Yo! We found your phone!!
July 4, 2012 11:58 PM   Subscribe

Best practices for returning a Boost Mobile ZTE Android phone to it's rightful owner? The phone is fully charged, but I can't seem to turn it "on" or access the contents. The data chip is in there (I checked) I'm not sure if it is missing a sim chip, and inspection seems to indicate this phone doesn't use that technology. Help?

The phone was found on top of my friend's parked car a few days ago, but it did not turn on. I don't have an android phone, but my neighbor has several models of phone and I figured she had a charger that would work. She did. Phone now indicates it is charged, but does not turn "on."

- It's a ZTE N880

- I want to access the device's mobile number + contacts. I'm looking for someone listed as, "Mom," "Home," or "Work" - a reliable number I can call to get this back to the rightful owner.

- I'm having trouble finding a user manual on Google. A lot of broken or unrelated links!

Please help.

I thought about dropping it off at the police station, or visiting the Boost store down the road, but I'm wary either option will put the effort in to get this back to the owner. I'd love it if anyone knows how to turn this damn thing back on (assuming it isn't totally broken.)

posted by jbenben to Grab Bag (4 answers total)
Best suggestion I have is to remove the battery for a full minute or longer then replace it and try powering it up again - some phones need you to hold the power button for longer than you think too, 10 seconds or longer (and I'm impatient so I usually assume things are broken way too soon).

Could it be an N860 ("Warp") phone instead? Shub-internet doesn't seem to believe an N880 exists.
posted by samj at 3:29 AM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

1. You are holding the power button down for a few seconds, not just giving it a quick click? Holding it down for a long time and wiggling it about for a better connection? Tried with it plugged into the wall as well as not? Taken out the battery and cleaned the contact points?

2. This should be the manual you are looking for. This is the phone I believe.

3. This forum may be of help for things specific to the phone, or this part for something more general.

4. It looks like it would be a CDMA phone, so you're correct--no SIM card. If your neighbor has an old Android phone (or anyone has a phone that takes a micro-SD card for data/photos/etc) you could pop the mystery-SDcard into that old phone and poke around for an option to import contacts from the SD card and start looking for MOM or WORK. You could also look in the photos for clues (like a million photos taken at the same place could indicate where they work). If contacts aren't on the SD card, you're reduced to looking for clues--like the photos or a folder called WORK.

However, if you do import a whole bunch of contacts from the SD card to another person's old phone, you'll need to manually delete them when you're done, do a factory reset which will delete all contacts and restore the phone to as-new condition, or do a backup before importing and then restore the phone from that backup.

5. If you pop the SD card from the Blade into an SDcard reader (or a phone/mp3 player/camera that takes a microSD card and then connect the phone to your PC and explore it like an external hard drive), you may find clues. Photos, a folder labelled CONTACTS or BACKUP with a bunch of VCards (contacts), a folder labelled WORK, etc.

6. I'd skip the police and take it to either a Boost shop or ideally a place like Radio Shack(?) that deals in phones and multiple service providers and can actually do some physical troubleshooting on-site instead of simply sending troubled phones to a service center. However, if it won't turn on at all then there's a very good chance it's totalled and would need more than either you or RS can give it to find its owner--if they even want it now that it's dead.
posted by K.P. at 3:39 AM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'd just take it to the boost store and turn it in, they should be able to look up their customer based on the phone's ID/serial number and contact them.
posted by reptile at 6:51 AM on July 5, 2012

Success! Phone returned!!

Thanks for the help in turning the thing on. It worked! Sadly, the phone was pass code locked. Eventually, I talked Boost customer service into (A) searching down the account via the phone's serial (DEC) number, located under the battery, (B) contacting the owner, and (C) giving me the owner's number directly so that I could phone them myself. While the owner did not respond to Boost, they did pick up my call, and the phone was returned. They had 30 days to return the replacement phone they had just bought, and will now do so.

- The Boost store was NOT the right answer. Amusingly, and as I suspected, they were not savvy enough to use the serial number to track down the account from the store, AND they pretty much admitted to me that if I dropped it off, the locked phone would get wiped and end up in the hands of somebody's friend. Gotta tell you all, I appreciated their honesty on that last bit;)

- For future inquiries, do call the customer service number, and keep trying until you find a rep willing to go the extra effort.

Thanks again, everyone!
posted by jbenben at 10:52 PM on July 7, 2012

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