5 Things You Can Do with a Bad ESN Samsung Galaxy or iPhone

(Last Updated On: August 13, 2020)

Samsung Galaxy! It’s either you love it or hate it. But you’re going to hate it if it has a bad ESN. So here’s what you can do with it.

Samsung Galaxy S20

If you have ever got to eBay to purchase a cell phone, then you, must have seen a ‘’bad ESN’’ in a listing title or description. If you are keen, you must also have realized that this phones are priced lower than the normal price of a clean ESN.

What is a cell with a bad ESN and should you buy it?

The first thing here is to understand what an ESN is.

This is an electronic Serial Number that identifies ever cell phone with the use of unique codes. It is used to identify unique or specific CDMA cell Phone.

What this means is that a CDMA cellphone doesn’t use a simcard but a special code (ESN) that is used to identify and authenticate subscribers to the network.

There are several CDMA carriers in the US including Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile.

Now that you understand what an ESN is, we have to understand what a phone with a ‘’Bad ESN’’ means.

A cellphone with a bad ESN whether Samsung or iPhone is a phone that cannot be activated on the carrier that the phone was manufactured for due to varying reasons.

There are several reasons why a Samsung smartphone or an iPhone can have a bad ESN.

One of the reasons is if the phone was reported stolen, lost or if the phone was used to carry on faulty transactions.

The phone can as well be blacklisted if the initial owner didn’t clear all his dues.

If you happen to purchase a cell phone which has a bad ESN then you may have a difficult time activating it on several other carriers.

Most CDMA carriers will not activate a cellphone from another carrier.

However, there are several things you can do with an iPhone or a Samsung smartphone with a bad ESN which can guarantee you a return to the whole money that you used to buy it.

However, there are some smaller carrier that will accept an iPhone or a Samsung smartphone from another carrier but the smartphone should have another software installed on it.

If you bought an AT&T phone and you cannot activate it on the first carrier, you can activate it on T-Mobile and still use it. All what you have to do is to unlock the device to allow it accept a simcard from another carrier.

What is a Blacklisted Samsung Phone?

Similarly, a blacklisted Samsung phone is another way to describe that it has bad ESN.

In many other countries outside of USA, the term ESN is not widely used. The blacklisting of a Samsung phone is done through its IMEI which is the same as ESN.

How do I know that the phone I’m purchasing has a bad ESN?

Most carriers will never tell you if the phone was reported as stolen or not.

They will just go silent on it and hence you are left to use other mechanisms to know if the phone was reported stolen or lost.

For this reason, most sellers out there do not intentionally sell phones which have been reported as stolen or lost because you cannot determine what it is.

The good thing is that we are here to help in this case. All we want from you is the ESN which you can get from the back cover of the phone to be able to get back to you and inform, you if the iPhone or a Samsung device has a bad ESN.

Just get the ESN and provide it to get the full details.

What if I buy a phone with a bad ESN?

If you fall into this trap and buy an iPhone or a Samsung smartphone with a bad ESN, just bear in mind that there are several things that you can do with it.

You don’t have to lose hope and just throw the device away. In this article, I have stated some of the main things that you can do with that Samsung or iPhone device with a Bad ESN.

So here’s what you can do with it. The Samsung Galaxy S9 was released not too long ago. If you’re a Samsung Galaxy fan, of course you would think it’s gorgeous.

Since this website is not going to be 100% on iPhones, we will occasionally write about Samsung too.

What if you bought a Samsung with a bad ESN, or in other words a Samsung that is blacklisted, or has a bad IMEI?

First of all, you’re probably upset with yourself right now for buying a bad ESN or blacklisted IMEI Samsung Galaxy because no one has ever advised you anything about what to do before buying a used smartphone on the internet or from a stranger.

You probably found this article because you realized that you bought a blacklisted Samsung Galaxy, which you may think a bit too late now.

While it’s crucial to find a way to get out from this mess, perhaps you should first know why smartphones can have bad ESN and if there’s a way to fix it.

ESN or MEID or IMEI are the unique identifier of any smartphone. Each one is unique and no single device will have the same ESN or IMEI despite having so many different smartphone manufacturers.


The ESN can be found by dialing *#06# followed by the dial button or behind the battery.

Prior to 2012, phone theft was growing an alarming rate around the world because stolen smartphones can be re-used again simply by changing the SIM card.

Thieves were able to get away with it and constantly making money by stealing and reselling these devices.

However, that was addressed in a way that carriers can block devices that are reported lost or stolen from connecting to the network.

This is typically what happens especially if you’ve purchased a used smartphone, used it for a while and then suddenly you’re getting a ‘no service’ message on the phone.

Smartphones don’t only get stolen or lost, but some people take advantage by filing insurance claims.

All of these contribute to smartphones being blacklisted. Well, not to worry yet.

Let’s go through each one below and see what’s the best thing you can do if you’ve already got this Samsung which you can’t use.

5 Things You Can Do if You Have a Samsung Galaxy with Bad ESN

Here are some ideas you can do with your Samsung Galaxy.

Verify Your Samsung’s ESN or Smartphone Status First

This is probably the first thing you should be doing. If you don’t know for sure if that iPhone or a Samsung device has a bad ESN, you will probably never know the source of problem.

A lot of sites in America provide free checks to verify if your Samsung device has bad ESN or not.

If you are one of those people, then just smile because I have listed two of the best ways to get in touch with these companies.

Here are some websites you can use to check:

  • CheckESNfree.com – allows checks for multiple carriers including Canadian blacklist. All you need is the 14 or 15 digit ESN/IMEI, choose the carrier and click submit. It will return the status immediately. You are entitled to do free 30 checks daily
  • Swappa.com – this page is only accessible in the US. So if you’re trying to access from countries outside of USA, you will get an error message. The checking procedure is the same as using CheckESNfree.com.

Call the Carrier

There’s always a small possibility that the result from the two sites above may not be 100% accurate. If you know what carrier is your Samsung Galaxy locked to, call the carrier directly to verify.

When you get the real data from the horse’s mouth, then you are sure on what to do next. The first step is to get sure on whatever the source of problem it is and then start looking for a solution.

For your convenience, here are the customer service numbers for major US carriers:

  • AT&T: +1 800-331-0500
  • T-Mobile: +1 877-453-1304
  • Sprint: +1 888-211-4727
  • Verizon: +1 800-922-0204

Before calling them, get the ESN ready so that you are readily to pass the ESN for checking.

Get it Unlocked

If you managed to confirm that the ESN is bad, then consider getting it unlocked.

Normally, if the Samsung Galaxy has a bad ESN, blocked or blacklisted due to unpaid bills, unlocking it still allows you to switch to another carrier or you can go to the smaller carriers that don’t get serious on these services.

Linking your phone with some of the carriers in town can be difficult. However, when the phone is unlocked, you can get in touch with some and eventually get help. It also allows you to use the unlocked Samsung Galaxy to be used outside of USA or internationally.

Unlocking a Samsung Galaxy is slightly different compared to iPhones. It relies on getting the network code from Samsung database.

The code can be obtained by using this service. Once the code is ready, all you need to enter the code on your Samsung and you’ll be able to change to another carrier SIM card immediately.

The service stated here supports all US carriers. Note, the unlock service is done through our partner so you’ll be redirected to a different website.

Get the bad ESN Fixed or Cleared

This is one of the most interesting and unique solutions available for your blacklisted Samsung Galaxy.

Another term used for this service is unbarring. Some people refer it to ESN cleaning service.

Did you know that it’s possible to get the ESN fixed or cleared remotely? It’s done by removing the blacklist remotely on the actual carrier database through a third party service.

Currently, the following carriers are supported but with certain limitations:

  • AT&T – This service here removes the blacklist of your AT&T Samsung Galaxy. It is done remotely by a technician (the full instructions are provided after the service has been purchased and rendered).
  • T-Mobile – This supports all devices which are lost, stolen or marked as blocked. It doesn’t remove any financed Samsung Galaxy or if it has unpaid bills.
  • Sprint – This services cleans for unpaid bills only for now but do check from time to time.
  • Verizon – This clears all ESN issues. Once cleared, you can activate it on Verizon network.

In all the carriers above, fraud devices are not supported. In some cases, once it has been cleared on one network, it will be cleared on all network.

Sell Your Samsung Galaxy

If you have tried all the possible 4 solutions above but none is suitable for your Samsung Galaxy with bad ESN, then perhaps the best way is to sell it.

Selling it locally within the US won’t get you a good price so you should consider selling it internationally via eBay or similar. Target tourists and other people in the country if you cannot get directly to the eBay.

They can connect the iPhone to another carrier in their local area. Try to reach them personally but if the process is impossible, sell it on eBay. This is a good way of getting your phone to the market.

The other thing is that you should try to place a satisfactory price for your device. If possible try to make it more worthwhile.

What’s Your Best Option?

Getting it unlocked first will bring up the value even more so do consider unlocking it as well before selling it.

I know it’s a tough situation to be getting a bad ESN Samsung Galaxy. No one wants to buy a device that’s blacklisted.

The good thing is that there are many people out there with varying needs for iPhones and Samsung devices. They can purchase it to replace parts or even to destroy and send the video to YouTube.

However, with all the 5 possible solutions above, I hope that you can enjoy your Samsung Galaxy again, and it doesn’t matter if you have the S3, S4, S5, S6, S7, S8, S9, S10 and S20. Even Galaxy Notes are supported too.


The advice above are applicable for iPhones and other Android phones as well. There are several other things you can do with your smartphone but the above are among the best and the most rewarding methods of getting rid of it.

Make up your mind and decide on what you think you can do with this devices. Wait no more, go ahead and get your Samsung Galaxy fixed now!


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