Swappa-purchased iPhone is now blacklisted

I bought an iPhone 8 Plus from Swappa back in April 2019. I’ve only used it on the T-mobile network: Mint mobile through Jan 2020 then T-Mobile postpaid since. I was planning to port my number to Totalwireless, but the phone can’t be activated according to Totalwireless’s IMEI checker. I then checked Swappa’s IMEI checker and the phone is now blacklisted. I’ve just emailed the seller on Swappa asking for some assistance, but I realize he has no responsibility anymore—I’m at his mercy for any help.

So I know I won’t be able to sell the phone on Swappa. Is selling the phone for parts the best I can do with it? Will T-Mobile eventually kick the phone off its network?

Is the phone unlocked to work on any carrier, for Total wireless uses the Verizon network I believe, and the phone may be locked to GSM networks? Blacklisted means the phone has been reported lost or stolen, which is odd in that it must have been reported as such recently since I doubt Swappa would sell a blacklisted phone and, if they did, I doubt you could have activated it at all. Have you tried some GSM IMEI checkers to see if the phone is accepted?

What to do With a Blacklisted Phone.

@ Isamorph Thank you for the recommendations. I used IMEI24.com, below are the results:
SIMLock status: unlocked
Blacklist status: clean
Verizon Financial check/Blacklist status: clean

So I’m not sure what’s going on. I’m just a little bummed that I won’t be able to sell the phone on Swappa.

Odd that Swappa/Total would show it as blacklisted, while IMEI24 says it's not.

Have you tried Verizon's check tool?
(This would only give results for Verizon itself, but I think a blacklisted device would show as such.)

Does the phone still work on T-Mobile? Does the IMEI check out OK on T-Mobile's IMEI checker? Bring Your Own Unlocked Phone | IMEI Compatibility Check & Activate Online | T-Mobile

If yes, you could reasonably market this as a T-Mobile only phone on eBay.

I'm not sure how to interpret the SIMlock status in that some phones are sold as unlocked meaning they can be used on any GSM carrier, whereas other phones sold as unlocked means they can be used on GSM and CDMA networks. I don't know much about iPhones but I did notice Swappa does sell iPhone 8 pluses that are locked to certain carriers such as T-mobile, Verizon, etc. as well as unlocked any carrier iphones.

Thanks for the responses everyone. I may go the eBay router later, good idea. Below are screenshots.

Yes, my phone is still active on T-mo postpaid. I was hoping to port out to Totalwireless before my current billing cycle ends.

I was searching for what the "global" blacklist is and it's apparently a GSMA blacklist. Don't know if you tried the following for global blacklist, but might be interesting.


Here it is:

Interestingly, I called Verizon and the rep told me that the phone is unlocked for activation but has an “FIMC lock” of sorts, something related to Find My iPhone (not sure what the C is for). She says that I can use the phone to start a new Verizon line, to which I said no. Strange because Find My iPhone is under my Apple ID. Additionally, my wife’s iPhone 7 Plus has Find My iPhone turned on, yet her IMEI passes in TW’s, Verizon’s, and Swappa’s checker. I’ll do a little test—I toggled off Find My iPhone, and I confirmed that my phone is no longer displayed in my iCloud.com account. Perhaps I’ll leave Find My iPhone toggled off for some time and hope that the phone will get whitelisted again? I don’t know—I’ll try calling TW, but I’m not counting on them being able to help.


Just in case you haven't seen the following about "activation lock"on iPhones.

Has anyone had experience with this Swappa FAQ re: blacklisted phones: “In the rare event that an ESN is blocked or blacklisted outside of PayPal's 180-day protection window, the seller is expected to provide a reimbursement for the market value of the device or a comparable replacement device to the buyer, assuming the buyer is not at fault according to our policies. If a seller is uncooperative, many payment sources (e.g., banks, credit card companies, etc.) offer additional protections that can be taken advantage of. However, these should only ever be considered if PayPal's protections cannot be used.”

If so, can you please share the outcome?

How would a user even leverage the FAQ/guideline outside PayPal’s 180-day protection window?

By the way, I called T-mobile and the CSR informed me that my iPhone 8 Plus’s IMEI is not blacklisted on T-mobile. The IMEI also passes AT&T’s and Sprint’s IMEI checker. The IMEI only currently fails in Verizon’s and Swappa’s checker.

Do you have the A1864 or A1897 version of the 8+? The A1897 is gsm only and doesn't work with Verizon, even if unlocked. It was not designed to work on Sprint either, although it might be OK now that they have merged with T-Mobile.

It’s an A1864. The seller states he last used it on his Verizon account and swears he didn’t report it stolen. He was the 2nd user of the iPhone, stating that he was selling it for a family member. It was advertised as a Verizon iPhone (I’m guessing since he was able to use it on Verizon?) when I purchased it.

All I know is that this phone was blacklisted after I purchased it—now I know to check a Swappa-purchased phone’s IMEI in Swappa’s checker before the 180-day PayPal protection period ends.

This is still odd to me. Isn't ESN blacklisting a universal process that would apply to all carriers? I don't understand how only Verizon and Swappa would report it as blacklisted, while other carriers do not.

Have you asked Swappa how you can get a "universal blacklist" result that is not universal?
Either Swappa or Verizon, or both, really need to give a better explanation of this.

I note that the screenshot of Verizon's check tool does not say 'blacklisted'. If they were ready to activate it for you, it's not blacklisted by the database they're looking at..

@KentE I reached out to Swappa staff but the response was not helpful. I asked which IMEI database that Swappa uses in light of: only Swappa indicates that the phone is blacklisted and Verizon website says I can't activate but can trade it in.

This was Swappa's response: "We use different resources. But a device can be blacklisted for many reasons. Please see our FAQ: https://swappa.com/faq/buy/imei_blacklist_future"

I'm tempted to start a Verizon line just so I can prove/disprove the Verizon CSR who informed me that I can start a line on their network.

Please also check your IMEI with Visible: Visible | It's Phone Service. In An App.

If you have or know someone with an active Verizon or Visible SIM, you can swap it into your phone and see what happens. If the phone is truly blacklisted, then it should be blocked from accessing the network.

ETA: Have you already done GSX check?

@st3fx Which GSX check site do you recommend?

Below is the Visible IMEI check:

@Aurmin Thanks for this info.

Are you able to check IMEI/MEID with a Sprint(CDMA)-based carrier like Tello/Twigby?

I noticed sprint.com now redirects to t-mobile.com.

I haven't done a GSX check in a while, so I can't recommend any particular site or ebay seller. Paid $1-$2 each.

This case sounds very similar to yours: