3rd party reported phone stolen/lost

I recently purchased a phone, opened but brand new in box. Sticky labels still all over the phone. It was working fine for 11 days but it looks like the previous owner has reported it lost/stolen as it gets no network now, SIM works in old phone, and the IMEI comes up as blacklisted on checkmend.com.
I contacted the seller and he now claims he purchased the phone used and didn't like it, despite telling me he never used it before. I bought it on facebook marketplace. Always a risk I know but my last 6, maybe 7, phones have been from there and it's saved me well over £1000 by now (even after this loss).
I have his reg plate, is there any point reporting this to the police or chalk it up as the inevitable FB scam? 
I'm assuming little will come of it and worst case, they might take the phone as evidence or something. I could always get it "un-blacklisted" from one of those questionable phone unlock shops (phone will be completely wiped before and after if I do). I've heard some people have success with them.

Comments

  • PHK
    PHK Posts: 1,137
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    No phone shop will unblacklist in the UK as that would involve changing the IMEI (an actual crime under the Mobile Phones (Reprogramming) Act) and be almost immediately detected by the network . 

    You're right that reporting it to the Police could result in it being taken as evidence or even seized if it actually belongs to someone else. Probably, they will just record the event and/or point you to ActionFraud.

    Unless you can persuade/sue the seller then the only other opportunity (other than keep it as blacklisted) is to sell overseas as blacklisted. 

    A tip for buying phones is either use somewhere like CeX that guarantee against this or make sure the seller has the receipt and gives it to you along with their name and address (you've then got proof it wasn't stolen and proof of their identity if its subsequently blocked)
  • akira181
    akira181 Posts: 486
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    edited 24 November 2023 at 11:46AM
    ActionFraud is only for England and Wales. Police Scotland are happy to continue operating like it's the 90s it seems.  A friends brother is a cop so I spoke to him.
    He said that if I wanted to keep the handset, it's probably best not to report and just take it to a dodgy phone shop to get it unlocked. The scammer will have made an insurance claim and the police would most likely confiscate the handset and return it to the insurance company after the case is closed, if it ever gets that far. Laws protecting big corporation profits and not the average Joe as usual.
    He says the only way I could get my cash back legally would be a small claims court, which isn't worth it as it'll cost me more than what I paid and the scammer can just ignore any ruling with little consequence.
    Yes, changing the IMEI is illegal but many of those phone repair corner shops aren't above board and some will offer if you enquire and don't look like a nark. No idea if it's immediately detectable but I know people that have got it done in the past and it continued to work for at least 2 years. Good news is that I don't need to go this route as I've found a way around the blacklist and it's working for the time being, no dodgy dealings required for now at least.
    CeX is a rip-off IMO, even with the added guarantee. For example, you can get a brand new Pixel 8 on 24 month iD Mobile contract, where the total cost (upfront + monthly) is £50 less than what CeX want for a second hand Pixel 8 only.
    I'll definitely continue buying phones of Facebook marketplace and Gumtree as you can find nearly new flagship phones for almost half price. I might be a little more sceptical when the buyer requests cash only now. Only gave him the benefit of the doubt as he offered to drive to my street to drop it off (hence me getting the reg plate).
    Trying to get a receipt in future is a good idea though.

  • Tell the seler you are going to report the incident as you want to make sure it doesn't happen to anyone else. Seller will then at least be on the police radar if he does it again and you may save someone ese grief in the future as you need to follow through on reporting it if no joy
  • akira181
    akira181 Posts: 486
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    Murielson said:
    Tell the seler you are going to report the incident as you want to make sure it doesn't happen to anyone else. Seller will then at least be on the police radar if he does it again and you may save someone ese grief in the future as you need to follow through on reporting it if no joy
    telling the seller I'm calling the police isn't going to put him on the police radar unless I actually call the police. In which case, I'd most likely lose the phone which is now working and the money I paid for it.
    The seller already claims he bought it from someone else so the police can't/won't take it any further anyway.
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