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What does ESN not clean exactly mean?
02-23-2013, 01:11 AM
Post: #1
Hi I have been using this site to check esn's particularly Verizon one's as I don't trust it for Sprint in no fault to you guys. I know what they are doing and they are purposely making it hard to check ESN's for Sprint devices and they also lie to you in order to sell you new devices. That in itself has been a monster headache to deal with and I try to meet a the store as much as possible as it usually means I have to call Sprint CSR at least 3 times to verify one ESN.

Back to the subject lol. Ok so I know when a device is lost or stolen it will usually show up as such on the Verizon database as I have encountered devices that were lost or stolen before for Verizon and it always said "This device has been reported lost or stolen" in red. Now if it just says "The ESN you provided is not clean" does that mean it is not clean because it is associated with an account, unpaid balance, voided TOS (i.e. terminating contract without paying ETF), etc... or can it also fall into the category of lost or stolen as well.

The reason I ask is because I sold a device which I knew was unclean when I purchased it and in the past not clean just meant one of those reasons above but it never meant lost or stolen before (since it usually said as such and I know Verizon like Sprint carry a seperate database for lost or stolen devices from their account verification database) as it is illegal to knowingly sell a stolen device. I sold it as a non-clear esn that would require a flash to Cricket, Metro, or whatever CDMA carrier that supports iPhone 4. Now the buyer claims he was told it was stolen when he tried to activate the phone on Verizon (he apparently did not read the title or the description). I ran the check again on here and it does come up not clean again. On Verizon's device eligibility checker it comes up eligible to be activated on a Verizon account (I'm assuming it only checks the lost or stolen database).

Should I just call them tomorrow when they open to double check before I say anything. This was sold on eBay btw.

MEID is A10000338EAE35 and the device is a white iPhone 4 8GB model.

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02-23-2013, 03:48 AM
Post: #2
Our site has never shown a lost or stolen message for Verizon.

We used to be able to for Sprint, many months ago.

On Verizon it should show to call Verizon for lost and stolen devices, but not all call check devices are lost or stolen.

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02-23-2013, 09:22 AM
Post: #3
(02-23-2013 03:48 AM)deathtrip Wrote:  Our site has never shown a lost or stolen message for Verizon.

We used to be able to for Sprint, many months ago.

On Verizon it should show to call Verizon for lost and stolen devices, but not all call check devices are lost or stolen.


Ok I'm glad you clarified that information for me as I do run a business reselling phones and rely on this site particularly for Verizon devices. I'm glad I asked because I was thinking for some reason it did but your right I was getting it confused with the old Sprint database when it was actually pretty reliable. I'll make sure to double check with a Verizon CSR to make sure it is not stolen and you are right it does ask you to call when it is stolen and this one didn't so I am sure it is not clean because it is still attached to an account but I'll call them to double check.

P.S. I love all the hard work you and everyone else on this site has put into making this freely available to everyone to make it easy to look up this info which protects buyers and sellers from would be thieves. What pisses me off is these carriers are withholding this info to purposely deter the used mobile market in order to increase profits. Since the FCC originally mandated the lost and stolen database they need to force the carriers to make this information publicly available to prevent thieves from selling stolen devices or committing insurance fraud or whatever scam/fraud (which there are quite a few) is out there.

People need to understand the limitations and the inaccuracy in the ESN searches are a direct result of the carriers either withholding information or giving incorrect information as their ultimate goal is to get you to call in so they can attempt to sell you a device or a contract extension or both. If we can have access to the databases they have in the corporate stores we would be set as those have never failed (for me atleast with Sprint). I don't know how many times the CSR's (and this is with every single one of the carriers) either lied saying they are not capable of checking ESN's or the ESN is stolen or lost or currently activated when it is actually clear for use on a new or current account, in order to sell you something. Have you noticed all the CSR's in Sprint now ask you for your zip to check your coverage in order to set the stage for a sell.

Reselling used cellular devices not only protect the environment since the lithium batteries in them are hazardous and dangerous but it gives someone a chance to have a great phone that they never would have been able to get without being locked in for two years. What the carriers get upset at is if a customer buys a used device which come without a contract that loses them guaranteed revenue and the customer has the option to freely switch carriers without incurring a hefty ETF penalty. That means they actually have to start treating their customers well or they will switch. Now locked ESN's and 2 year contracts are necessary when you do choose to get a brand new device subsidized, I completely understand, as locking the ESN in that case protects their investment but they should give the option to the customer instead of forcing them.

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02-23-2013, 09:46 AM
Post: #4
The only problems I have with carriers are, they penalize you multiple times for the same account, or device.

For instance, say you signed up, started a new account, got a new iPhone 5 for $150 + Monthly Contract rate, and a 2 year agreement.

If you cancel let's say 5 months later, not only do they come after you for an ETF, but they also flag the device as unusable on the system. Then after 6 to 9 months of collections they'll mark your credit with the failure to pay, still requesting the fees, AND still placing the phone on the restricted list.

It isn't the phone's fault, so they shouldn't tie the ESN down so no one can use it, AND come after you for the fees, they should just come after you for the fees.

If you have a charge card and you charge/buy 1000 gallons of fuel, but then you stop paying, they're not going to lock up the fuel you have in your custody, they're going to sue you for their money.

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02-23-2013, 11:07 AM
Post: #5
(02-23-2013 09:46 AM)deathtrip Wrote:  The only problems I have with carriers are, they penalize you multiple times for the same account, or device.

For instance, say you signed up, started a new account, got a new iPhone 5 for $150 + Monthly Contract rate, and a 2 year agreement.

If you cancel let's say 5 months later, not only do they come after you for an ETF, but they also flag the device as unusable on the system. Then after 6 to 9 months of collections they'll mark your credit with the failure to pay, still requesting the fees, AND still placing the phone on the restricted list.

It isn't the phone's fault, so they shouldn't tie the ESN down so no one can use it, AND come after you for the fees, they should just come after you for the fees.

If you have a charge card and you charge/buy 1000 gallons of fuel, but then you stop paying, they're not going to lock up the fuel you have in your custody, they're going to sue you for their money.

That is definitely a good viewpoint that I didn't really think about in that sense. I think there really needs to be regulation by the FCC specifically on how ESN locks, unlocks, and restrictions are handled. Everyone should have free access to all and any ESN restriction list and what the carriers are doing to prevent you access should be illegal. They literally want you to get screwed so you will come crying to them and buy a new phone and 2 year agreement. What do CSR's say to you when you say you bought a used phone only to find out it was stolen and you couldn't activate it. They tell you that you are SOL and then try to sell you a new subsidized phone on a 2 year agreement. Had they provided free access to their databases then the amount of stolen devices sold, insurance fraud, scams, etc... would drop dramatically.

One viewpoint though if you look at it through their eyes the lock is to protect their investment. The problem is so many people abuse the current system. I have seen so many people bypass the device lock by using a swap as both Verizon and Sprint do so. In order to prevent others from trying to rip off carriers I'm not gonna go into detail but so many people have found loopholes which have cost these cell carrier's millions of dollars. Remember when you buy that phone on contract you are agreeing to their TOS which specifically state any and all device restrictions and that you agree to either complete your 1 or 2 year agreement in full while keeping your account current or if you do terminate the service agreement earlier then you will usually pay some sort of ETF.

Now onto your viewpoint about why they restrict the ESN and charge you an ETF. The reason is that if the ESN remains clear most customers will just sell the device and take the hit on their credit report by not paying the ETF. Now if the customer does this right away after signing the agreement and receiving the device they have just basically came up on the carrier by profiting on the cost of the device as now it is no longer locked and bound to any service contract so they can sell it for top market value which for newer devices can be hundreds of dollars (of course that is not including the orginal fee for the device if any and any upfront service/activation fees but even so they still come up at least a couple hundred dollars in most instances). On the losing side of this the carrier just ate the cost of the subsidy which can also be hundreds of dollars with no recourse whatsoever besides whatever initial carrier/activation fees they charged.

By restricting the ESN they prevent people from taking advantage of the subsidies they pay up front.

But from what you said its valid as well because if they keep the esn clear even if the customer screws the carrier on the initial purchase then they can easily recoup the losses and still profit on the new customer from their monthly service fees. Now the only problem I thought about that was when unlocking was still legal then what would keep the customer from unlocking the device and switching to a new carrier and completely screwing the original carrier over. Now with unlocking being "illegal" your approach seems more correct.

If you think about it the cellular industry is very much like the automotive industry. In fact I believe it was modeled after it. Dealers will sell you a new vehicle upfront on credit and if you fail to pay for a predetermined amount of time they will repossess your vehicle.

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