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

Hello there! If you are new here, you might want to subscribe to the RSS feed for updates on this topic!

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.


Just a few days ago someone leaked on the internet of the new Samsung Galaxy S8. 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.

Editor's note: learn more by reading our ebook on starting your own iPhone repair & unlock business

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 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 realised 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.

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 dialling *#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’t 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

1. Verify Your Samsung’s ESN or Smartphone Status First

This is probably the first thing you should be doing. A lot of sites in America provide free checks to verify if your Samsung device has bad ESN or not.

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.

2. 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.

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.

3. 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.

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.

4. Get the 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.

Refer to this link here to view all the available unbarring or ESN cleaning services for Samsung and iPhones.

5. 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.

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.

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 or even the upcoming S8.

The advise above are applicable for iPhones and other Android phones as well.

5 Things You Can Do with a Bad ESN Samsung Galaxy or iPhone was last modified: July 19th, 2018 by Jonathan

Share this and be awesome!

Comments & Discussion

  1. Bought Samsung 8s Plus in october 2017 Samsung s8 Plus black the phone off for shop and have been using it since then. Yesterday (18 April 2018 ) phone stopped working, so I called my provider o2 and they told me t-mobile/EE had blacklisted/blocked the phone. I explained this situation and o2 advised i contact T Mobile.

    2nd call to EE – Tried a different number and got through to a UK call centre, she explained to me that there is not much she can do either. I asked if the phone was black listed because of non contract payment or because reported lost or stolen, she explained that IMEI's dont get blocked because of contract payment problems, they only get blockked if reported lost or stolen.

    3rd call – Phone Police for some advise and they told me its a grey area and that they can not do anything either, and that I shoudl be asking T Mobile to help me better as in give me information why it got IMEI blocked.
    So Im here now with a phone I paid £600 for a few 6 months ago that wont work no matter what I do or who I call, After
    So Im guessing that the original owner is pulling a fast one on insurance and me, by committing fraud to get a new handset or something.
    Please help me, no idea what to do, cant afford a new phone, need a phone especially
    And no one is seem to be helping me
    Unfortunately there is nothing you can do and you are right you are a victim of fraud.
    Can you help me

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.