this is a post regarding a SUCCESS having to do with fixing the issue in the subject header that many people are getting. just a warning, this will be a long post as i will provide context for how the issue came about and my journey to a solution as well as other in between details.
i bought a T-Mobile branded phone off of eBay. the seller advertised the phone as a warranty replacement and it had never been used. when i got it, i inserted my T-Mobile SIM and was able to make a phone call, everything seemed fine. but then someone told me i should use the T-Mobile IMEI status check tool just to be sure and low and behold, I got the dreaded:
This device has an outstanding balance that must be paid or it may not be able to be used on T-Mobile network.
so of course i go to contact the eBay seller and he claims that he had no idea and that he has sold many phones and never had a problem- check his feedback, he says. sounds familiar, right? since this whole thing started, i have read countless posts of people saying their eBay phone worked great for 3 months and then stopped working once an EIP block had been initiated. i was 99% sure the same would happen to me so i was going to claim eBay's buyer protection and get my money back. but man, i really wanted to keep the phone b/c i got such a great deal on it. yeah i know, if it is too good to be true, then it probably is.
the one thing i will say about my seller is, he was a bit more forthright than i would have expected for someone trying to pull a scam. he did offer that he bought the phone second hand and while in his possession, it had an issue. so he claimed warranty on it and got a new one. at that time, instead of activating and using it, he decided to sell it on eBay. so the original owner never touched this warranty replacement. he also said that the phone was paid off. i took this to mean the original phone he bought was 100% paid off. he said the T-Mobile IMEI status check tool must be in error.
at this point, i'm not sure what to believe. the seller could be telling the truth. or, you could say his story still fits the typical scam, the key piece being that he has no way of contacting the original owner. so if there is an EIP block, then there is no way to get T-Mobile to do anything about it.
well, i decided to spend some time researching since i was well within my 30 days of eBay protection. on the T-Mobile community support forums alone, i found the following posts that were all very similar:
approached from the standpoint that i want to give the eBay seller the benefit of the doubt, all of these threads indicate that maybe there is a problem with the T-Mobile IMEI status check tool. in the 86744 thread, user tmo_lauren said she was able to fix the problem and that if anyone else had a similar issue to contact T-Mobile support through the social network sites. i decided to give this a try. i used facebook. please see the bottom of this post for the full transcript.
in summary, *AmberG figured it out. she rocks!!! based on what she said, i am now 99% confident i will not have an issue. (you can never be 100% sure of anything except death and taxes, right?) one key piece of information that might make my situation different from the typical EIP block scam is, the IMEI of the phone was never tied to any account, in particular the original owner. not sure if this matters, but it's a fact. how do i know? *AmberG looked it up. finally, the reason why i am posting is to give other people hope and an example of great T-Mobile customer service. i have been with T-Mobile for over 15 years now.
i fully acknowledge that there are scammers out there as evidenced by so many people having an EIP block months after the transaction. in my research, i came across a potential way forward for those who have a "paperweight" on their hands. if anyone is interested in that, i can certainly provide details of what i found. but keep in mind, i do not have first hand experience with this group. i only read the testimonials and conversed with them over email and they seemed legit. i'm not advertising for them, just saying to not give up hope!
the following is the transcript i had with the CSR, *AmberG over facebook: