ESN Checker

I wanted everyone to know a very important detail about the ESN checker.  It checks that the ESN is with Sprint and that the phone model can be brought over to Ting.  It does NOT check if the phone has a "bad esn".

I recently purchased a phone off craigslist.  Before I made the deal I used the esn checker.  It came back clear.  I met the guy and bought the phone.  I tried to BYOD and it wouldn't work.  I called Sprint only to find out that the account holder was in collections and no way to activate it.  I am bummed to say the least.  I would have made more effort to activate it before handing over the cash if I knew the esn checker didn't check for bad esns.  I am not writing this out of anger.  It's a detail I didn't see anywhere and cost me $170.  Life will go on.  The guy says he will meet me tonight and give my money back.  Maybe he does and maybe he doesn't.  EIther way I'll just move on but I wanted others to know and not make the mistake I did.

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Comments

14 comments
  • Hi Keith,

    I am very sorry that this has happened to you! The best thing to do is always call us or email us with the ESN so that we can verify it against Sprint's systems. This way you have all the information about the phone before making the purchase. We are making improvements to the ESN checker on the site so hopefully moving forward this kind of problem won't occur.

    Once again my apologies for the hassle.

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  • It's ok.  It's the risk you take when buying on CL.  I usually can't do the transaction until after you business hours so I can't call.  I am not a rich man by any means but have learned that there is no point to getting bent out of shape over a few dollars.  Worst case is I clone my Samsung Transform into it and live with 3g speeds.

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  • Hi Keith - 

    We're planning on staying open later in the day. If you could pick our hours, when would you have us stay open until?

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  • I would guess I'm not an "average" customer.  In a perfect world you would be open 24/7 but that wouldn't make financial sense.  For me personally 1am close and wouldn't need to open until 10am (central).  I don't expect you to stay open that long.  10pm would cover me most of the time.  What would work for me is if you had chat support only after 9pm.  One person can handle multiple people with chat.  Even better if the Ting Android App had the support chat feature.  If im buying a phone late or hacking one my existing ones I could just chat in for a quick "fix this" issue.  Ting support is simply amazing and we don't want to detract from that.  You might even be able to keep the same hours for phone and have 2-3 night staff for chat after phone hours.  You would have to decide if you wanted chat during the day hours but I wouldn't think it's needed as good as your call staff are.

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  • We're testing a few different schedules in December and we'll be announcing a final iteration that will go into effect for January 2. I think you'll be quite pleased with what we've come up with.

    Regarding chat support, we've tested it and found that its just not something that we're equipped to provide great support with. The issue is that it almost requires agents to support multiple customers at the same time, which leads to mistakes and rushing and a whole slew of other things that we're not crazy about. We'd really rather you call or email so that we can focus our efforts in a few key areas and provide really great support all the time.

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  • I am sure that whatever you come up with will be great.  Support is an area that Ting excels in.  I have worked chat support and 100% agree.  I'm sure it's difficult to have late night support give your stance on human answering the phone and no long holds.  You could have people too busy to handle the calls or setting around with nothing to do all night.  Tough call.

    I personally never use email support for any company.  I never know if they are going to get back with me in 10 minutes and I should stay up and wait OR 10 hours after the morning crew gets settled in and has their first cup of coffee.  I typically just wait and call first thing in the morning and call if I really need quick assistance.

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  • swappa.com has a free ESN checker. I've used it successfully on previous used phone purchases.

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  • OK, I'm glad I saw this!  I'm looking at getting a used 4S.  I tried Glyde twice, with nothing but problems, so I'm doing Craigslist now.  For this purchase, I'll do the Swappa ESN checker, and also a call to Ting if I'm doing the pickup while their phone lines are open.

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  • Actually, I change my original post.  Here's what I'm going to do instead:  As soon as I get the phone, I'm going to activate it on a new number.  The reason is, assuming everything about the phone is good, I expect the new number to activate very quickly.  Once it activates, and I've handed over the money, then I can go in and follow the instructions to port a number to an active device1.

    This scenario seems like the best option, in that it lets me verify the phone as quickly as possible, by actually activating it, but I am still able to port my existing (not-yet-with-Ting) number over to the phone.

     

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  • That is a good plan for convenience, but I'll pre-warn you of a fee situation.  There is a $6 per month fee for an active line.  I found out the fine tuned distinction that Ting prorates it for when in the billing month a phone number starts, but they don't pro-rate for after it is deactivated.  So if you follow your plan, you will start with that new number, see that it works, and then port in another phone number to replace it, you will basically end up paying for the whole month on the first one, and then most of the month on the ported number.  So that will probably be about $11 or so instead of $6 for that first month.  That's possibly worth it to make sure it goes the way you want it to, but I wanted to let you know that was coming.

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  • Hi Rocky,

     

    Thanks very much for letting me know about that!  That would really have confused me at the end of the billing cycle.

    Given that, I think I'll try this:  First, I'll give Ting a call.  If I can get through by phone, then I'll ask them to do all of their checks, so I can skip the initial activation step.  If I'm not able to get through to Ting by phone, then I'll do what I talked about two posts up.

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  • "I'll give Ting a call. If I can get through by phone..."  You have no idea how ironic that is yet, because you have not experienced the level of awesome that is Ting support.  No automated menus or phone trees, no transferring you around from department to department, actual people picking up on the first or second ring and just flat out solve your problems.  It's amazing.  I called them to get something changed on my account once.  A person picked up partway through the first ring and took care of it, and when I looked at the call log on my phone when it was done--one minute and 33 seconds!

    I don't know that you'll need to go through much trouble.  If you have the phone in hand, and the ESN checker says it's good, you should be golden.  You can just do the activation and ask for the number port right there in the activation process.

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  • Hi Rocky,

    In my case, my statement was not ironic.  I've used Ting ~2.5 months, and called support probably 5 times as part of number ports, and I've been sent to voicemail probably 2-3 times because everyone was busy.  I'm not saying it's a bad thing, it just means Ting is growing quickly!  But, when I've got a potential seller sitting in front of me, I don't necessarily want to take the chance.

    Anyway, back to the pseudo-topic:  I did the purchase last night, and I did end up just activating the iPhone online (getting a new number), while we did the purchase.  It took less than 5 minutes, since I had a wi-fi connection.  I did the number port later that same night.  Today, when I'm looking at my dashboard usage details, I am not seeing any extra $6 charges!

    I think the reason is this:  I activated my iPhone with a new Ting number, and that of course added a $6 change to this month.  When I was ready to start the port, I did not deactivate my phone.  Instead, I went to the phone's device settings page, and I clicked the link to "port a number to this device".  I then filled in the port information, and waited.  When the port completed, I did have to "call" ##873283# to update the phone (so it saw the new phone number), but my iPhone never appeared to lose service during the port (except when I updated the phone at the end).

    Of course, maybe the extra $6 charge just hasn't appeared yet, but if that's not true, then I think the summary is this:  If you're buying a used phone, and you have a wi-fi connection at the pickup point, the fastest way to confirm the ESN is clean is to activate the phone at Ting with a new number.  Then, after the purchase, use the "Port a number to this device" link on the device page to start the port.  Most likely, the port will go through.  Some times (as per my link from a few posts up), Ting will need you to deactivate the phone and do the port as part of an activation; in those cases, you'll probably get charged an extra $6.

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  • Oh, sorry.  I didn't know you were already a Ting customer.

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