Problem: Buying new 4S on eBay and switching SIM cards

Discussion in 'iPhone 4S' started by Steve C, Oct 16, 2011.

  1. Steve C

    Steve C New Member

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    Hello,

    So the dilemma with buying a new phone on eBay is that the new phone is not activated. The purchaser of the 4S has to activate the phone first. If done so, and then ships the phone to the winner on eBay, the "winner " can then simply switch sim cards and the new 4S should act and look like the "winner's" phone. However this is still a guess on my part. Maybe someone out there knows more or has gone through this situation already. (Maybe in the past, this has happened to someone buying a iPhone 4)

    My question is: is there any other way of getting the new 4S phone to become the "new" owners phone without the original purchaser to activate it?

    Apparently AT&T is willing to activate the new phone but you will lose the unlimited data plan and any other "grandfather" advantages you may have now.

    Anyone know anything about this specific problem, please help!

    Grateful
     
  2. Leo

    Leo Zealot
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    I dunno about that, I bought a 4S unlocked, unwrapped it at the Apple Store and just threw my SIM into it. It activated fine, without having to deal with Rogers (Canada's version of AT&T) at all. I assume an unlocked phone in the US or one that's at least locked to the same carrier would do exactly the same thing.
     
  3. Richard Lew

    Richard Lew New Member

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    ok, here was my experience buying the iPhone 4s on eBay. In my situation, I wanted to upgrade from the 4 to the 4s without entering a new contract because I have a cheaper data plan from 6 years ago. Any upgrades that you may do either in an Apple store, Apple.com, or AT&T store will require the selection of one of the carrier's current data plans (e.g. 2GB for $25), which I did not want to do.

    The seller I dealt with purchased an AT&T iPhone 4s from Apple.com, and he received it on 10/14. He immediately removed the SIM from the 4s without activating the phone (BIG MISTAKE!) and shipped the phone to me. I put in my SIM from my iPhone 4 and could not activate the phone, much to my dismay. I plugged the phone into the computer and tried to use iTunes to activate and also hit a dead-end. I was cursing like a truck driver at this point.

    I then called AT&T Customer Service -AND- went to an AT&T corporate store. This is what I found out. The iPhone 4s can be activated either using wireless connections (e.g. 3g data or Wifi), but the following are required:
    1. The billing zip code of the person who ordered the phone, as shown on that person's AT&T account
    2. The last four digits of the SSN of the person who ordered the phone, as shown on that person's AT&T account
    3. The original SIM card that shipped with the iPhone 4s

    I didn't have any of these 3 requirements, so I was not a happy camper. I had one option which was to take the phone to a store, and the store can provision a new SIM card but the activation process for a new SIM requires selection of a currently offered data plan, which I did not want because I have unlimited data currently.

    The only recourse I have now is the following, I am shipping the phone back to the seller, he is going to activate the 4s with the original SIM (which will make the 4s SIM his new active SIM card), then he will remove that SIM and put it back into his iPhone 4. Once that is done, he will ship the activated 4s back to me, and I will move the SIM from my 4 to the new 4s. That according to everything I know should work and the salesperson at the AT&T store agreed.
    I predict that this is going to be a BIG surprise for others like me who purchased eBay iPhone 4s's from people who bought phones from Apple.com, pulled the original SIM and shipped the phone, without activating the phone first. Hundreds of thousands of folks are going to receive their eBay-purchased iPhone 4s's during the week of 10/17. However, if an eBay seller bought the 4s from a retail store (Apple or AT&T), then generally the salespeople activate the phone for you before you walk out the door, and then there is no issue in that scenario because the phone is already activated.
     
  4. jaydoc1

    jaydoc1 Contributor
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    You're not grandfathered in? That's weird. Verizon is grandfathering its customers and, honestly, as far as I know AT&T is too. Why did you have to select a current data plan if you are upgrading? I could see it if you were buying a new line.
     
  5. Steve C

    Steve C New Member

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    So just to reiterate , for those who I bought a iPhone 4S on eBay, you must have the phone verified by the phone carrier. Otherwise you will not be able to activate the phone. So please tell the seller to verify it before sending it to the winner of the auction.
     
  6. Richard Lew

    Richard Lew New Member

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    Instead of the word "verify", you mean "activate" it with the original SIM card, either over-the-air using the cell connection or through iTunes. This requires the person who ordered the phone originally to put in his/her last four digits of SSN and billing zip code. The way to know for sure that the phone is activated is that the phone can actually show the Home screen and able to make a phone call. Anyway, the approach that I outlined above in my previous post worked fine. I sent the phone back to the seller, he activated the phone using the original SIM, and then sent it back to me.

    This activation requirement and process by the way has existed since at least the time iPhone 4 came out, if not earlier. I found a lot of posts from 2010 on the web talking about this in detail.
     
  7. Robert Smithson

    Robert Smithson New Member

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    I was just researching the same thing. I called AT&T and after a nice looooong wait I spoke to the rep. He said to go to a store and have one of the reps at the store activate. Frustrated I went to the store and he told me that I would need a new sim ( rather than the one sent from the seller) but he can activate it. It took him a few trys but he was able to do it. I am sure no seller is going to give out the SSN but going to the store wasn't a big deal. Hope this helps.
     
  8. Leo

    Leo Zealot
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    If you're buying a phone off of eBay, why didn't you just buy an unlocked one? I've been flipping unlocked phones on eBay for the past few weeks (already railed in about $2000 profit of course) and all of my buyers have had no issues. The price can't be *that* much different.
     
  9. imutter

    imutter Genius
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    us does not sell unlocked until later
    I saw people racking up big with unlocked on E-bay
    I wait for the unlock released in the US November
     
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