Am I looking a gift Treo in the mouth?
November 9, 2005 11:29 AM   Subscribe

Has this poor little Treo truly been abandoned? And if so, how do I adopt it?

A friend of mine found a Treo on his lawn (September 1). There was no personal data in it -- no phone numbers even. He called the service provider (Verizon) three times. After the first call, the owner of the phone called back to say he'd come get it (he didn't). Again, that was the first week of September, and my friend has subsequently placed two more calls in to Verizon to return this phone, and now it's the middle of November.

At this point, he's offered it to me. How can I make it mine? At what point is this really considered abandoned? Why does the (former?) owner not care? Why does Verizon not care? Have they just written this to their insurance by now? (And again, how do I make it mine?)
posted by mimi to Technology (14 answers total)
Do you have the address of the original owner? If so, send a registered letter informing him that storage fees are ($XXX) if the phone is not picked up immediately. Also let them know that if they choose not to pick up the phone, if will be disposed of by the end of the month. Dispose if it as you wish ( for example, by placing it in your pocket :D ). Posession is 9/10ths of the law, after all.

If you don't have his address, give the closest contact to him you can a call and let them know the ultimatum.

We do to the same thing with repair items left at our store more than 3 - 6 months. They are either sold, adopted, or junked. Of course, in our case, we just phone them since we already had them sign a contract explaining this.

BTW: If the phone has unpaid bills Telus might not activate it. In that case I'd reccomend getting it unlocked (serveral companies in your area should do it... check the flea markets). An unlocked phone should work with any provider that offers the same type of service (CDMA / TDMA / GSM / AMPS).
posted by shepd at 11:53 AM on November 9, 2005

Take it. He's been contacted and obviously isn't interested.

Give it a haircut, call it by a different name, and he'll never know it was his if he runs into it out in public.
posted by unixrat at 12:38 PM on November 9, 2005

wouldn't it be useless though? presumably verizon would have shitlisted the phone since it has been reported lost right? how would you convince verizon that the owner really doesn't want it and you want to activate it as your own?
posted by sammich at 12:41 PM on November 9, 2005

wouldn't it be useless though? presumably verizon would have shitlisted the phone since it has been reported lost right?

I'm not a cellphone expert, nor do I play one on tv, but I think all you have to do is slide a new SIM card in and discard the old one, and the phone will work with your Verizon number.

Of course, you can always just use it as a lovely, free Palm if you don't/can't use it as a phone. (In any case, it's definitely locked to Verizon, so you can't use it with any other service without unlocking it.)

I say, consider it a boon.
posted by NewGear at 12:46 PM on November 9, 2005

Response by poster: NewGear: (what an appropriate nick!) I would like to use it as a phone. As pesci as I feel about Verizon, all phone companies have horror stories, so it's a horse a piece and I don't mind switching to them if I have to. It's the potential for the "shitlisting" of the phone that Sammich mentioned that I'm most concerned about.
posted by mimi at 12:55 PM on November 9, 2005

No sim cards in Verizon phones, AFAIK. Verizon will have all of the identifying data from the phone associated with its original owner, so activating it on the Verizon network is going to throw all sorts of flags, and because it is Verizon, I think you are stuck using it on that network.
posted by shoepal at 1:19 PM on November 9, 2005

you should talk to Verizon; there's no SIM (since it's a CDMA Treo) and Sprint or others won't be able to deal with it (or may be unwilling to) since it'd be locked to Verizon. I've had second-hand phones work fine but never one that was outright lost and/or possibly reported as such.
posted by mrg at 1:20 PM on November 9, 2005

mimi, the phone would only be banned from the one company. Unlock it and you're golden (It might even be already unlocked! Put in a SIM from a competitors phone and see... if it doesn't ask for a passcode, enjoy).

Some phone companies don't even ask for a phone's IEMI. In that case they could only ban the SIM, which you can replace easily.

Competitors are ALWAYS happy to sub an unlocked phone. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
posted by shepd at 1:20 PM on November 9, 2005

Bah just noticed it's not a GSM phone. If there's no SIM then if the phone is banned you'll have to unlock it and try elsewhere. Unfortunately, unlocks for non-GSM phones are few and far between. :(
posted by shepd at 1:21 PM on November 9, 2005

Contact the guy again and offer to pay him $50 for it. Most likely, he has phone insurance and the reason he never picked it up was because he got a new one. Then tell Verizon you bought it from him (get him to sign you a receipt).
posted by MrZero at 1:47 PM on November 9, 2005

That's terrible advice. If the original owner has claimed it as an insurance loss, then the phone is not his to sell. It belongs to the insurance company.
posted by blag at 3:30 PM on November 9, 2005

A friend of mine found a Treo on his lawn

So, it was stolen and disposed of, right? Why else would it be left on your lawn.

Not sure if that makes any difference, I just noticed it hadn't been mentioned.
posted by dash_slot- at 3:55 PM on November 9, 2005

I've never used phone insurance, but my friends who have done so make it sound pretty lax. I doubt that after the claim has been submitted, and a new phone sent out, the phone company would make him return either of them.
posted by MrZero at 5:36 PM on November 9, 2005

Sell it on ebay.
posted by angry modem at 8:53 PM on November 9, 2005

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