What is an IMEI and how to fix it if its Blacklisted

What is an IMEI?

IMEI stands for "International Mobile Equipment Identity". It’s a 14 to 16 digits long number and it’s unique for every phone and it’s how you identify the device. An IMEI number is unique to every device, and every device has one. It is like a social security number, but for phones.  

My device has an ESN. Whats that?

ESN stands for Electronic Serial Number. Is it much like an IMEI number, except it is used in the CDMA. In the U.S. there are some carriers that work on CDMA network: Verizon, Sprint, U.S. Cellular

What is the IMEI Blacklist?

If a phone is blacklisted, it means that the device was reported lost or stolen. Some circumstances, the device has money owed on it. The IMEI blacklist is a database of all the IMEI or ESN numbers that have been reported by the carrier or authorities. In short, the main reason that a device has a Blacklisted IMEI is so that you as the owner or someone else cannot activate the device on any carrier, not even the original one, thus avoiding selling or stealing the phone.

What Should I Do If I Have a Blacklisted Phone?

If you discover that you have a device that is blacklisted, discuss how you can return the phone to the carrier or its original owner. Depending on the carrier, you may be entitled to a full refund. However, if you bought it from an individual seller, let them know that the IMEI or ESN has been blacklisted and hopefully they will give you your money back.AT&T also offers some advice. According to ATTMobilityCare, only the account holder or carrier can remove the block, so you need to try and contact them and it could take up to 24 hours to get it removed.

Ask the seller for a refund

If you bought the device with the bad ESN newly from a retailer or online shop, you might be in luck as they can provide you with a refund or at least a replacement, depending on their policy. For example, Amazon and eBay have refund policies. Unfortunately, if you got the phone from someone you found on the street, or from a seller over sources like Craigslist, this might not be possible. But there are still other things you can do.

Use it as a gaming console or iPod

Smartphones have a whole lot of functionality besides being able to place calls. You can install a bunch of different video games in it, you can use it to surf the internet, watch videos over YouTube, download music and videos to it. You could even use it as an iPod. The possibilities are really endless. You can even install apps like Skype and use Skype call as an alternative to a phone call.

bad IMEI Galaxy S20

Get the IMEI or ESN Cleaned

Depending on your carrier, you can see if they entertain requests to remove your IMEI from the blacklist. In most circumstances, they do not. In the unfortunate circumstance that they can not, we provide services to help you make your device close to new again. We understand the cell phone industry, we know it is easy to get stuck with a bad IMEI device.

bad IMEI Galaxy S10

Unlock it and then Sell it

After your unlock your iPhone you can sell it to foreigners at a lowered rate. You can find out how to unlock in the next steps. But why would foreigners buy a blacklisted phone, you might ask? That’s because they won’t be on US soil long, and the IMEI is only blacklisted locally. So foreigners and tourists might be persuaded to buy your iPhone if you throw in a big enough discount.

Swap the Logic Board

The thing about a blacklisted IMEI is that it’s only blacklisted in a particular country. An unlocked AT&T iPhone blacklisted in the US would still function in Australia on another network. As such you can try and change the chips of your iPhone. However, in doing so you should be prepared for some possible irreparable damage.

bad IMEI Galaxy note 20

Take it apart and sell the spare parts

You can dismember the logic board, screen, dock connector and back casing, and sell them separately. These may be used to help out other broken iPhones.

What if the device is financially blacklisted for unpaid bills?

Sell internationally

As mentioned earlier, you can carrier release unlock the phone with the blacklisted IMEI. However, since it’s only blacklisted locally, you can sell it internationally where it would still have value.

Use on one of the other big 2 carriers that it is not blacklisted on.

This is an ideal option for those who don’t mind changing carriers. You can carrier release unlock the phone so it will work on another carrier, as long as the device is, and pretty soon you’ll have a functional phone! However, in some cases, you might land with a 3G connection instead of a 4G.

Having a phone with bad ESN or blacklisted IMEI is naturally a headache, however, all hope isn’t lost. You can do any of the things mentioned in the previous steps, and you can read on to find out how to unlock the phone with bad ESN or blacklisted IMEI.

I need my IMEI fixed