Selling a Blackberry

My mother-in-law signed up for a Blackberry from some outfit, then became quite ill and can’t use it. My sister-in-law managed to cancel her service, which was through AT&T; I’m not sure of the status of MIL’s contract with the phone provider, which had a stout penalty clause if any changes whatsoever were made during the duration of her contract.

And now we have a spanking-new Blackberry.

My wife has suggested selling it on Craigslist. I don’t know much about selling phones.

  1. Would a new owner be able to use it?

  2. Is there anything we should do to the phone to preserve MIL’s privacy or prevent some one from using info on it to start a false credit card account or something equally disastrous?

  3. Any other thoughts (specific to selling a phone; I’m pretty aware of the dangers of Craigslist)?

  4. Bonus question: Can anyone speak about contracts with phone providers like my MIL’s?

Sniff, sniff. Hmm.

Well, there are no penalties for changing your plan with AT&T. They make you sign a contract, almost always for 2 years, that stipulates that you will have service through them on the phone that they subsidized. However, there’s no restriction on changing that plan so long as it’s to a plan that’s eligible on that phone. It’s possible that something has changed regarding this, but I’m 90% sure that the only restriction is that you can’t cancel service without paying an early termination fee. According to the AT&T website that fee is “$325 minus $10 for each full month of your Service Commitment that you complete”.

You say that your SIL managed to cancel her service, in that case you are free and clear to sell the phone. 3rd party retailers do not have additional restrictions on top of those provided by the wireless carrier. They simply sell AT&T contracts. I’m assuming the SIL either paid the ETF or somehow convinced them to waive it due to the health situation, in the case of the latter I’m a little surprised they didn’t request the phone back.

So long as the phone isn’t flagged as stolen it can be activated with any AT&T service. The new buyer simply needs to swap the SIM cards. When you sell it be sure to remove the SIM card from under the battery. To protect your data be sure to perform a hard reset, this returns the phone to it’s factory settings. Once you do that you’re generally protected from any information theft.

Post it on CL, accept only cash and deal in person. Provide lots of photos and include all the accessories and chargers. It’s simple and stright forward.

Buyers will need more information, such as a name and model number. There are a squillion different Blackberrys on many different types of network; some will work overseas, some will work in the States, some will work in both areas.

I’m also not sure whether GSM Blackberrys are locked to the carrier’s network; if not, they will be more valuable, because buyers can put SIMs from any carrier in them.

If she set up an e-mail account under the Blackberry Internet Service make sure you call tech support to get the device PIN cleared. BIS uses the PIN to tie the device to the email address. If the PIN is not cleared the new user will have access to her e-mail, Blackberry Messenger and Blackberry App Store account.

Okay, put the model number in the ad and remove the sim card, check.

MIL couldn’t figure out how to use it, so I doubt she’s set up any email accounts with Blackberry.

Is a hard reset a very complicated process? Would it be in the owner’s manual?

Depending on the model the reset should be this:

Menu>Options>Security Options>Security Wipe

Make sure the boxes for “Emails, Contacts, etc.”, “User Installed Applications” and “Media Card” (if a memory card is installed) are checked. Enter the word “Blackberry” in the space provided and click the “Wipe” button. The wipe will take place and the phone will power cycle. When it comes back on the reset is complete. Depending on how much she had on the phone the process could take 10-30 minutes.

Okay. Thanks to everybody for the advice!