Kitty's Tips for Buying Phones Online
* This page is designed to be informative, and will be
updated as often as we can. It is a work in progress.
We understand that there are places on the Internet where you know you can buy cellular phones from, probably cheaper than what we sell them for. We know that. No problem. We encourage you to shop around before choosing where to buy your phone from.
But ... we want you to be a wise and educated shopper before you proceed. We want you to know the potential upsides, and downsides, to purchasing from eBay, Craigslist, or other online sources. We want you to get the best VALUE for your dollars, but we want you to be SAFE doing it.
You do not HAVE to buy a phone from us. But after you read this page, you MAY want to, it's completely your decision. Let's get started....
Buying a Phone on eBay
We get this question at least 3 or 4 times a week - "What do I look for when I am trying to buy a phone on eBay to use on the Page Plus Network?"
Above all else, in addition to the items listed below,
make sure that you are buying ONLY either a Genuine Page Plus Approved
Device OR a Genuine OTHER NETWORK PROVIDER device with OTHER NETWORK PROVIDER software on it.
Many sellers on eBay will say that their phones are good for "OTHER NETWORK PROVIDER or Page Plus", this usually means they are OTHER NETWORK PROVIDER branded/OTHER NETWORK PROVIDER software phones, which will usually work on Page Plus. If you have ANY doubt in your mind, send the seller a message and ask specifically "Will this phone work on Page Plus?" and get their clear answer before buying the device.
You may also want to read this page that explains the difference between an ALLOWED/SUPPORTED Phone and an ALLOWED/UNSUPPORTED Phone. MOST PHONES YOU BUY FROM EBAY ARE ALLOWED BUT UNSUPPORTED!
#1 - You can use any OTHER NETWORK PROVIDER phone on Page Plus, as long as it has a clear ESN, and it is not a VERIZON PREPAID DEVICE. (Please note, the blackberry situation has changed as of 01/2011, however, they are NOW CONSIDERED an ALLOWED BUT UNSUPPORTED device. See this thread in our forums for details.)
It is CRITICALLY important to make sure you communicate with ALL potential sellers on eBay VIA the eBay Messaging system!
And SAVE those communications between you and that seller until at least 30 days AFTER you have received your phone. If you communicate with a seller via e-mail, you have no proof that the "seller told you this or that", and you may need that proof later. Many sellers, especially if they are running a scam, will try to communicate directly with you over email. DO NOT DO THIS.
#2 - ALWAYS get the MEID, HEX or DEC number (also more commonly known as the ESN Number) from the seller before even considering purchasing the device. Once you have the ESN you can do an ESN Check three ways:
a) You can call OTHER NETWORK PROVIDER at 800-922-0204 and ask them to tell you if this device is clear for use on "their network."
b) You can call Page Plus at 800-550-2436 and ask them to tell you if this device is clear for use on Page Plus.
c) You can go to our ESN Check page and pay the $19.99 fee to get an ESN Check done immediately online. (For people who don't want to wait on hold for Page Plus, or want to check an ESN after hours.)
IMPORTANT Notes on ESN Checks: Make sure you ask the seller, point blank in an eBay Message, if the ESN is clear on the device, what the ESN is, and check it. Save that communication. We have seen a customer call OTHER NETWORK PROVIDER, be told the device is clear, but then when they tried to activate it on Page Plus, it was not clear.
We recommend options B or C above for an ESN Check - at least you know then you are checking the Page Plus database. ESN Checks only give you the status as of TODAY, but it's at least some reassurance before making a purchase.
ALSO please understand that EVEN an ESN Check using Method B or C is only VALID for THAT moment, on THAT date. If you buy a device from someone on eBay, who used it on OTHER NETWORK PROVIDER, and then 2 months later that person stops paying their OTHER NETWORK PROVIDER bill and defaults, it is quite likely that OTHER NETWORK PROVIDER will then add that device, that you now own, to their blacklist - and there is NOTHING that you can do prevent that.
Buying a Phone on Craigslist
Buying a phone on Craigslist is similar to buying a phone on eBay, however, you do not have ANY of the protections like eBay or PayPal Buyer Protection. When you buy a phone from someone locally on Craigslist, it is important to make sure of the following:
#1. Ask the seller for the MEID, HEX or DEC number (also more commonly known as the ESN Number) for the device before even considering the purchase. ALSO ASK THEM THE HISTORY OF THE DEVICE - where did they get it, why are they selling it? If anything seem "fishy" to you, it probably is.
#2. Follow step #2 above (in the eBay section) to do an ESN Check on the number.
#3. Before going to buy the phone in person, advise the seller that you will need a signed receipt for expense purposes. If they tell you they will not sign a receipt, you have two options - you can either INSIST on the receipt, or no sale, or you can proceed to the next step and try to pay with a certified method - so that you have SOMETHING hardcopy to prove you paid for it, and to whom.
#4. Ask the seller if you can pay with a US Postal Money Order, or a Certified Bank Check. If they say yes, DO SO. Ask them who it should be made out to. Bring the phone number of your bank of the postal service number with you in the buyer wants to call and double check that the payment is valid. It's ALWAYS good to pay using an instrument OTHER than cash so you have a backup.
#5. When you go to buy the phone in person, be sure to bring a second-party with you as a witness. It may not help, but it may, too, and besides, meeting a stranger to exchange cash for a product is always a weird situation.
#6. Ask the seller to remove the battery from the phone so that you can double check that the MEID/HEX/DEC Number they gave you earlier is ACTUALLY the one on the back of the device, under the battery, on the label. DOUBLE CHECK IT CAREFULLY!
#7. Get a receipt. Bring a pre-printed receipt with you, that contains the information of the device you are buying, the date, the amount, the ESN number, etc. and have a spot on the form for the person to sign their name. Bring a second copy, in case they ask for a copy of the form.
As you can see, there are risks for purchasing a used/refurbished device from eBay, Craigslist, or another source. For these reasons, each customer must make their own decision whether they are OK with the risks, and willing to assume the risks "if the price is right", or if they would rather purchase from a reputable dealer, who will stand behind their products and the guarantee of them.
It's up to you. But we at least want you to be informed.