyer wants his money back saying the phone isn't as advertised. He says it's not factory unlocked as he tried to insert his T-Mobile Sim card & the phone won't work. Does he need to have T-Mobile change anything on their end? He also mentioned that he inserted an AT&T sim card (not sure why he has sims from both carriers). I believe he sync'd it to iTunes with the AT&T sim in there, can that have caused a problem? Will that lock it back to AT&T?
Since obviously the employee at Apple was breaking the rules (with all iPhones sold through them needing to be activated on AT&T before leaving the store), it doesn't actually say "unlocked" anywhere on my apple receipt. How can I determine/ prove it actually was unlocked?
I don't feel it's my responsibility to ensure the buyer was competent enough to use the device or set it up properly (although I was kind enough to offer some assistance anyway). I feel like I followed through with my end of the sale & don't need to refund anything but how can I make that point clear as he's filed a complaint with eBay (who's going to want info, documentation, proof, etc)?
Thanks in advance for your guys/gals help on this sticky situation!
- 01-07-2011, 06:05 PM #2
All iPhone purchased in the US are locked to AT&T whether on contract or paid at full price. That's the way it is. All the store rep did was not plug it into a computer so you could use the phone after leaving the store. Since he didn't do that (at your request), all that meant was that the phone was useless until plugged into a computer.
That does NOT unlock the phone from AT&T. You would need to jailbreak and unlock the phone (and void the warranty) before the buyer could use his T-Mobile SIM card.
- 01-07-2011, 06:07 PM #3
If the iPhone truly is unlocked, then that's his problem to figure out how to activate it with his network. If he's going to make a purchase that requires a certain amount of tech knowledge, he can't put the blame on you for not knowing what to do. Whether or not putting an AT&T sim and activating through iTunes voids an unlock, I do not know. It might, because when you sync with iTunes and upgrade the iOS it wipes off a jailbreak/unlock that you might have done yourself. But I'm not techy enough to know that for sure.
My advice to you would be to take your credit card and/or bank account off of PayPal to avoid him filing a claim with them and receiving the funds back. Once the transaction has been made, and the change of currency and product (as described) has been exchanged - then the rest is on him. He didn't pay for customer support from the seller (though I think you went above and beyond to try to help him).
The plot thickens! So this guy just disclosed that he's located in Kuwait (although I shipped it to his verified Paypal address in NY). He says this is his job to buy used iPhone's off ebay. I find this hard to believe as he was asking all kinds of newb question during the buying process.
Another problem, Apple didn't give me a new box with the phone. I also did not get the actual serial number off this phone as it was requesting to be sync'd to itunes (which I didn't want to do for fear of activating the phone). I just spoke with Apple & they say they don't track serial numbers to actual people (which I find hard to believe) but they said they only care whether the devise is under warrantee or not so anyone could bring that phone in for service. So I don't believe there is a way of knowing if this phone is the actual phone I sent or if this is a bait & switch.
He sent me a serial number which I contacted AT&T about. They say they don't see it as being activated in their system. With him being out of the country I wonder if their serial number search was only for accounts in the US?
Boy oh boy, this is fun. Input & suggestions are appreciated.
- 01-07-2011, 06:58 PM #5
- 01-07-2011, 07:02 PM #6
- 01-07-2011, 07:09 PM #7
Keep all your documentation as he may dispute via PayPal and eBay, put you only have 60 days for that to be done, so make sure you keep everything and explain to them the buying just doesn't know what's he doing or whatever the full story is lol
And if you got a 3GS under warranty the S/N should be on the sheet you got from Apple that you signed... they got one for the warranty swap and the customer gets one...
I'm an honest person (I have a degree in Criminal Justice & have worked in work in Law Enforcement for almost 12 years now). If I screwed up & sold this guy a locked iPhone & didn't realize it, I'll "man up" & work out a resolution.
I agree that as long as I help up my end of the deal, the sale is final. Unfortunately eBay has put a hold on the money in my Paypal & has the ability to credit that amount back if I can't prove my case.
AT&T confirmed that that don't have an iPhone with that serial # activated on their network. To me that says end user error. Regardless, I want to have my info & facts in a row.
Can someone confirm if iPhones from Apple already come activated to AT&T? That doesn't really make sense to me as I thought you need a Sim in the devise to do that but maybe I don't understand the concept.
- 01-07-2011, 08:13 PM #9iPhone Intermediate
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The buyer is claiming you lied that it's not FACTORY UNLOCKED. It isn't. Did you advertise it that way? If so, then you do owe him a refund. If not, then you are on safe ground here because there is a WORLD of difference between unlocked and factory unlocked.
So which is it? Did you say it was factory unlocked?
- 01-07-2011, 08:36 PM #10
- 01-07-2011, 08:38 PM #11
The buyer is more protected than the seller on eBay.
You advertised an unlocked phone which your phone is NOT unlocked. Just not activated. Big difference.
I'm afraid you will end up with owing him the refund as both eBay and paypal buyers protection will side with him.
Removing bank info from paypal will only make you look more guilty and they will get the money from you one way or another.
I know this is not what you want to hear but you are SOL. I understand you're an honest person , but your auction was misleading and he has the right to demand a refund if the item you sold him is not unlocked as advertised , which in this case is not.
Best of luck to you.
- 01-07-2011, 08:38 PM #12
- 01-07-2011, 08:58 PM #14
- 01-07-2011, 09:01 PM #15
- 01-08-2011, 01:29 AM #16
I've sold phones to people overseas before and my reply is get your phone back before this guy opens it up or tries something funky with it and then tries to get his money back. You seem really honest and it was an understandable mistake on your part but the phone can still be sold. Now you know get the phone back and put it up for sale if it is on firmware lower than 4.2 then you can JB and unlock it before you sell. GL
- 01-08-2011, 01:43 AM #17
The best thing to do is be honest. If he truely wants a refund, then give him a refund. End of story. The whole "all sales are final" is sort of wrong., but on e-bay the SELLER can choose to have refunds or not.
This is why I always sell in the US. Less hassle with those idiots who try to scam you.
- 01-08-2011, 08:46 AM #18
So here's some follow up for ya. Instead of refunding the full amount & having to deal with international shipping, we Agree'd to do a partial refund to bring the price down to that of a standard 32gb 3GS. He's going to keep the phone & jailbreak & then unlock it. I made a mistake, was honest & we both worked it out and are satisfied. Thanks everyone for the help.
- 01-09-2011, 07:11 PM #20
- 01-10-2011, 02:34 PM #21
- 01-10-2011, 03:49 PM #22
At least it got resolved for you with minimal damage. Also a lesson learned on ebay, make sure you know 100% what you are selling.
Everyone is right though, in this case the buyer had the upper hand because technically he did not get the product as advertised.
Last edited by sting7k; 01-10-2011 at 03:55 PM.
- 02-11-2011, 10:46 AM #23
- 02-11-2011, 11:14 AM #24
- 02-11-2011, 12:17 PM #25