Returned Phone, Received Refund, Now Company Asking for Passwords to Reset Phone and Threatening to Contact My Bank

I brought a Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 Pro, had it for a few days and found the wifi didnt work properly so returned it, and received a refund.

Now a couple of weeks later, the company i returned it to is demanding i provide passwords so they can return it to manufacturer "as manufacturer setting", and if i dont provide it by midday friday they will "request charge $386.00 direct to your bank account due to return a faulty item to us".

They have provided a picture of the phone, you can see the screen and it says "Unlock after factory reset - your device has been factory reset, you can unlock it using your previous password".

Surely the manufacturer can reset a phone regardless of the state it is returned in (working condition obviously). Also, can they actually direct banks to pay them? tried calling the bank but couldnt get though after 25 mins on hold lol. all seems a bit suss be interested to hear others thoughts.

closed Comments

  • +34

    Why would you disclosure any password to anyone?


    • +51

      TL;DR of this post:
      * OPs old phone had Google Factory Reset Protection (FRP) enabled, and require the old Google account password to bypass that.
      * The retailer has no other way but to use OPs password. That is legit. What they do with the password can only be speculated.
      * A number of people accused OP not having done Factory Reset - irrelevant. OPs not aware of the FRP feature - relevant.
      * OPs course of action :
      1. Give them old Google password, then change it 72 hours later to not further screw the phone up.
      2. Negotiate the phone back, follow online instruction to remove FRP, then send phone back. Negotiate cost with retailer.
      3. Do nothing about this, and prepared for unwanted consequences.

      Good luck OP.

      • +3

        Chihongo. Very good advice and enough to just end this thread.

        This happened to me a long time ago with an LGG4. I reset the phone to factory and didn't know about FRP. It was also a horrible experience dealing with people OS.

      • +3

        No. Don't give them your password. Under any circumstances.

        found the wifi didnt work properly

        If I'm reading this correctly, you returned the product because it was defective. They shouldn't be reselling a product that is known to be faulty. You're not expected to facilitate them screwing someone else over.

        If the product is not defective, then they shouldn't have accepted the return on those grounds.

        Now, if the product is not defective, and they offer a change of mind policy which you've accepted, then you must follow their terms. However, giving out your password absolutely is not the solution. Just, no. No. NO!

        Instead, if this is a change of mind return, then you're going to need to cover the cost of shipping, and likely a little bit extra for their time/inconvenience. Mind you, they should also stipulate something like this in their terms, and they likely shouldn't have accepted the return without checking the phone could be resold.

        Not your concern, but a little bit about what a seller should do with defective products…

        To avoid wasting a only partially broken phone. They should return it to the manufacturer/distributor they got the phone from, and it's their job to refurbish it. If they're selling grey-market phones and have no formal relationship with anyone who knows what they're doing. Well, they can suck it up. That's what they get for running a grey-market business. In this case the logical thing for them to do is sell the phone to a reverse logistics company (at a loss to them) and the reverse logistics company will end up using the same means (albeit unofficially) as the manufacturer would use to remove FRP - namely they'll JTAG the device. Then they should replace the faulty radio, antenna, correct poor soldering and whatever else is necessary to get the phone into shape ready for it to be sold refurbished.

        • They shouldn't be reselling a product that is known to be faulty

          op didn't say they're reselling the phone, they said its being sent back to the manufacturer.

          • +2

            @Kozhutki: Manufacturers don't need FRP removed, they can remove it themselves. This sounds very fishy.

            To facilitate quick diagnose of an issue, it wouldn't be too unusual for a manufacturer to require the device be returned to them in a factory reset fashion. However, that's before they've decided whether this is going to be a "repair, refund or replace" situation. If the manufacturer haven't made that decision yet, then the reseller shouldn't have preempted them. However, it's the reseller that has a sales relationship with the manufacturer, not the OP. Getting involved with their relationship is not the OPs problem. If the reseller have accepted the phone as a return, too bad for them, done, it's over. Lesson learnt on their behalf.

  • +60

    Did you reset the phone when you returned it? If not, then you've locked them out of the device.

    • +29


      You dont have to give them your password. But you didn't return the phone in its original condition too.

      Company stuffed up by refunding before checking.

      But I'd imagine in their return policy, they'll have a disclosure for the above (return item or there'llbe costs). If it's not returned in its original condition, they can seek these costs.

      Ps the password is there to protect the phone from being stolen and used. You can't get rid of it without the password

      • -86

        i honestly cannot remember what i did before i returned it, but they didnt tell me to do anything either. like i am not even sure i can remember the password either

        • +53

          This answer………… so (profanity) dumb

          • +2

            @jellykingdom: i guess it is (profanity) dumb, but it was nearly 2 months ago that i returned it, i cannot remember every step i took in terms of wiping the device and sending it back, They received it and checked it and refunded me, so i could not take any actions at the time to rectify anything i did wrong then.

            A month or so later they hit me up for passwords, which i dont think i can remember now given the time elapsed. like i received a refund and had moved on, why would i recall every step of the process?

            • +24

              @squash: You "can't remember" factory resetting your phone before returning it? It's hardly like launching a space shuttle, there's 1 step…

        • +21

          Are you sure you bought a phone in the first place…

          • -14

            @smartazz104: what is so unbelievable about not remembering how exactly you wiped a phone 2 months ago?

            • +3

              @squash: Is the phone still showing on your Google account? Maybe you could remove it from there…

              • -16

                @smartazz104: "Goo. Gol…? Never heard of it. How could I possibly expected to remember so many syllables!"

                • +27

                  @jellykingdom: @jellykingdom, look I haven't really been active on this site much besides having the occasional looky-loo. But your comments warrant an a$$whooping. Do you find it satisfactory to be such a vile keyboard warrior? It is a community forum, the bloke had a problem and turned to the community. Why do you feel the need to have a go? Express your opinion and move on, don't hassle a person. Jesus etiquette 101, how to be a decent human being, might be a course worth looking up bro.

                  • +3

                    @YBAF Pilot: I demand a duel between you and jellykingdom.

                    • +1

                      @michaelTito: I 2nd that call.

                      But only if someone dies, like in the good ol days, when 12 years had jobs.

                  • +12

                    @YBAF Pilot: I don't care if I get negged over this but there are way too many smart asses on this website who think when someone says something even slightly ignorant/uninformed it gives them free reign to mock and belittle them. OP may be a bit foolish for not being able to remember if he did a factory reset on his phone or not but it's not like it's that hard to believe either. People genuinely forget things sometimes. This whole thread is just people making fun of him over it so I find it hypocritical to tell him to act like a decent human being for simply biting back and how do you even judge someones character so quickly over an internet comment…

                    • +5

                      @baskinghobo: This. Some of the people on Ozbargain are pure toxic. How about people try genuinely help the guy rather than belittle him on how he has forgotten how he performed the reset and which password he used.

                    • @baskinghobo: Let’s see if I’m the only one here with this train of thought.

                      You read something on OzB, then see a massive amount of upvotes or downvotes and you think ‘that’s not right’. That is my daily experience on here and why I couldn’t give two f%*ks what people say or how they vote on here. It’s mob mentality, circle jerking all rolled into one. A big part of the voting system on this site means absolutely NOTHING! relative to a real world perspective.

                      • @snagseb:

                        means absolutely NOTHING! relative to a real world perspective.


                  • @YBAF Pilot: Your username makes me sad :(
                    -A dropout

                  • +3

                    @YBAF Pilot: Yes I agree with your comments

                    OP is sharing his thoughts

                    I don’t think it’s fair to have a go at OP

                    If I cannot say good or share good things then I should not comment at all

                    Keep negative opinions to myself .Remember words have no feeling or expressions . Comments May be perceived too seriously or badly and consequences could be different

                    Can destroy someone’s morale or confidence

                    Be cautious about what we say in public forum

                    Please Say good and do good or else it is no good for anyone

                    • +1

                      @Royalmarker59: Ozbargain needs more empathetic people like you.
                      Whole site is toxic and these frequent commenters with 1000+ posts aren't going to change their ways.
                      These select few are always in the comments section on threads where OP has made a mistake and made some ignorant assumptions.
                      Instead of helping and perhaps correcting their assumptions, they just mock sarcastically and ridicule.

                      "Goo. Gol…?"

                      RUOK day on ozb is a joke when the message goes in one ear and straight out the other.

                  • +1

                    @YBAF Pilot: Oh god. I just realised it wasn't even OP that made that comment who you were replying to. It even says so in your comment… I'm such a moron lol. My apologies.

    • interesting, so if i provide them a password, what happens when they unlock? whats on the phone now if i reset it? and is password my gmail password or the pin used on the phone?

      • +11

        They'll need to unlock the phone to be able to reset it to refurbish and attempt to resell. What's on it and what password you used… Only you can answer.

        What they're asking isn't unreasonable but shouldn't have happened if you had reset the device before sending it. As it stands, it's unusable for them unless they sell it for parts taking a heavy loss, unless it can be hard reset without it. Obviously don't send any active live passwords you use elsewhere.

        • the picture they sent shows a phone saying "Unlock after factory reset". so does that mean i reset it? not sure why it needs a password again

          • +6

            @squash: When you first used the phone, you must have signed into a Google account - thus registering the serial/IMEI to that Google account. Factory reset doesn't un-register that SN/IMEI. You need to sign out of the account before wiping the phone, unfortunately.

            • @ThithLord: ?? Phone s/no imei has nothing to do with google. You reset the phone to factory std and any settings are gone.
              The phone log on password may be another matter.

              • +4

                @Cheeper: lol no, mate. All the settings are gone, absolutely - but then you connect to Wi-Fi (or cellular) and it needs to check the Serial/IMEI aren't registered against an account. Hence OP's issue.

      • +3

        Tell them either send the phone back to you to unlock and reset. Or tell them to go f themselves if they want you to give them your password. Highly doubt they can chargeback the money for that reason, while still keeping the phone. It's their fault in the first place for sending the money as everything was supposed to be fine. We all know you remember the password but no way I'd be telling anybody one of mine especially over the phone to some hacks

        • +1

          password and pin have been conflated here, they are asking for passwords, i cannot remember the pin 100%

          • @squash: But you remember it 95%? I'm sure you'll figure it out. Either way tell them to send it back to you or nothing. They can't chargeback that money if you've given them a reasonable option to not sacrifice your own details. Call the bank and be patient on the holding time. Explain to them the situation and they won't allow it to happen.

            • +2

              @Monstalova: how about doing the right thing, negotiate a time for a Whatapp video call with them, work it out, and if you have to use your google acct pw to unlock it, then once its done you can immediately change your pw after hanging up.

              • @selphie: The right thing? Don't even know if it's legit. Most people have the same passwords for at least a few accounts. They can't spring for postage for a phone? For a big company that should be no issue at all. They refunded the money before even checking if what they're saying is the truth. For a mistake to cost them a few dollars is nothing to get it finalised.

                • @Monstalova: maybe change your goog acct pw to a temporary one (abcd4321) to help them unlock the phone, then after unlock immediately change back to your previous pw which you're using across multiple sites, so no one's the wiser.
                  personally i fell it ain't right that you returned to them an item that you locked which they can't resell, so do put in little effort to help them fix it, just IMO. you don't know if the operator who worked on your refund is now stressed up his ass having to deal with this mess because the boss threats to dock his pay or fire him.
                  anyway it is very unlikely they can extract the money from your bank acct without your authorization so up to you to do what you want.

                  • @selphie: You realise I'm not the OP! Lol. You keep saying all these circumstances that might not even be true. Pointless argument. There's no company that asks for your password over the phone. Need to be done either in person or with written permission. Otherwise OP has every right to not give out his details

              • @selphie: No, change the password first, after it done, change the password again to your original one. That way you still have your old password.

    • +1

      The standard of advice here is worryingly low. If this were true (and a 2 minute DDG would convince anyone it is false) the Redmi would be the shittest android phone ever: forget your password and it is a brick.

      • +1

        Probably so someone who steals it cannot reset it and use it…

      • +1

        It's the same as activation lock on every apple product.

  • +8

    Why don't you provide the password?

    • +6

      because when you look up the definition of phishing this is it

      • +28

        because when you look up the definition of phishing this is it


        The retailer is asking you to unlock the smartphone so that they can return it to the supplier. You've already received a refund so do the right thing and tell them the passcode.

        • +11

          Yeah. Not following through with a gentleman’s agreement. OP sounds suss

        • -6

          what do you mean what? it is! im trying to stay safe online!

          • +4

            @squash: Call the company up and ask if they sent a request for the phone password? If not, don't worry about it

      • +7

        When I look up the definition of PEBKAC this is it

        • +3

          jokes on you i have a standing desk

      • +1

        While you are right to be cautious online, especially when someone asks for your passwords, now that you have confirmed the background of this request - you know it is not phishing. You know there is a reasonable cause for them to ask you for this information. You know that something you did/did not do, is the reason for this request.

        I'd say work with the retailer, they are not phishing you. If you cannot remember your password/s, don't beat around the bush. Be honest with them, they will appreciate it. Just get this sorted, be honest, learn the lesson and move on. No big deal.

      • +1

        If you actually looked it up yourself, it isnt

        OP, you are sus as hell. Not remembering what you did with the phone, and not remembering what the password is.

        Kinda reminds me of cocaine cassie

        • Yeah so sus not remembering exactly how I wiped a phone I owned for a few days several weeks ago

  • +3

    provide the password over the phone and reset it after they're done

  • +10

    A quick google found the following web page which shows how to do a reset without the password:

    Just reply to them with this link.

    • so, anyone can reset the phone especially useful when the phone is not yours.

    • +1

      I would think none of those will work for a phone with Factory Reset Protection enabled. The whole concept is to force you to log in with your google account if it is being reset outside of the known environment.

      What has probably happened here is they got the phone and proceeded to factory reset it as the OP did not, only to find that the OP has inadvertently enabled FRP (many phones turn on automatically when you login with a google account).

  • +5

    Tell them to reset it via Recovery Mode or re flash it if it's under some sort of iCloud lock.

  • +9

    Yeah i'd have to agree with the bank in this case, you've effectively returned a brick by not resetting it to factory settings.

    Given it was only a wifi issue surely that's what you should've done anyway provided you were using it. I mean i'd wipe my phone before handing it back no matter what don't know what personal details may have been stored.

  • Very Surprised a Factory Reset did not reset password?!!!

    A Xiaomi security encrypted phone?

    • +2

      standard feature in Android to protect people having their phone stolen and wiped before reuse.

  • +5

    Ask them to return the phone to you so that you can unlock it. Then send it back to them.

    You won't do anything irresponsible with their phone. Just like they wouldn't do anything irresponsible with your password.

    Trust works both ways.

    • +2

      He has their money, so no they wont send him the phone

      • Exactly. They don't trust him, but they expect him to trust them with his password.

  • Give them the codes then just change your password, you cannot restore a phone easily without the user account codes similar to Apple ID

    • +1

      The benefit with iCloud is you can remove devices from home without the original device. Surely there is a way with google?

  • +3

    But I thought most phones could be hard reset and wiped in that hard reset menu

    • yeah this is what i thought, clearly not the case whoops

    • No, security on Android phones has improved and hard reset still requires previous passcode.

  • Adding this to the entertaining list of "I did something not up to community standards, now I got a problem, help!"

    • +3

      hey i was just asking cos i was trying to process what has happened, it seemed sus in the first instance not having had people request my passwords via email in the past, now it appears i (profanity) up the reset process as everyone has explained.

      • +1

        Can you do a remote reset somehow and wipe the phone for them?

  • +5

    Get them to send it back to you, you reset it, and then send it back to them

    • who would bear the cost of postages?

      • +4

        If this company is begging OP to voluntarily pay to fix this, then obviously this company will be paying all costs. They have nothing on OP.

        • +1

          they have OP's money.

          edit:oops, OP got the refund.

          • @PissLUR: They are threatening to charge straight from his bank account, but how can they have authorization to do that over some password or something. Seems crazy.

            • @AustriaBargain: yeah this is also what i was trying to understand, couldnt get though to the bank to ask about it.

              • @squash: which payment method did you use to pay them for the phone?

                • @PissLUR: credit card

                  • @squash: They won't be able to charge you if you used a credit card as you can dispute and chargeback if it somehow went through. Could become a legal matter though.

      • I guess Op should.. either he pays $20 for shipping or whatever, or he potentially loses his refund

        • +1

          I don't see how he can lose his refund. Companies can't go around debiting money without permission

      • Asking the real questions ozb style.

  • +5

    Did you purchase this from an Australian company or direct import it from overseas?

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