Sell a Blacklisted Phone with a Bad ESN or Bad IMEI

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By Ash Turner
As CEO of and since 2009, Ash has been a pivotal figure in the mobile tech industry. With a background in managing Brightstar’s PhoneRecycleBank, he boasts extensive experience with global carriers and MVNOs like T-Mobile and O2, and leading manufacturers such as Apple and Samsung.

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| Updated on May 22, 2024
Fact Checked By
Marlene Centeno
Marlene specializes in creating comprehensive guides for smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches from leading brands like Apple, Samsung, and Google, demonstrating a deep understanding of these technologies.

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Edited By
Kim Juanillo
Kim, an editor with a rich background in digital content management and developmental psychology, brings a unique blend of analytical and creative skills to BankMyCell. With her background in Psychology, Kim is adept at understanding complex concepts and transforming them into engaging, accessible content.

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  • Discover how to sell your blacklisted iPhone.
  • Learn how to check if you have a blacklisted or locked phone.
  • Check out how to remove your phone from a blacklist status.

Sell Your Blacklisted Phone Quickly, Easily, and Legally!

Can I Sell a Blacklisted iPhone or Android Phone?

YES, you can sell blacklisted phones safely and legally as long as you verify you are the rightful owner, or you mistakenly bought a blacklisted or stolen device.

You can utilize our platform to see the best offers you can get for your blacklisted device. 

Here’s how: 

  1. Find your phone model here.
  2. Select Blacklisted in locked status and provide accurate information about your phone.
  3. Click Get Paid and follow the instructions prompted.

What is a Blacklisted Phone?

Blacklisted iPhones or Android phones are often due to being reported lost or stolen or unpaid bills. You can still sell it to online stores if it is operational.

Is it Safe to Sell My Blacklisted iPhone?

It is 100% safe and legal to sell bad ESN phones as long as you have done it transparently, like confirming you are the rightful owner or conducting your investigation if you buy a used phone that you didn’t know was blacklisted.

If your phone has a bad ESN or blacklisted IMEI number, it can significantly restrict your phone’s value. Phone buyers are also apprehensive about buying phones with bad ESNs.

So, how do you sell a blocked iPhone or Android phone? Can you fix a bad ESN or blacklisted IMEI? Let’s find out!

Where to Sell a Blacklisted iPhone – 100% Safe

SellLocked logo

Average Customer Rating:

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5 out of 5 on Trustpilot

  • Accepts: Blacklisted & Financed, Passcode or Activation Locked
  • Reviews: #1 Rated, 800+ reviews on Trustpilot
  • Payment: Pays you in 1-5 days via PayPal or Check
  • Shipping: FREE Shipping & FREE Returns (NO RISK)


What customers say about SellLocked.

Mitzi Roberts

I was grateful for them accepting blacklisted cell phones. I did get top dollar for the iPhone 14 that I sent in. The transaction was quick and trustworthy.

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Amazing experience working with this third-party company to sell my blacklisted phones. Instant payout. (It's) super easy and legitimate. Thank you!

How to Sell a Blacklisted Phone?

What does blacklisted iPad mean header

Private buyers may be reluctant to buy phones with a bad ESN or IMEI number. But it is still possible to sell it as long as you are the owner or bought a used phone you didn’t know was blacklisted.

There are a few online buyback stores that will accept a blacklisted or locked phone. You can compare prices and options for selling a blocked iPhone or Android phone.

Here’s how you sell blacklisted phones:

  • Find your phone model here.
  • Select Blacklisted in locked status and provide accurate information about your phone.
  • Click Get Paid and follow the instructions prompted.

What are the Conditions Accepted?

  • Bad ESN – unable to utilize a cellular network due to a blacklist or block by the carrier
  • Permanent blacklisted or blocked globally
  • Blocked or blacklisted for any reason
  • Blacklisted by not a hardware problem or issues
  • It powers on

Some local repair stores also look for a locked phone to utilize their parts. However, if you can unblock your phone, you can sell it for a higher price.

Find the Best Deals for Your Blacklisted Devices Here!

BankMyCell provides an easy way to compare costs from reputable buyback stores. Get the most out of your device, ship it for free, and earn more while legally and ethically compliant.

bankmycell compare iphone deals

What is a Blacklisted Phone?

The blacklist is a database of all the ESN (Equipment Serial Number) or IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) numbers that phone carriers, insurance companies, or other entities have reported. A device that is on the blacklist will have restricted services, and local authorities may even seize the phone.

Why is Your Phone Blacklisted?

  • Lost and Found: You report a lost phone, it gets blacklisted, but then you find it.
  • Unpaid Financed Phones: Selling a financed phone before it’s paid off. The carrier then blacklists it.

If you have a phone with a bad ESN or IMEI, there are several things that you can do to unblock your phone.

How to Remove a Phone from the Blacklist

Contact Your Carrier

If your phone is on the blacklist as a result of non-payment, the first step is to contact your carrier and ask them to unblock your ESN or IMEI. Your carrier may be willing to unblock the phone, provided you pay your total balance.

Pay for Unblock Services

Service providers can unblock an IMEI or ESN for a fee. If you want to unblock an older model, for example, a 6-year-old iPhone, you will have to pay a fee of around $25. However, unblocking newer models is more expensive, and you can spend as much as $190 to unblock a brand-new iPhone.

Should you decide to go this route, stick to reputable companies that do not engage in unethical or illegal activities? You should only work with companies, such as IMEI Authority and Cell Unlocker, that offer money-back guarantees to protect you if they cannot remove your phone from the blacklist.

Use as Wi-Fi Device

If you can’t follow the above options to unblock your phone, you can still use it with Wi-Fi. Your phone will not be connected to a cellular network, but you can still place calls online, access the internet, and check your email. It can also be used to make emergency calls to 911.


What are the tips for safely selling an iPhone with a bad ESN online?

  1. Transparency: Make the bad ESN clear in your listing. This avoids post-sale disagreements.
  2. Sell to Trusted Platforms: Use reputable sites like BankMyCell for safe and easy transactions.
  3. Secure Your Data: Factory reset your iPhone to erase personal data before selling it.
  4. Safe Shipping: Follow shipping and return policies. Use trackable and insured methods.

Is it possible to Unblacklist an iPhone?

Yes! You need to contact your carrier (Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, or Sprint) to settle your bill if you still have money owed to them OR reach out to the previous owner. For a more detailed guide, visit this page.

Does Apple blacklist stolen iPhones?

Apple does not directly block stolen iPhones. Carriers usually do this. However, Apple’s security features make it impossible to use or sell. If your iPhone is stolen, notify the authorities, cellular carrier, or insurance company, and use the Find My app to lock or wipe the device.