Buying new or used smartphones on swappa or ebay or craigslist ?

Are you planning to buy new smartphones or used smartphones on the internet or craigslist or ebay or swappa ? Beaware there is lot of fraud happening these days.

Sellers often sell their new phones. Swappa does a good job of verifying the phone’s ESN and makes sure thats its on etc. But after couple of months your phone might get black listed by the carrier. How ? What happened ? Why ?

Often what the sellers do is they take insurance on the smartphone before selling them and wait for few months and then claim that the phone is lost and makes the claim. The insurance company will in turn inform the Cell phone carrier that its lost and request the ESM/IMEI number to be placed in the blacklist. And suddenly your phone is dead.

The problem here is that neither the carrier nor the insurance company has no knowledge of the buyer.

Paypal will not be able to do anything after few months.

So when you are buying, ensure that you are buying from a company or a business and not an individual. Individuals could sell and disappear. Businesses have a lot riding on them and may not do fraud..

Overall what I meant to say is there is lot risk in buying used phones. I recommend buy from someone you know. Just like how you check the review of an online site etc and their return policy, there is more risk on buying phones in ebay, swappa or craigslist because there is no way to know if the phone is insured and no way to register the new owner.

Swappa will verify before you purchase the phone, after the grace period in paypal is over, if the seller says its lost and claims replacement, swappa will not do anything and so is paypal because by that time 2 or 3 months have already past.

I know there are lot of people who buy and sell phones on swappa or ebay, you should be aware that there is risk in buying from someone unknown because of the blacklisting by the insurance company and the carrier. AT&T and T-mobile have a common database for blacklisting so you wont be able to use them here in USA. I heard there is a huge market for blacklisted phones in the Asian market.

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How to change Straight Talk SIM Card to AT&T LTE SIM Card with out calling customer service


If you are on Straight talk bring your own phone program and you wanted to use another phone and its SIM card is a different size, or perhaps you wanted to use the new AT&T LTE sim card to get LTE speeds, then you have move the service to the new SIM card of the new phone.

Note: If you want to know how to get an AT&T LTE sim card, then visit this site

There are two ways to switch your sim

Option 1 : Call the customer service and go through the maze of prompts and wait for a long time to get to the customer service and then explain go through all the process over the phone.

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IPhone lost internet, data and mms on Straight Talk

Yesterday, when I stepped out of house, I realized that one of my phones, iphone 4s lost internet connection and I could still make and receive calls. I had full 4 bars and it does say 4G network. My iphone 4s was from AT&T and still at iOS 6.

I went to “My Account” on Straight Talk website and ensured that my account is still valid. I’m on un-limited talk $45 plan.

I went to and ensured that the APN settings are correct but still not getting internet. Tried rebooting the iphone multiple times and no change.


So I had to call Straight Talk customer support. They mentioned they changed the APN settings and that manually setting the APN settings is not going to work on iphone. They wanted me to upgrade to iOS 7. But I told them I do not want to upgrade my iphone 4s to iOS 7 as it would slow iphone.

So they made me do the following

1. Turn off WiFi on iphone.

2. Ensure that I still have bars for the signal.

3. Open Safari browser and

4. Go to and install a StraightTalk profile which is signed certificate. And go back into general and then to home screen.

5. After that I rebooted the iphone and data started working.


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Be aware, AT&T will not pro-rate your final bill when you leave them

Continuing from my previous post about switching from AT&T to T-Mobile, I finally made the switch when I was planning to travel international. T-Mobile has free international text and data and very cheap calls.

So I made the switch to T-Mobile in the middle of the billing cycle. I thought AT&T would pro-rate your bill.

AT&T always bills one month ahead. When the final bill came, AT&T did not pro-rate. Even though when you call ahead before cancelling, they tell you that they will pro-rate on the phone but when the final bill comes, you won’t get the partial refund.

I tried calling AT&T customer service many times and also spoke with the supervisor at AT&T Customer Service but they said its their policy of not pro-rating the final bill.

It seems this practice of not pro-rating is prevalent among all the big 4 wireless companies.

I have filed a complaint with BBB mentioning un-fair billing practices. Immediately AT&T person from corporate called me back and they said the same and will not pro-rate the final bill.

So do not take their customer service word. Plan to cancel towards the end of the cycle.

I plan to file a complaint with FTC for un-fair billing practices.

Overall I’m happy that I moved out of AT&T and the potentials savings I’m receiving.

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T-Mobile International Roaming is awesome and a revolutionary change

One of the important aspects that you keep in mind during the international travel is trying to stay connected with your family and friends. I used to dread during my international travel.

And T-Mobile with their new found un-carrier behavior is revolutionary and simply awesome.

Recently I switched to T-Mobile from AT&T. T-Mobile has Simple Choice Plan and free International Roaming to 100 Countries with free Text Messages and free Data plan with 128kbps connection. You can buy high speed data for additional money.

Recently I traveled to Dominican Republic and the T-Mobile free international roaming worked perfectly right away after landing in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

Incoming calls are 20 cents a minute and free Text messages and free data plan worked perfectly. The data plan was 128kbps and was good enough for whatsapp text messages. Regular Text messages was free and instant and was fast.

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Switching from AT&T to T-Mobile ? and then on Straight Talk ?

Event though my contract with AT&T was up, I stayed on as I liked the service and never had any major issues.

Recently T-Mobile made waves in the wireless world with their un-carrier approach. With AT&T I was paying almost $200 for three lines for smartphones. With T-mobile it would come to $90 only. Wow that felt like no brainier and I was thinking if there was considerable savings then why is T-mobile not getting flooded with customers ? What are the stumbling blocks ?

The main attraction of T-Mobile un-carrier is if you don’t have to buy a new phone. If you were to buy a new phone then the savings diminish.

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I moved my hosting to GoDaddy from Dreamhost

I was paying $120 per year at Dreamhost. I was nearing the near annual plan and was trying to explore my options and I found GoDaddy was offering 50% off for all their plans and so I locked in for 3 years.

Moving the site to GoDaddy was a challenge. I’m not well versed in blogging and so didn’t plan properly. I should have installed the updraft plus plugin first before switching the hosting. I was glad that I took tar of the entire directory. But it was pain.

Also another pain I faced was that some of the plugins are not available and some of them are no longer free.

It took some effort to find their replacements and get the site working on GoDaddy. Next time I will be more careful. I would suggest using a backup and restore plugin and also take full directory backup.

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Nexus 5 released, Are you buying ?

Just heard the news that Google released their new android version and also release Nexus 5.

I currently own Nexus 4 and use it on AT&T on their 4G like HSPA+ service. The data plan is sluggish and sometimes it does not lock into their data network. I constantly would have to go airplane mode and come back so that it locks into the new cell towers. Overall the Nexus 5 experience on AT&T hasn’t been that good.

The one thing that interests me in the Nexus 5 is the Optical Image Stabilization and Automatic HDR+ photo capture and their LTE network support on AT&T, T-mobile and Sprint.

I might wait for few more days and decide if I wanted to jump in or not.

I recently wrote another post that I might plan to switch to T-mobile from AT&T and take advantage of their un-carrier pricing.

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Are you planning to switch from AT&T to T-mobile ?

I’m nearing the end of my contract and exploring the options. Right now I have three smartphones with data plans and text messaging plan etc and my bill runs into around $200.

With T-mobile new found un-carrier pricing behavior looks very attractive. If I simply to their family with 500MB 4G data and unlimited 3G per line, and unlimited texting and voice minutes, the bill comes to around $110 .

T-mobile coverage seems to be sticking point. I guess I will have to take chances and see how the coverage looks like for few days. If it works out there is so much to gain.

I will update this post on what I found out.

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Philips Sonicare Healthy White Platinum from Costco

I have long been wanting to get a power brush like Sonicare or Oral-B every time I walk by those aisle in Costco. Last week when I went to Costco, I saw the deal for Sonicare Platinum edition for $120.00 for two brushes. $60 per brush. There is a premium edition too for $40 per brush. I called up cousin who is a dentist and she has recommended to go for platinum. So I went for it.

After my first use, I felt so clean and nice inside my mouth. I would warn you to be gentle on your gum though, otherwise your gums might recede. I tried the Clean and White mode but it felt too intensive. Coming to think of it, I could have got Premium edition as well. Its your choice.

It has a 2 minute timer, it shuts off automatically after 2 minutes of running time so that you know that you have to keep brushing until the doctor recommended 2 minutes of brushing is complete. But it feels very clean and nice.

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