Can you sell a phone if it is not paid off? : T-Mobile
Posted on 18th Nov 2020 20:25:30 in General, Apple, Selling

Are you looking to sell your phone to a buy-back company but won't pay up?


Even though it is possible to sell a phone that is not paid off, the consequences of this action all depend on the carrier and the contract agreement you signed.


Because this is a lot of information to dissect and to ensure that you understand the outcomes of selling your unpaid device, let’s break this question down by carrier, starting with T-Mobile


The Contract

T-Mobile’s terms and conditions state that you agree to its payment liability among other things once 

  • You give a written or electronic signature confirmation;

  • You activate, use or pay for the service; 

  • Or you open the device box


You are essentially making an agreement with yourself and the company, taking into account that payments must be completed. 


What this means is that whether or not you physically own the phone, you are still obligated to make sure the device is paid off. 


What happens if I Don’t Make a Payment? 

Whether or not the unpaid device is in your possession if you fail to make a payment on time, T-Mobile has the right to assign your account to collection, where it may be pursued in small claims court. 


If your account remains unpaid and is not in good condition, phone services will be reduced, suspended, or terminated.


Long story short, your device will be blacklisted by the company, meaning that the person in possession of the device will not be able to use it either. 


What is Blacklisting? 

If a carrier blacklists a phone or device, it means that the device was reported as missing or stolen. 


A blacklist is a database that tracks the IMEI (Information Mobile Equipment Identity) or the ESN (Electronic Serial Number) numbers of devices that have been reported missing or stolen. 


Whoever has the blacklisted device will have all services blocked from the device. 


Where Can I Sell My Unpaid Phone? 

Despite your phone not being paid in full, you technically have the freedom to sell it because your carrier cannot repossess the device. 


If you are planning to sell your phone, you have a few options. 


The first option would be to sell your phone to a private party. If you choose to go this route, be sure to let the individual know that your phone is not paid off yet so they aware of the possibility of a blacklisted device. 


You also have the option to sell your phone to buy-back companies, such as Tech Reboot


Tech Reboot expert Robbert F. emphasizes the risk of having your unpaid device blacklisted. 


“There is no real way of avoiding getting blacklisted,” he said. “ It’s the cost of doing business, and that’s why the T-Mobile/ Sprint phones are priced a bit lower than others. 


With everything in consideration, your best option after selling your phone is paying it off as quickly as possible. This way you are no longer burdened with the cost and can switch phones or carriers.