In this article I’d like to do something a little bit different. I want to share a few personal experiences that I have had when meeting people in person to buy or sell a used phone.
Two of these scenarios happened when I was purchasing phones from people and the third scenario is from when I was selling a used phone to someone.
A little while back, I used to buy used phones from someone in Montreal who also sold phones for profit – similar to myself, and Phone Hook-Ups. I had dealt with this person for almost two-months and had always met them in public places – just for safety purposes, like I’ve suggested in past blogs. Over those months, I thought I had built a strong relationship with this person. At least I thought that until the evening I’m going to tell you about now.
I got a call from this person one evening, saying that he had another phone that he could sell me. Feeling under the weather, I suggested he come to where I lived to make the exchange. I gave him my address and met him outside of my building. When he approached, I noticed he was with someone else. He had brought a friend with him. At that moment, I didn’t think much of it – looking back, maybe I should have.
He showed me the phone and as usual I checked all the features to make sure I could confidently sell it to someone else. The phone was in great shape, so I paid him. This was when things went south. Once he had my money in his hands, his friend then pulled a gun on me. He yelled “Give me the phone! Do it!” I froze. I had to make a decision quickly. Part of me wanted to run away and the other part thought it was too risky. I just wanted to give him the phone and walk away. So I did just that. I handed the friend the phone and they ran away.
In this scenario, I not only gave up the iPhone 6 Plus he was trying to sell me, but I was also robbed of $600.00. But, like I’m sure you’re all thinking, it wasn’t worth my life.
More recently, I was searching for used phones on Facebook’s new Marketplace. I saw an ad of an iPhone 8 Plus, which obviously caught my attention. I contacted the seller on Facebook and we decided to meet in a coffee shop that was inside a mall not too far away from where I was living.
On that day, there was freezing rain and my car’s trunk was completely jammed – totally frozen shut. I was worried that I would be late so I asked the girl to meet me in front of my apartment building. I waited in the lobby and a guy showed up instead. He told me that his girlfriend stayed in the car because she didn’t feel comfortable making the exchange herself.
As normal, I checked the phone and everything seemed to look good. I asked him to reset the phone but he did not have the password for the iCloud. He needed to ask his girlfriend. He then asked me to step outside with him. I looked at the car and saw his girlfriend inside, so I thought to myself, “why not”. I stepped outside of the building; he got the password from her, typed it in and reset the phone. Once I saw that the phone was resetting successfully, I pulled out the money and handed it to him. To my surprise, he proceeded to punch me in the face. I fell to the ground all while he proceeded to hit me over and over. It wasn’t until I yelled “Just take the money and leave!” that he actually stopped. Again, to my surprise, that was the one time that no one was out front of the building to see what had happened.
In this scenario, I was the one selling the used phone. This was almost three-years ago. I had posted an ad on Kijiji for an iPhone 6s and a guy contacted me via text to say he was interested in purchasing it. I proposed we meet at a Starbucks in downtown Montreal – again, a public place. When he arrived, he asked me to step outside because he couldn’t find parking and was therefore illegally parked. I stepped outside and saw that he had parked in a driveway. I immediately thought that something wasn’t right.
At that point I stopped and told him to follow me back to the Starbucks. He kept his car parked where it was and followed me back. When we were back in the coffee shop, I handed him the phone. Once he had it in his hands, he immediately turned to run away. I was able to grab onto his coat and yell “hand me the phone or I call the police!” Because there were people around, he had no choice but to do what I said. He handed me the phone and ran away – not before giving me a good shove first.
A couple of tips
At the end of the day, I wanted to share these stories not to scare you, but to show you the importance of always being careful when making private purchases. So my simple tips are:
- Never give the buyer or the seller your home address
- Always meet them in public.
- Meet during the daytime.
You can see where doing business at my home address has gotten me in the past. I learned these things the hard way. Hopefully you, as a buyer or sell, don’t have to.