Where to Sell Financed Phones: Get Out of Your Contract Today
Owe Money Still? No Problem, Sell Your Phone That Isn't Paid Off Today!
If you want to upgrade your phone or lower your monthly phone expenses, you may want to consider trading it in or selling your phone—but can you trade in a phone that isn’t paid off? What about selling a phone under contract?
You can sell financed phones, but there are a few things to consider, such as the possibility of early termination charges and the consequences if you fail to pay your phone off after selling it. Let’s take an in-depth look at how to sell phones that you owe money on, as well as additional options to get out of your phone contract.
- Understanding the Termination Fees Involved
- Can You Sell a Phone That Isn’t Paid Off?
- What Happens If You Sell a Phone That Isn’t Paid Off?
- Option 1: Trade-in or Selling Your Leased Phone
- Option 2: Switch Carriers – They Might Pay It Off!
- Option 3: Transfer Your Phone & Carrier Contract to Another Person
- Option 4: Call Your Carrier in Serious Circumstances
Let’s get started…
Understanding the Termination Fees Involved
If you have a contract with a service provider, you typically have to pay a monthly installment until you pay off the phone. After paying for the phone, you can cancel the contract without paying an Early Termination Fee (ETF.) If you want to cancel the contract before paying off the phone, however, you may have to pay the ETF that your contract stipulates.
How much will it cost me?
In the case of some two-year service contracts, the ETF usually decreases every month. For example, say you sign up for a two-year service term with an ETF of $350 that decreases by $15 per month. If you want to cancel the contract after, say, three months, you will have to pay an ETF of $305.
These numbers would be worked out like this:
- Two-year service term = 24 months
- Early termination fee (ETF) = $350
- Monthly decrease = $350 divided by 24 months = $15 decrease per month
Got it? Great…
The simplest and quickest way to cancel a phone contract is to pay the balance off or, in the case of a service term agreement, to pay the applicable ETF. If the ETF is high or if you don’t have the cash to pay off your phone, you will have to consider a different option.
Can You Sell a Phone That Isn’t Paid Off?
Yes, you can, here’s why…
When you sign up for a service term or monthly installment plan, your carrier extends you a line of unsecured credit. As a result, the carrier cannot repossess your phone, and you can sell your phone, even if you still owe money on it.
You will still have to pay your monthly installments after selling the phone, though. If you want to get out of your contract, you can take the proceeds from the phone sale and use it to pay the phone’s remaining balance.
But not all buyers want phones with money owed…
If you want to upgrade or downgrade your phone, you can compare prices to sell financed phones right here, check out some quotes here:
What About My Specific Carrier?
Yes, you can sell your Verizon phone, even if you still owe money on it. However, if you fail to make your monthly payments or pay the ATF, Verizon will blacklist your phone, and the person you sold it to will no longer be able to use it.
To see how much your Verizon smartphone is worth, search for your device, and select Verizon as your carrier.
If AT&T is your carrier, you can also sell your phone if you still owe money on it. However, you will have to keep paying your bill or pay the ETF. If you fail to make your monthly payments, AT&T will likely blacklist it, and the buyer will not be able to use it.
To get and compare prices for an AT&T financed phone, search for your device, and select AT&T as the carrier.
You can sell your Sprint phone if you owe money, but you have to continue with your monthly payments or pay the phone off. If you fail to pay for the phone, Sprint will blacklist the device, rendering it useless for the buyer.
For an estimate of how much you can sell your financed phone for, find your device and pick Sprint as your carrier.
As is the case with other carriers, you can sell your T-Mobile phone if you still owe money. After selling your phone, you will have to pay off the phone or continue with the monthly payments to prevent the T-Mobile from blacklisting the device.
Just search for your phone model and pick T-Mobile as the carrier to see how much you can sell your finance phone for.
Selling your phone is, essentially, an easy and free way to cancel the contract with your carrier. However, for this option to work, you have to pay off your phone immediately. After canceling your contract, you will be able to sign up for any other plan that you want.
What Happens If You Sell a Phone That Isn’t Paid Off with a Bad ESN?
If you stop your payments before your contract expires, your carrier can blacklist your phone by assigning it a bad IMEI or ESN number. IMEI stands for International Mobile Equipment Identity, and ESN stands for Electronic Serial Number. The phone’s primary carrier assigns these numbers, and every mobile device has one. Any carriers can access a device’s ESN or IMEI.
If you sell a phone that isn’t paid off and don’t continue making EIP payments to the carrier, it can result in several complications and even have legal repercussions if the buyer chooses to pursue them.
The new owner will have a phone with a bad EIN and may not be able to activate it on their network. Carriers such as T-Mobile and Verizon usually blacklist phones with a bad ESN or IMEI number, but AT&T and Sprint do not. Depending on the carrier, then, the buyer may not be able to use the phone they bought from you, and they may only realize it when they try to switch the phone to their carrier.
Because blacklisting can limit the use of a phone, buyers are often unwilling to buy a phone with a bad ESN. Likewise, if you defaulted on your payments and have a blacklisted phone that hasn’t been paid off, most resellers will not buy the phone from you.
Some of our vendors will buy a phone with a bad ESN. However, if you sell your blacklisted phone, additional steps may be necessary to ensure that the phone is rightfully yours and not lost or stolen. Our buyers also typically offer about 50 percent less for phones that have a bad ESN.
If you want to sell a phone under contract that has a bad ESN, enter your phone’s information to find out what your phone is worth. You should also contact your carrier to find out if your phone’s selling price will cover the cost of closing your account.
4 Options For Your Leased Phones
People who want to save on their monthly payments often lease a phone instead of buying. Carriers such as Sprint offer the option to lease a phone at a lower rate, but you have to turn the phone in at the end of the lease.
With this option, you don’t own the phone at the end of the service term, but you do have the option to buy the phone, or you can opt for an upgrade.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to sell a leased Sprint phone. With a financing contract, you buy the phone, and if you sell it, you can use the money to pay it off immediately. With a lease, however, the phone is not yours to sell. If you choose to buy the phone after the lease term, you are free to sell it.
Sometimes, carriers offer contract buyout deals that pay off your smartphone and any early termination fees as an incentive to switch to their services. To qualify for these deals, you may have to trade in your current phone for a new one. However, if the program offers the new phone at a discount, it may help to offset the balance of your existing carrier.
Switching carriers is a viable option to get out of a contract, especially if you want to upgrade your phone, but this option won’t always reduce your bills.
Additionally, the payoff from the new carrier won’t happen instantly. You may have to offset the balance out of pocket in the meantime.
Another option to get out of a contract is to transfer it to someone you know. The process of transferring ownership is an “assumption of liability,” and each carrier has different policies. You can view policies from some of the major carriers below.
Carriers will always try to hold clients to the terms of their phone contracts – it’s how they make their money. However, there are special circumstances in which a carrier might allow you to cancel without having to pay early termination fees.
The most common circumstances include illnesses, relocation to out-of-service areas or areas that the carrier doesn’t cover, and military deployment. If you cannot honor the terms of your service contract because of financial problems, the carrier may also be willing to reduce your payments or provide you with an alternative solution.
Your best option, in any case, is to call and discuss your options with your carrier.
What Next? Compare Prices & Sell Financed Phones Today
If you want to sell a phone that isn’t paid off, BankMyCell can help. We’ve assisted countless consumers in finding the best price to sell financed phones. Search for your phone on our site and select all the appropriate options to get started.