Welcome to my guide for buying used devices for use on Republic! I hope you find it helpful in your quest for a “new” phone! You will notice that parts of the instructions are dependent on which plan you have (if you are a current Republic customer). I have tried to make these differences easily noticeable, but please read carefully! This guide is not intended for upgrading from the Defy XT (although it can be used for that).
So you’re ready to shop for a “new” phone? Let’s get started!
Prior to starting, if you are a current Republic customer, you need to determine which phone plan you are currently on (i.e. Unlimited, Refund, or Clear Choice). You can determine this by logging into your Republic account and selecting the appropriate phone you want to replace. The sub-menu that pops up will display your current plan (along with some additional information). If you are a prospective customer, you may skip this step and move on to the next.
Ok, now that you determined what plan structure you have (if applicable), you need to check your coverage here. If you are on an Unlimited or Refund plan, you plan on keeping your plan, and have adequate coverage, you can skip this step and move on to the next. Otherwise, please proceed. After you input your ZIP code, you will get one of the following screens:
If you get this screen that says “Good news! You’ve got coverage in your area” then you are good to go and you can move to the next step.
If you get this screen below that says “Please note: ‘Bring your own phone’ is not supported for your location at this time” then you will need to buy the phone from Republic as opposed to buying a used device and bringing it to Republic. You can go ahead and close my guide unless you want to read the rest for the fun of it .
If you get this screen with the following message: “Please note: Your area [insert area code] does not have cellular coverage” then coverage is not adequate and unless you are planning to stay on the $5 plan (only on Refund and Unlimited plans), then you should probably look for other providers. If you currently have Republic service and have good coverage, you shouldn’t see this error message, but I thought I would mention it anyway since coverage can change.
Now that you have checked your coverage, you can find out what your upgrade (or downgrade ) options are.
Important! If you are on the Unlimited or Refund plans and you want to keep your plan, your only options will be the following phones: Moto E1, Moto E2, Moto G1, Moto G3, Moto X1, or the Moto X2. You can view the list [here].(Republic Wireless Phones – Republic Help). The phones must be a Republic version! They cannot be an unlocked variant! If at any point in this guide you decide that you want to upgrade to a Clear Choice plan, it is imperative that you go back to the last step and check your coverage-even if you have good coverage now.
If you are a prospective customer or a current customer on a Clear Choice plan, you can view an updated list of compatible phones here (note that even if the Republic shop does not sell the phone anymore, that does not mean you can’t buy it elsewhere and activate it).
Refund and Unlimited plan customers only: Note that if you buy a compatible phone from the list above, you will have to change your plan to one of the Clear Choice plans. You cannot keep your Refund or Unlimited plan when purchasing one of those devices. If you want to keep your Refund or Unlimited plan, please see the previous step.
Now that you have found out which phones are available for your plan structure, you can decide which phone(s) you are interested in. Once you have narrowed it down to a few different models, you need to make note of the compatible model numbers, and/or SKUs, and/or builds of each phone you are interested in. You may notice that some models just have a model number but no SKU or required build. That’s because each model Republic supports is different. Some may just have a model or some may have an SKU and Build requirement. Knowing the model, SKU, and/or Build is extremely important because if you get the wrong model, SKU, or build number, the phone will not work with Republic.
Whew! That was a lot of work! Take a quick break so you can stretch or get something to eat.!
Welcome back! Now you can move on to shopping for your phone. This can be the funnest or the most frustrating part of buying a new phone. I, personally, enjoy the thrill of the hunt! Anyway, there are a number of marketplaces that you can find used devices on. Some of the most popular are eBay, Amazon, Craigslist, and Swappa. Here are some personal thoughts I have on each marketplace:
eBay- Fairly safe marketplace. You can get decent deals on most phones-very few scams. You can view the feedback of sellers to see if the seller is honest. They utilize PayPal so in the rare event that you run into any issues that the seller won’t fix, you will be able to get your money back.
Amazon- Safe marketplace. Most of the “people” selling on Amazon are businesses that sell large quantities of items. I would caution against buying phones from new sellers that have no feedback and extremely low prices (it’s a common scam that has happened to me multiple times on Amazon). Prices are generally high or mediocre at best. However, it is one of the safest marketplaces as Amazon has superb buyer protection and support.
Swappa- Fairly safe. All the phones are vetted so they are guaranteed to be activation ready. You can view the feedback of the seller to see how “good” the sellers are. Prices are some of the best online -usually cheaper than eBay and Amazon. Like eBay, Swappa uses PayPal as well so if you run into any issues, you shouldn’t have a problem getting your money back. Note: I am talking about the main site, not the boneyard. Buying from the boneyard is a different story. It’s very risky. I have had upwards of 8 transactions go south in the boneyard. I am actually trying to retrieve my money right now.)
Craigslist- Risky. Craigslist is extremely risky and should only be used by those who know how to minimize risk. I used to buy from Craigslist a lot and resell phones online. I have totally stopped buying anything from Craigslist. Many sellers will be selling stolen phones that can’t be activated or phones that are financed and won’t be able to be activated. There is no recourse for items bought off Craigslist that are not as described. I strongly caution anyone from using Craigslist who doesn’t know what they are doing.
General note- There is always going to be a degree of risk when buying a device online. Always follow your instinct-if something is priced $150 below the normal price and the seller has no feedback, it is extremely likely that it’s a scam.
Aside from the IMEI being blocked, there is another thing to watch out for. This is a fairly recent phenomenon that seems to have hit eBay. I, as well as some of the other Ambassadors, have seen a few posts about it. It has to do with less-than-honest sellers taking carrier branded phones and flashing them to different software. In some of these cases, it will be a phone model that is not a supported model, but the seller flashed it to a supported model’s build. This is sketchy to say the least. I would highly recommend avoiding any phones like that. The following are some of the phrasing that the sellers use: “Flashed”, “Flashed to [insert model number] build”, and “running on [insert model] build”. The wording may not be the exact same, but I hope you get the idea. This is especially prevalent in Galaxy S7/S7 edge listings.
When you find a device that works with your current plan (or one of the new plans [if you are OK with upgrading from your Refund or Unlimited plan]), is a compatible model, build, an/or SKU, and is clear for activation, then you need to purchase a SIM kit. You can either purchase them from Republic or Amazon (both of them are identical).
Once you have your phone and SIM, you can start the setup and activation on your phone. Here are some other helpful guides that will help you in setting up and activating your phone: How to Transfer Contacts, Photos, Text messages and Other Info to Your New Phone and Activate Your Phone – Republic Help .