CWTA Recommends to Not Buy Used Phones Off Kijiji


The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA)–an organization headed by members of telecoms in Canada–really wants you to avoid the secondary market when purchasing a phone, and now they have a good story to point to as an example. It’s the story of a 17-year-old Canadian who purchased a smartphone through an ad on Kijiji but later found that his phone had been backlisted (via CBC).

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It all started in December, when Jeremy Price-Williams took his savings and bought a smartphone in response to a Kijiji ad. He did everything that needed to be done to avoid purchasing a stolen smartphone: He asked for the seller’s ID and receipt, and everything seemed to be fine, as it showed that Bell had shipped the phone to the same customer at the address that appeared on the seller’s driver licence.

Williams even called Bell and asked about the phone, and received a green light, so everything was alright. His happiness lasted only a couple weeks: The device stopped working because Bell had blacklisted the phone, as Telus, his carrier, informed him.

As it turned out, Bell was scammed: The seller used a fake ID, so not even the carrier could go after him. So who’s fault is this? While this question awaits an answer, the innocent young man who threw $700 out the window is there without a phone.

Bell now claims it flagged the Montreal phone after it found the original buyer used a fake identity. That means it can’t go after him for non-payment.

“At that point, we assigned the phone to the … database, as we do with all phones stolen via fraud or other means.”

The CWTA obviously recommends that everyone avoid the secondary market and buy phones only from authorised dealers. Right. This is good for them, but not exactly for consumers.

“We strongly advise that Canadians only purchase pre-owned wireless devices from trusted sources, such as retailers, service providers, family, friends or through a referral,” said CWTA spokesman Marc Choma.

So next time, if you want to purchase an iPhone, just go ahead and do the Apple IMEI check, and you are good to go.


  • Jason Reid

    So one dishonest idiot ruins it for the rest of us?

  • Parksy

    Why would a blacklisted phone activate in the first place?

  • Bell didn’t blacklist the phone until after they told the kid it was okay to buy it.

  • aRhyno

    doesn’t ruin anything for us. Just tells us nothing is ever safe when coming from an unknown person. which we already knew anyways.

  • MrXax

    What’s the CWTA?

  • definingsound

    this blacklisting technology is causing the issues, not the used handset market

  • CanucksGoals

    The issue is those who tried to find loop holes to scam others. Not the technology.

    Always ask for proof of purchase if you do ever buy phones from another person.

  • definingsound

    The carriers have found a loophole to scam consumers. Handsets have been sold for over 20 years and the ability to permanently disable handsets remotely had been nothing but a carrier’s wet dream up until this point. The ability for a carrier to disable a used handset, without ownership of that handset, does nothing at all to empower consumers. All it does is cause consumers to lose a considerable portion of the used market. And Apple sells us more stuff, and the carriers sell us more stuff, and everyone wins except the consumer.

  • user7c

    Gives the OK and *then* blacklist the phone.
    Who’s the scammer here again? The seller or Bell??? LOL
    Since Bell “claimed” they messed up, they should be held liable for this transaction and give the kid his money back. Bell then need to fix their internal process – maybe matching IMEI and SN numbers of the phone instead of seller ID???