hey guys, I wrote this as a question that I wanted to be answered by a sprint representative but it was too many characters to fit in their email inquiry so I'm posting it here.
I am writing this to question your policy of locking phones for good that have been reported lost or stolen. I recently got a phone (the new htc one) on craigslist that ended up not working because it had been reported stolen. When getting the device, it still had service and I was told that he had just called in to cancel the service so it would be about a half an hour until the bars went down. It made sense to me and I even looked up the esn number on a website that said it was clean. I went into a sprint store to see about switching to sprint and using this phone when I was informed it would not work because it was reported stolen. I asked if the representative if they could call the person the phone had belonged to to see if they were interested in getting the phone back. They had insurance and had already paid for and received a replacement so they were not interested. I was given back the now useless phone. I have a few problems with your policies as the only person that seems to make out is the one that stole the phone. The original owners had to pay some amount to replace the phone from insurance (usually around $200). I ended up trading a 16 gb iPhone 5 in excellent shape for it (losing out on at least $500). The insurance company ended up having to replace the htc one which I'm guessing cost them around $300 after receiving the $200 or so from the customer. Sprint ended up losing out on me as a customer because of these policies (the reason I was looking at sprint in the first place is because I do not agree with some of my current company, At&t's policies). The person that stole the phone made out with a phone worth about $500. I understand the policy of locking the phone from activation when it has been reported lost, so that a person does not just report their phone lost, sell it and get a new one, making a profit. But in situations like this, when the phone has been identified, and attempted to be returned, it just does not make sense to me. Fortunately I am able to look at this as a learning experience when dealing with craigslist and I can still sell the phone on ebay or craigslist where I will be honest that it may be a useless phone (I'm still trying to figure out whether or not it can be used on gsm carriers in the US or CDMA carriers worldwide). I know that I cannot be the first person to question these policies and I was just looking for some sort of explanation on the reasoning behind them.
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I completely understand your concerns. I will clarify it all out for you for future reference. When a phone is reported lost/stolen and our customers notify us of this, we immediately place it on a lost/stolen list so that whoever finds the phone isn't able to use it and create additional charges. Now, if the owner of the device finds it and they notify us we can remove it from that list and you can continue to use the device. However, if the phone is reported lost/stolen and the customer files a claim with Asurion (the insurance company), then it goes on their lost/stolen list and can't be removed. The reason behind this is that Asurion has now sent another device out to the customer and the customer only paid a small deductible compared to the price of the phone. If you ever buy a Sprint phone from a private seller, we are able to check if the phone is still active on the account as well as if it's been reported lost/stolen.
In essence the only person that can remove the device from lost/stolen is the account owner where the device was active unless they already got a replacement phone to avoid insurance fraud. I'm sure you can appreciate these measures if your device was the one that was lost/stolen.
I hope this helps clarify things out for you
Social Media Team
I understand and would appreciate these measures if my device was lost or stolen to a point. Once the device is found again, and it is determined it was not reported to commit a form of fraud, or the phone was attempted to be returned to the rightful owners, I do not understand why it continues to stay on this list rendering the phone useless. I was also surprised that I was not just told to turn in the phone as I believe the policy of asurion is that if the phone is found, it should be turned in to the insurance company, which would have been unfair to me but more in the lines of their policy. It just seems to me that there is a lot of inconsistency and grey areas when it comes to phones reported or stolen. I believe that most of this comes from asurion but is enforced by the carrier.
I do understand your point of view. However, once a phone is reported lost/stolen and the owner receives a replacement device the phone can't be removed from the list. If the owner of the device finds the phone and wants it removed from the list then the replacement device needs to be sent back to Asurion. We do help enforce this policy as it helps prevent insurance fraud across the board regardless of the carrier.
In the future, reach out to us and we will gladly check the ESN before you make a purchase from a private seller.
Social Media Team
Updated: Here are some useful links and interesting information regarding the policy of 'bricking' a phone once it's reported lost or stolen. Be smart and protect yourself. Never buy a used phone from an unknown person or reseller.