I just purchased my first cell phone from a random person on craigslist and thought I’d share my thoughts…(it was a great experience. i saved a bunch of money and got to meet someone I never would have)
1. Why buy a cellphone off craigslist?
a. you want a new phone, but you’re not eligible for an upgrade yet
b. you lost your cell phone, and don’t have insurance to help replace it
2. How much should you expect to pay for a phone off Craigslist?
-for a “Never Used, Brand New In Box (NIB)” phone, you should expect to pay somewhere between 40-60% off the full retail price of the phone
-let’s take for example, the different prices you’d pay for a recently released phone: HTC Rezound
(prices based off amazon.com)
a. no contract, full retail price = $739
b. 2 year contract renewal discounted price = $249
c. craigslist price = ~$350-400
3. What should you look for in the cell phone ad?
-first, it should go without saying that there are a lot of sketchy people on craigslist, so you need to filter out legitimate ads from shady ones…
-here is an example of a legit sounding ad that I would have no problem buying
HTC Rezound – BRAND NEW SEALED IN BOX – VERIZON – clean ESN – $350 (cerritos, ca)
I am selling a brand new HTC Rezound (Verizon network)
-it has never been opened or used
-it is still sealed in its original packaging
-the phone has a clean ESN (never been activated, no previous owner)
-the phone was purchased 2 weeks ago and includes the original manufacturer 1 year warranty (I have the receipt if you want a copy).
-local pickup only.
-I have bolded the 2 most important details above to look for in any ad…
a. you want to buy a brand new phone that hasn’t been used, preferably still in its original packaging (if they don’t have the original packaging, most the time it’s because it’s a lost or stolen phone…which leads to the next point)
b. you want to ensure the phone has a “clean ESN” (ESN stands for electronic serial number…a “clean ESN” means a phone that has a clean record on the carrier’s network. If a phone has been stolen and reported to the carrier, or if the phone has an existing balance with the carrier, the phone is considered not to have a “clean ESN” and cannot be activated, which means you just bought a phone that can’t be used. So, when you contact the seller, always ask them to provide you with the ESN number (or IMEI number). The ESN number can almost always be found by removing the battery and looking underneath at a sticker on the phone. Once you get this number from the seller, just call the carrier and they will verify that it is a “clean ESN” right over the phone. I usually hate calling the carrier, but this is actually a very fast process, and definitely necessary to make sure you will be able to use the phone.
4. Where to meet the person?
-meet in a public place like a Starbucks, grocery store, etc.