General discussion

buying new cell phone online

i just purchased a samsung fascinate online and the description is that it is brand new. the seller was throwing in an extra battery and 32 gb memory card. all that sounded good until i just received an email from the seller stating that he shipped it and that he installed and formatted the memory card for me. maybe he was trying to be helpful, but i find it annoying that he was fiddling around with what is supposed to be a brand new phone.

my question is could he have installed something that will compromise my security in anyway? like a key logger or something? i've never had a smart phone so i don't know what can run on them. what can i do to tell if anything was installed on it?


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caveat emptor

Unfortunately, when buying via fleabay there's not much of a guarantee for that sort of thing. Unlikely, but possible.

Since it's an external memory card, in that respect it's not the biggest deal. I would simply reformat the card when the phone arrives. Don't do it while inserted/after you've booted up the new handset, but remove the card first/keep the phone powered off, and use an SD card adapter/micro SD card reader to format it externally via a PC.

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this is last time i buy phone online

i'm on a mac so i'll see if someone at a verizon store can help. is there a way to run a test to see if anything was installed on the phone itself?

thanks for your help. i've never owned a "fancy" cell phone before.

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Third party phone they didn't sell

Keep in mind they might not feel obligated to assist you with a phone they did not sell.

If they won't help you, just find a friend with a PC desktop or laptop, use an external memory card reader that handles microSD cards/SD cards using microSD adapter. Reformat the card to FAT32.

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good info for the memory chip

thank you again for that info on reformatting. however, i do believe that won't help me if they have installed something like a key logger on the phone itself. is that correct? does anyone know of malicious android programs that can run in the background?

again thank you for helping me.

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If you are that worried, look up how to perform a factory reset of the device. That wold take care of a keylogger, along with starting with a clean SD card.

Try for mord specifics on dealing with your Android handset.

This is one of several reasons why it's a good idea to avoid ebay for certain types of purchases. Android handsets are cheap enough now that subsidized prices are really, really low from the carriers or authorized dealers.

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factory reset

thats's the term i needed. thank you.

i just didn't want to sign a two year contract and also be forced to buy a data plan. i plan on going online only via wifi.

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Uh Oh

Hopefully your carrier's not Verizon. To activate on their network, they *will* require a data plan with all smartphones.

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what world are we in

i'm on t-mobile now, but yes, i was going to switch to verizon month to month (not prepaid, but no contract). how can they "force" me to buy an extra service i don't want? what, are they goons over there?

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well i just got off the phone and even though the data portion can be disabled verizon thinks it's somehow ok to try to force me to buy a service i don't need. kind of reminds me of how certain states are ruling it unconstitutional to force people to buy health insurance. what's to stop car dealerships from forcing you to buy undercoating protection then?

i've been with t-mobile for years and their sims cards don't seem to care what phones they are in. wonder if i'd have a problem with a smart phone from them. more homework and i guess i have a new phone to sell on fleabay!

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It's the way of the world, unfortunately

The carriers have all implemented the mandatory data plans for smartphones over the last two or three years. I feel bad that you weren't aware of this fact before choosing a new phone.

Luckily though, T-Mobile stills lets you bring in your own unlocked phone and would not force you a data plan. In this sense you wouldn't have to switch carriers. T-Mobile has plenty of phone choices- especially since they are a GSM/UMTS carrier.

My other thought is perhaps looking into activating the phone you just bought via Page Plus Wireless, a very reliable MVNO prepaid service that runs on Verizon's native coverage/network. Their plans/deals are very competetive, and would also provide you with a little bit of monthly data for much less than what Verizon would force you to pay. Just a thought and something to look into if you feel you must use Verizon network.

[Off-topic part]

{partially playing the devil's advocate}

Would you *really* equate a wireless carrier/private corporation's (legal) business model of choice to the healthcare debate (a Pandora's box in its own right) or something trivial like rustproofing an automobile(?)

I agree that the carriers would better serve their user base by providing more flexibility with handsets & data plans. But the fact is, some carriers (like T-Mobile, ATT in some cases & some of prepaid) do provide a few more options if you don't want to pay for data. You just needed to do a little more legwork/research before choosing a new phone/carrier.

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all true, but

well i do deserve this for assuming that verizon would deal with their customers ethically, so that is my fault. however, whether legal or not, it just isn't right. when i bought my laptop from apple, i wasn't forced to pay for internet connection (maybe they would have tried had they owned a network tied with it though). i think the comparisons i made while not perfect analogies are valid because even if something is considered trivial, forcing us to pay for a good or service we don't need, want or can possibly afford goes against the whole concept of a voluntary exchange. in the case of car insurance, they have an ethical case due to the fact that the lack of one person having a certain good or service seriously affects the life of another person. i see how in health care that same argument could be made so that's a sticky one, but as far as undercoating and cell phone tyrants, this type of behavior i think opens up a can of worms. it's not like they have to bundle them together, they are just being forceful to one set of customers and not another.

i will look into page plus. i did try puretalk for a month and unfortunately i was in an area that supposedly received good coverage (meaning no coverage) so i'm a bit hesitant. i'll have to to see if page plus uses all or some of verizons towers. thanks for the tip!

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All bad analogies, especially regarding...

...voluntary exchange. Not sure why you even decided to throw that particular concept into the pot in this case(?)

At least at the present we all have to deal with the fact that the vast majority of cell phones purchased via the carriers in this country require contracts and certain types of features because the phones are subsidized/carriers take a hit up front. They want us to pay for data since data drives strong revenue/profits. Although they will let you in with one of their phones you buy from a third party, they obviously won't want to budge since this messes up their business model. Hardly anyone pays the full retail price when you can get a subsidized handset for much cheaper (sort of like wireless crack, eh?), and even if they do, they still are sometimes forced into maintain specific features by the carriers.

If we want any of these unfortunate realities to change we have few options. First, only shop from carriers that do not implement such policies., or allow you to bring in your own unbranded phone to avoid a data plan. (*You could also do this w/ ATT, FWIW.) Our other strategy is to only vote for politicians that do not accept money from telcos/wireless company lobbyists. Only if these behemoths get our message that we do not approve of their business practices will things start to change to meet more of our needs. In the meantime, smartphones mean you either pay for data or find a carrier that lets you avoid the extra costs.

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reformat the card

Simply reformat the card and it would sort out the issue


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We covered that already ;) (n/t)


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