QLD Private purchase of IPhone sold illegally

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Mrs C

29 October 2019
Really starting to stress on this! 3 months ago I saw a phone for sale on my local FB sell site. I messaged the seller asking reason for selling and to confirm phone would come with warranty and receipt of original purchase. Seller agreed. I met seller, handed over part payment in cash as agreed in writing, I got the phone and we agreed I’d pay the remaining $ once I had the documentation. Needless to say, 3 months later, I now know the phone was sold to me but was still on lease, I’ve continued to make written contact with seller telling them I want my cash back and end our agreement/ sale... evasive doesn’t do it justice! Now I’m being threatened by the lease company as I won’t hand over the phone ... it’s my only leverage to get my cash back !! Help ... I’m not easily spooked but I am concerned, angry, feeling let down by police as they say it’s a civil matter but I’m still expecting police to knock on my door


Well-Known Member
8 November 2015
I'm assuming the seller agreed verbally but not in writing that the phone would come with a warranty and receipt of original purchase and that these documents would be provided to you when you paid the balance of the purchase price for the phone. However I'm unsure whether you actually did get the original receipt and warranty info, or whether you made that final payment to the seller.

In any case -

1. Technically the phone belongs to the lease company and they have a right to retrieve their property from whoever is in possession of it.

2. This is similar to a finance company retrieving a car from a person who bought it believing it was owned fully by the seller.

3. Always wise to make sure property is fully owned by a seller before parting with any substantial amount of money to buy it. The sighting of full documentation and receipts from the seller to prove that he/she owned the phone outright, PRIOR to you parting with any money for this purchase would have prevented this.

4. If the leasing company pursue repossession of their property, the phone, you will end up out of pocket for the sum you've already paid and this is especially so if you can't get a refund from the seller which sounds unlikely.

5. Not really ideal, but if the leasing company continue to pursue you, it may be possible to negotiate an arrangement with them to keep and part pay the phone at terms suitable for you given the circumstances. They may just agree. This might work favourably for you if you were not left too out of pocket where the case is that you didn't pay the seller the final payment. I'm unsure whether you did or not.

Courts are generally reluctant to intervene where parties come to an agreement between themselves in the form of a contract whether it's verbal or in writing but will where there is serious injustice, for example being left substantially out of pocket for a failed contract for building work for example. The cost to you if you were to pursue a case through the court against the seller would probably outweigh the cost of the phone and therefore may not be financially worthwhile.

Mrs C

29 October 2019
Thank you so much for your detailed response and knowledge. This is as I thought . Everything is in writing between myself and the seller but sadly seller isn’t as honest and conscientious as I am
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Well-Known Member
16 April 2017
phone would come with warranty and receipt of original purchase.
I guess you didn't get it.
handed over part payment in cash... we agreed I’d pay the remaining $ once I had the documentation
Second mistake, never ever pay in cash, always use electronic money transfer methods like bank transfer or even Paypal.
The exchange had to be a one off, you gave the seller the money, the seller gave you everything.
I’m still expecting police to knock on my door
Don't worry because Police got no business in this matter.
I wonder why buying a second hand phone? The iPhones are the most overpriced expensive gadgets out there so my choice is always doing my research and buying the phone with the best value for money.
What do you need the phone for? Now you can buy a good Chinese brand phone for as cheap as $200-300 so you should consider this option instead of struggling with the scammer.
If it was me, I would send a letter of demand to the scammer, then a second letter if he didn't replay.
The next option would be a magistrate court complaint but that would be time and money costing even so you could recoup the Court fees.