Updated for 2022
Every once in a while, you may come across a phone that has a bad ESN, a bad IMEI or what is referred to as a “blacklisted” phone. If your personal phone is one of these, you likely know it; however, if you bought a phone with a bad IMEI/ESN, it might be cause for some (or a great deal of) confusion. The Whiz Cells is here to take the confusion out of what a bad ESN/IMEI means and help you learn how to fix a bad ESN phone.
What is a Blacklisted Phone?
A bad or a blocked Equipment Serial Number (ESN) or International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number can signal a reported stolen phone. It can also signify a phone that is associated with someone who’s been late (or has stopped) making payments on their phone. A phone that’s been blacklisted by a carrier comes with a host of issues.
If you’re the owner of a blacklisted phone as either someone who is still making payments or a recent buyer who found you bought a blacklisted phone, it is important to understand how this happened. Can you fix a bad ESN/IMEI phone? What can you do to recover the device and what are your options for selling it? In this blog post, we’ll answer these questions.
What is a Bad ESN/Bad IMEI Phone?
A phone with a bad ESN, whether it is an iPhone or an Android, ultimately means you can’t activate the device through your current carrier. You’ll likely won’t be able to connect to a tower or a Wi-Fi signal, thus preventing you from making a call and using most of the phone’s features.
There are three scenarios that are behind a bad ESN/bad IMEI:
- The phone was reported as lost or stolen by the previous owner. In this instance, you risk having the phone seized by law enforcement.
- You have an account and a contract through a carrier but have fallen behind on making payments.
- You purchased a used phone with a bad ESN; the former owner who financed the device has yet to pay off its outstanding balance.
How to Check Bad IMEI/Bad ESN
Whether you’re needing to check this status with AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile or another carrier, it can be as easy as contacting the carrier. This is the best way to determine if you have a bad ESN or IMEI because it will show up in a database of reported numbers.
However, if this occurrence goes back to the phone’s previous owner, you may need to reach out to them to resolve the unpaid balance.
What options do you have when you’re in possession of a blacklisted phone? There are two scenarios:
- You can sell a blacklisted phone: The Whiz Cells will buy phones in all conditions, from phones in excellent condition to broken phones or phones with bad IMEIs/ESNs. We offer step-by-step instructions below for getting cash for a blocked phone or any device with a bad ESN or IMEI.
- You can fix a bad ESN: This entails working with your carrier to restore your number and unblock your phone. It often requires a resolution by paying an unpaid balance. At this stage, you can continue to use it with all of its functions. You can also choose to sell it to cancel your contract or upgrade the device. Outside of your carrier, you can pay a fee to a third-party service to unblock the ESN or IMEI. Realize that the newer the model the phone, the more you’ll be expected to pay. Your carrier can also choose to blacklist your phone again.
Sell a Bad ESN/IMEI Phone Online
Just because your old or broken mobile phone has a bad ESN or bad IMEI number, it doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t trade it in for cash at The Whiz Cells. As long as your device hasn’t been reported as lost or stolen, we can help! You can quickly and easily sell an AT&T bad IMEI/ESN phone, a Verizon phone or a T-Mobile phone and get top dollar in return.
How Do I Sell a Bad ESN/IMEI Phone Online?
The first step in selling your phone is to locate your device and sign up for your free account with The Whiz Cells. Then, log in to your account and answer a few questions about the condition of your phone, including its make and its model. We’ll check the ESN and IMEI database to verify that the device was not lost or stolen. We will then send you a quote. We’ll even email you a shipping label to use to send your phone to us.
Do I Have to Wait for a Shipping Box?
We understand that many of our customers want their cash ASAP. That’s why we offer our Stupid Fast Payment option. To move forward and sell your phone with a bad IMEI/ESN number with The Whiz Cells, just use your own shipping materials and send your phone to us. Once we’ve received your phone, we’ll inspect it to make sure that the information you gave us about the make, model and condition is correct. We’ll then process your payment within one business day of receipt (usually on the same day). If you prefer to wait for us to send a box, we can still process your payment within 72 hours. Select the payment method that works best for you. Your choices include PayPal, Venmo or a personal check.
Get Top Dollar for Your Phone at The Whiz Cells
Whether you’re looking to sell a bad IMEI T-Mobile or AT&T phone or to sell a bad ESN Verizon device, you won’t find a better price anywhere. When you consider the fact that we pay for all shipping costs, you can feel confident knowing that you’re getting the best deal on the Web. Don’t let that bad ESN phone languish in a drawer. Get quick cash that you can use to defray the cost of a new phone. Or, you can put the money in your pocket and save it for a rainy day. Either way, it all begins by starting the online selling process at The Whiz Cells.
Have additional questions about what to do with a blacklisted phone and what does IMEI blocked mean? You can contact us at The Whiz Cells. You can also check out our FAQ page that answers many of our customers’ most common questions about the selling process.