The Pledge

As things go, my wife’s line was available to upgrade to a newer iPhone. We decided to try a new upgrade path and sell the phone through Gazelle instead of messing with eBay this time around. We have never used Gazelle before so it was a bit of a risk. Looking around on their site, they were listed with the BBB and had a rating of an A+. Seems legit, went to their site and got a quote for the iPhone 4 we were interested in selling. The price seemed a little lower than eBay but we decided it was fair enough and went forward with the sale. Gazelle sent us a box, I set the phone back to factory defaults, cleaned it very carefully with a microfiber cloth and some canned air, recorded the serial number and IMEI number, pulled the SIM card and packed up the phone very carefully. All accessories were included in the box, which was the original box the phone came in so all the serial numbers matched up perfectly. I sent the box off and eagerly waited my Amazon gift card to appear.

The Turn

I received an email from Gazelle a few days after sending the phone out, my box had arrived. Four days later another email arrived, It was to confirm they had opened the box finally and would inspect my phone. Another TWO days pass and I finally receive another email with their updated offer price. It was $100 less than originally quoted with the reason of “Your item does not power on”. Knowing the phone was in perfect working condition when I sent it out, I grew instantly irritated. Luckily there was a link to “speak to someone about this adjustment”. It took me to a web form that I could fill out with my comments. Awesome, a web form. I was expecting to be able to actually talk to a human being with my voice either through the web or via phone. I filled out the form and began waiting again.

A day passes and I receive an email from Gazelle Customer Care. Their exact comment: “I apologize for the miscommunication. The issue with your phone was that it had a cracked screen nit that it was unable to power on. The offer will remain the same. Please let us know whether you would like to accept the offer or decline the offer and have the item returned. Please let us know if you have any other questions. We’re here to help.

I responded to them through email this time. I told them my phone shouldn’t have a cracked display either and that I wished for the device to be returned to me. Six days later the phone arrives at my doorstep…

The Prestige

Having just opened the box, I noticed something immediately wrong with the original iPhone box within the brown shipping container. The box looks a little more battered than the one I had sent. I am slightly OCD when it comes to things like this. I store my iPhone boxes in a rubbermaid container in my basement along with the boxes for my other small electronics that I may want to sell someday in order to fund upgrades. Things are always worth more if they have their original box and I myself appreciate receiving a used item inside it’s original box, so I keep the boxes safe and in good condition. “Perhaps it was knocked around during the processing stage”, I thought to myself. I opened the iPhone box and saw an ugly, sad and very cracked screen staring at me. The overall condition of the phone was much worse than what I had sent to Gazelle. There was dirt in places that I know mine didn’t have. The back was scratched up where-as mine was nearly perfect condition. I pulled the sim card tray and looked at the serial number on the tray. My heart sank, it was the same serial number I had written down. But it couldn’t be the same phone, it just couldn’t be. I powered the phone on and saw the truth beamed at me like the Sun through a magnifying glass hitting an Ant. The IMEI numbers were entirely different than what I had recorded. I checked the box out of curiosity and the IMEI on the box Gazelle sent back to me was actually entirely different than the phone inside it! What is wrong with these jokers?

I looked on Gazelle’s site for a phone number but I couldn’t find one. I looked them up in the BBB listings and found an 800 number, which for future reference is (800) 429-3553. I went through the various phone menus, finally reaching someone. I explained my situation and they transferred me to a supervisor. The supervisor re-hashed my situation to make sure he understood. I confirmed it and he asked for the serial number and IMEI of the device I sent in. He checked those and showed they were in their system then asked for the same for the device I was sent. I gave him the IMEI but he said the IMEI could be different and gave me some line of crap. I told him to hang on that I thought I could get the serial number. I plugged the phone into my desktop and launched Xcode. BOOM. Right there in the Xcode Organizer was the device and it’s serial number, IMEI and UDID. I gave those to him and the tone of the conversation entirely changed. The supervisor became apologetic at this point and said he would process the Amazon gift card today for the original amount they quoted me before this mess and send out a box for me to ship the incorrect phone back to them.

I’m very glad that they resolved this situation. Although I am pretty sure if I had not recorded the serial numbers of the device I sent in I would be out of luck. So, remember kids, write down those serial numbers before you send your device in for a sale, repair or anything! And probably take a bunch of pictures of the device and serial numbers too!