Over the summer, when I had some down time, pre-babies, I was doing some cleaning and used a service called Decluttr to sell off some older hardware (an old Macbook and an Airport Extreme). These were really old hardware that no one would take, so it was this or find a recycler. I figured the $10 bucks I’d make from Decluttr would be worth it.
When I got the new iPhone X, I checked out Decluttr to sell back my iPhone 6S. They made a really good offer (about 50% more than any one else), and my previous experience had been good enough, so I decided to go with them.
Normal shipping, device gets to them. Then they tell me its been flagged and they can’t take it. I follow up (takes nearly a day to get a response). They use some service called CheckMend, which seems to be a service used by some cell companies (which would presumably include AT&T, since they’re my provider) to ensure you don’t sell a phone before you’ve paid them for it. The phone has been flagged—they cannot accept it, legally.
That’s all fine. I pay the $1 to get my report (which, honestly, should be free since it’s my phone, but whatever) and I ask their support and they confirm my suspicion: AT&T uses them, the flag on my phone is just a flag that says it was being tracked at some point, and it should be ignored.
I reply to Decluttr with that info, with the info from AT&T that my phone was fully paid off, and request that we finish our business. They reply back that the flag still exists (even though CheckMend says to ignore it), but they can offer me half price for the phone.
Well, if that doesn’t smell like a scam.
Clearly, they deal with enough phones to have seen that AT&T puts this check on phones. And they’ve dealt with CheckMend enough to know that the flag on my device was one that’s put on every phone that’s leased (which is likely the vast majority). But, my guess is that Decluttr leverages this situation to get devices for less than they offered. Many people probably don’t have the time or energy to hunt down why this “flag” was put on the device. So they take the 50% offer and Decluttr gets to advertise a high sale price, but not actually pay it out.
In the end, I got my phone back and went with Gazelle. I will say Decluttr was upstanding in shipping my phone back to me.
That’s not enough to keep me as a customer. I won’t be using Decluttr again. I tried to find contact info for anyone at Decluttr (or their parent company), but you get forced into their support team. Should someone at Decluttr see this and want to ask me about it, feel free.