Online shopper out hundreds of dollars after trading his cellphone

By Amanda Doucette

Feb. 12, 2017

Ashton Turnquest hasn’t had the best luck when buying online.

On Feb. 4, he tried purchasing a used cell phone from a seller online on the Facebook page P.E.I. electronics buy sell or swap.

He checked the device specifications beforehand to make sure it would work on his network, but after setting it up it wasn’t what he thought.

Turnquest traded his Iphone 6 Plus 64GB for an Iphone 6s 32GB, but after receiving the phone and using it for a day it was shut off and blacklisted by the provider.

His own SIM card was in the phone, but the provider explained to him there was an unpaid phone bill attached to the phone’s IMEI number he said.

“I spent a few hours talking to Eastlink figuring out if there was a way around it, but they kept saying all I could do was speak to the phone’s original owner.”

A phones IMEI number is a unique 15 or 17 digit code that identifies a phone, similar to a serial number.

At first, the supplier told him she would be pay the bill within a few days, but that never happened and the user now has him blocked on Facebook, said Turnquest.

“I’m out hundreds of dollars and I can’t do anything about it.”

His wife, Myranda, was with Turnquest at the time of the transaction.

“We checked over the phone. There was no scratches. We put his SIM card in the phone and made a phone call and it worked, so we bought it and didn’t think anything of it.”

It wasn’t until the next day when the phone was unresponsive, she said.

“When we spoke to the police they said that it’s buyer beware when buying off these sites.”

From now on, they’ll be using the E-Watch Safe Exchange zone at the Charlottetown police station.

“I think it’s a great idea, I guess you never really know what you’re buying when it’s used.”

The zone is a security-camera monitored area in the parking lot of the Kirkwood Road police station in Charlottetown, where users can make transactions there safely.

Charlottetown police chief Paul Smith said in a release earlier this month, the police are nearby to help if anything goes wrong.

“We’re not guaranteeing that people will be happy with the product they buy.”

Since the cameras are already in use outside the station, police are willing to offer them to the public to keep safe, Chief Smith said.

“Nor are we taking on any liability for the transactions that will be conducted in this space, but we will be a presence.”