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Legal Phone Theft
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Hi, new to the forum so not sure this is the correct forum but I wanted to highlight an experience that happened to me and my partner as it's extremely frustrating as there is no help available or any where to turn to for help, the phone network, the police, the omsbudman, local mp all turn a blind eye to this scam allowing people to commit legal theft and fraud, which I thought were both illegal, but apparently not any more?
I am highlighting an appalling, shambolic situation which I cannot understand why in this day and age that this situation even exists as all it does is give criminals the 100% rights to access new modern smart phones, con people out of lots of money and bemusingly the network/phone operators and police are completely okay with this happening and are not bothered about it at all, they know it exists yet choose to turn a blind eye to it and, as usual, leave the innocent victims left out of pocket and hard done by, and in my case, by the police, even told it's my own fault?
A few months ago I bought my fiancee a used new Samsung S10 phone off Facebook marketplace for £350, I knew the phone was locked to O2, so I had it unlocked, gave it to my fiancee and all was great, then after about 2 weeks of perfect and normal service and useage my partner couldn't all of a sudden make or receive any calls or texts, we later found out this was due to the 'original owner'? reporting the phone as lost or stolen? And O2 therefore blocking the phone. I knew this as I phoned O2 to ask what was happening, they refused to say whether is was either lost or stolen just either 'lost or stolen', they refused to unblock the phone and they advised me to take the phone and the matter to my local police station.
So, I took the phone into Torquay police station, reported it as 'lost or stolen' told them what O2 had said, they took the phone off me, took a statement, I gave them printed off screenshots of my conversation on facebook with the seller, and they said they would be in touch, they also said not to get my hopes up as apparently it was my job to contact the seller? Obviously I already had and of course they had disappeared off facebook and so I could not contact them as I didn't know his address, all of his information of course is available with O2 as it was a contract phone hence I said I knew it was on O2 and got it unlocked. The next day I received a call off the police to go and pick the phone back up? So I did, the police told me they couldn't find him lol, and there was nothing more they could do, the phone was according to them, my property, they also said I shouldn't go buying phones off Facebook marketplace which was , as I took it, them saying it was my fault?
So now I'm left with a phone that cost me £350 to buy plus about £50 I spent on getting it unlocked and buying a case and screen protector for it, but now my fiancee cannot use it because it's been blocked by O2, and nobody is willing or even bothered to do anything about it? I took the matter up with the Omnbudsman service, as soon as O2 mentioned 'data protection' the Omnbudsman service got scared and didn't want to take it further? O2 flatly refuse to unblock it or refund any money, the police blame me and want me to find the seller? The law simply doesn't want to do anything so I have to ask what the hell are my rights? Where are my rights? Why is someone out there getting phones on contract, selling them on then reporting them as 'lost or stolen' and still walking around freely with no one willing to tackle them or the situation whilst innocent people like me are left out of pocket and with absoluetly nowhere to turn?
Apparently the phone I have is 'lost or stolen'? So why do I have it in my possession? I've took the reported phone to the police and I've phoned up the network whose phone it belongs to and told them I have it, and took it up with the Omnbudsman service, they all know, yet I still have the phone, a phone that cannot be used? So whose phone is it? Because the police clearly say it's mine, so if it's legally my phone what right do O2 have to refuse to unblock it? Surely they are breaking the law? Or the law is breaking the law? Because I have a phone that I have paid for (I am ill and on ESA and so is my partner by the way so we can ill afford this) and it's unusable, and no one is willing to do anything about it?
If the phone has been reported as 'lost or stolen' to O2 then O2 have the name and address of the original owner, if the phone is lost, then it now isn't lost so why does no one want it back? If the phone is stolen then why hasn't anyone been arrested for either theft or fraud? And again, why does no one want it back? I always thought theft and fraud was against the law? Obviously it isn't! O2 keep hiding behind 'data protection' but whose exactly? Why is that stopping them from unblocking the phone? The person that sold me the phone is clearly either the original owner and comitting fraud or he stole the phone off someone (or he happened to find a new phone boxed with it's charger and accessories lol), if the phone had never been found then I fully understand O2 not wanting to unblock it, but I just cannot fathom what rights they have to now not unblock 'my' phone?
This whole situation is a complete farce, it makes a joke out of so called data protection and peoples rights and the so called law.