FAQ to purchasing cell phones on eBay

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Hello prospective customers.  Please take five minutes and read the in’s and outs of buying cell phones on eBay.  This goes for Verizon, Motorola, Samsung, LG, Kyocera; everyone!  You are spending your hard earned money here today, take the time to learn about The Wireless Pro and the “underworld” of reflashing gray market phones.  Gray market phones have become a real epidemic in the USA cellular industry and carriers are doing everything they can to stop this.  Whether you buy from The Wireless Pro (WE DO NOT SELL GRAY MARKET, ONLY GENUINE USA CARRIER PRODUCT), or another supplier we want you to be informed and know what you are buying.  We are offering this information not to steer you away, but you educate you.  We sell only genuine, carrier approved real USA phones and accessories direct from the manufacture or the carrier.  Our auctions are for real genuine carrier approved direct phones, not gray market products.  Everything The Wireless Pro sells has a full manufacture warranty and is BRAND NEW.


What is a gray market phone?

First and foremost, we do not sell gray market product.  Our products are genuine, USA items direct from the manufacture or carrier.  These are the same products that you would get in our retail stores.  Gray market goods are defined as items manufactured abroad and imported into the US without the consent of the trademark holder.  Gray market goods are not counterfeits; however, differences may exist between these goods and those goods produced for American sale.  These are generally seen in Florida, New York, and California and generally arrive from Asia or Europe.  Some of these differences may involve warranty coverage or compliance with US regulatory requirements.  You may be getting a great deal, but the carrier will NOT activate a Gray market phone.


How do I know a gray market phone from a genuine phone?

Ensure the box that the product comes in clearly states what it is and what carrier it is for.  Often times, gray market phones will come in generic or “white” boxes.  Sometimes these phones come into the US as “generic” with no software in them.  Grey market importers will “flash” or load them with a carriers software and sell them as new.  This is also referred to as hacking the phone.  Also, ensure that the phone comes with all accessories and not just the handset itself.  And if accessories are included, verify that they are genuine OEM original US versions and not aftermarket or Asian/Euro.  Aftermarket accessories can be potentially harmful to your phone as aftermarket accessories are not required to meet the phones manufactures specifications and will void the warranty.  The manufactures all mention this fact in the manuals.  Another way to identify a genuine phone is to verify that the UPC code is still intact to the box.  Grey market importers will often remove the UPC to thwart the end user from finding out that it is a gray market phone.  Always verify that you are buying phones from a carrier (Verizon, T-Mobile, Cingular, etc) approved vendor. (such as The Wireless Pro)


Gray market goods can be identified in the following ways:

1.  The merchandise may not come with a US manufacturer's warranty

2.  The instructions or warranty may be written in a foreign language

3.  Ask the seller or the manufacturer's authorized representative if the merchandise is from the gray market.  Merchandise intended for sale in the United States may be determined by registration number.  For phones, check the phones ESN/IMEI number with the manufacturer's authorized representative (such as The Wireless Pro).

4.  The specifications of the merchandise may not comply with US regulatory requirements


What are Blacklisted or Barred phones?

A phone may be blacklisted (or barred) for many different reasons, but the most common reasons are that it has been reported either lost, stolen, or imported into the USA via the  gray market.  Every mobile phone has a unique serial number.  This serial number is called the ESN/IMEI number.  It can normally be found underneath the phones battery and it is 15 digits long.


Now, each time you switch your phone on or attempt to make a call the network systems check the ESN/ IMEI number of the handset you are using.  At this point the ESN/IMEI number of your handset is cross-referenced with the Central Equipment Identity Register.  If the ESN/IMEI number of your handset is on the CEIR then the network will either:

1.  Refuse to send a signal to your phone (No signal strength at all)

2.  Supply a signal but will not allow any outgoing or incoming calls.


If your IMEI number is on the CEIR your handset is blacklisted and therefore useless.  By spreading the word that stolen handsets and gray market handsets will not work it is hoped that street crime and gray market product coming into the USA can be reduced.  Carriers often “scrub” their databases for gray market phones and will blacklist them immediately should they find a non-approved phone on there network.  Be sure you are getting a clean ESN/IMEI so you will have no problems activating.



Why buy Genuine OEM Original accessories vs Aftermarket accessories?

Often, sellers will use cheap imitation knockoff aftermarket accessories to close a sale.  Aftermarket accessories can be potentially harmful to your phone as aftermarket accessories are not required to meet the phones manufactures specifications.  This can include aftermarket chargers overcharging batteries, leather cases that will stain the phone, cheap headsets where that 2.5mm jack will break off inside the phone, etc.  Genuine OEM Original accessories assure that you will NOT have any problems and they meet all specifications for that particular phone, after all, they are made by that manufacture.  The Wireless Pro will never sell aftermarket accessories, everything we sell is genuine original OEM equipment.


Why is seller (X) so much cheaper than seller (Y)?

Your first clue would be this is a gray market product as mentioned above.  However, The Wireless Pro buys in extremely high volume due to our relationship with the carriers and manufactures that supply our stores and eBay sales.  We want to offer our customers the best price for a genuine USA quality product.


How do I switch phones?

It’s very easy.  Call your carrier and give them your new ESN/IMEI number, or take it to a local store.  It does take about five minutes to update on the network after verifying that the ESN/IMEI serial number is clean and not gray market. 


Our support team, the sale just does not end after payment:

The Wireless Pro was built on customer service.  After operating retail cellular stores for over 11 years, we started to receive more and more non-existing customers coming into the stores with bad, defective, or other issues with phones.  When asked where they purchased the phone, more often than not the customer purchased a gray market phone from eBay or another source.  This is why the owner of The Wireless Pro decided to open an eBay store several years ago.  Knowledge is power, knowing your seller is half the battle.  Knowing you are getting a real genuine quality product and knowing you will get the support you need is the other half.  Additionally, we keep you up to date if a manufacture has software, firmware or other update for your phone.  We keep track, so you don’t have to worry!  Furthermore, we chose not to sell certain model phones because of a trend in customer returns or problems.  We would rather not sell you a phone or product knowing that this particular model has a history of problems.  We have removed entire product lines in the past, because the customer return rate met our strict return status threshold.  This reduces customer complaints and keeps you happy knowing we sell and support known great quality phones.


Ask us!

We have a dedicated staff just for our online sales.  Although our retail stores close, online sales is a 24/7 business.  We have both first and second shift personnel, and part-time third shift (nights and weekends) to answer any of your questions.  This ensures that you have your issue, question, or concern answered in a timely fashion.  It also assures that your orders are processed and shipped immediately.


Didn’t buy from us, let us know why so we can improve our processes!

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