Is Buying and Selling IMEI Blocked Mobile Phones in Australia Illegal?

I couldn't find any concrete information about this, only user's opinions in forums.

If you could share something from concrete source (the government), much appreciated.

Two scenarios I would like to understand:

  1. Buyers and sellers unaware that the IMEI is blocked.
  2. Buyers and sellers aware.

Thanks.

Comments

  • +7 votes

    WTF is going on lately?

  •  

    https://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/2555118

    Better still, seek your own legal advice.

  •  

    The Criminal Code makes it illegal to possess any stolen or unlawful property, or to receive stolen property, however there is one key component. The charges around this issue hinge upon your knowledge of where the property came from and how it came into the seller’s possession.

    https://www.slatergordon.com.au/blog/criminal-law/gumtree-an...

    The fact that the IMEI is blocked is a clear indicator that the phone has been reported as stolen, so if you knew the IMEI was blocked when purchasing, it is illegal. If you didn't know, it's not illegal, but you have to give up the item to the police when you find out

    •  

      I understand that it is illegal to buy stolen goods.

      I appreciate your opinion and assumption that imei blocked phones are stolen goods. It is fair assumption and probably right.

      • +2 votes

        It is not 'illegal to 'buy stolen goods'. If it was, a large percentage of peeps who shop at places like 'Cash Convertors' would be 'unwitting criminals'. It is illegal to knowingly buy stolen goods (i.e. to operate as a 'fence'). There is a very big difference.

        •  

          Since reasonable suspicion is also a key factor, I'm surprised everyone who shops at cash convertors isn't locked up.

          •  

            @bloopzorm9: Chuckle Bloomers … My point exactly, in a 'round-about way' … Unless it can be 'dead-set/instantly/irrefutably/easily/on camera' proven that a perp knew they were selling or buying stolen goods, the cops in Australia have no interest in pursuing it. It's not worth their time, apparently. I'm pretty sure this is not their fault. It may simply be a matter of the resources they are allocated, and how they are instructed to use them.

  • +8 votes

    “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”

    • -1 vote

      Thanks it says to be an advice, so it is not illegal then?

      I'm frustrated with the fact that we assume 100% all imei blocked phones are definitely lost or stolen.

      I understand it is a fair assumption, but it is assumption still.

      •  

        Have you even spoken to any law enforcement government organisations?

        Don’t just arm yourself with OzB ammo, it’s not gonna standup on court of law.

        Seeing your persistence, try and report back ok? :)

        • +1 vote

          It's just about doing the right thing, but also finding bargains. Not trying to use it in court of law.

          As I said in my description above, I'm not interested in user's opinions, including ozbargain. I'm after government sources.

          • +1 vote

            @OldDataGuy: If you cannot read between the lines from everyone that has commented and your prior post that has been closed down by mods.

            Just go ahead and try it. Sometimes the best way to learn is just go do it and see what happens.

            • -4 votes

              @SF3: My friend, I do not know what you mean by learn. Do you mean after I buy the imei blocked phone, a squad of police will come n arrest me?

              I will probably just left wondering for years whether it is stolen or not.

              People seem to believe this strongly. But it is not even written anywhere.

              Anyway I appreciate that you do not know the truth and respect your belief. Thanks for your help.

            • +1 vote

              @SF3:

              As I said in my description above, I'm not interested in user's opinions, including ozbargain. I'm after government sources.

              All you're going to get are user opinions and interpretations. If you want legal advice, go seek a lawyer or a professional in this subject.

              •  

                @Ughhh: Haha you replied to me.

                OP above reply from @Ughhh is yours :)

                • +1 vote

                  @SF3: Lmao oopsies. Not sure what I did there!

              •  

                @Ughhh: There are a couple of users who purport to be lawyers/solicitors active on this site. Lysmotron for example (AKA Lysander) … one of these users may choose to chime in with some qualified opinions/advice on this matter …

    •  

      From the link above:
      How can you tell if goods may be stolen? Ask yourself these questions: • Do I know the person selling it? • Is the product in its packaging? • Are the purchase circumstances suspicious? • Are the goods coming from the boot of a stranger’s car? • Is the sale taking place in a public place? • Does the seller have a receipt or proof of ownership? • Are there any markings, serial numbers or engravings?

      These sounds to me like a guidance or advice only. But surely people have bought items from strangers? From their car's boot too if it's a big item like vacuum/prams/etc? It is also absolutely sensible to meet in public places.

      • +1 vote

        Anything which is a general opinion aimed at a larger audience is a guidance. Legal advice specifically relevant to a case is based on the facts of the case, and applying it to relevant legislation and case law. This generally is provided either after the fact has happened or a scheme one is looking to participate. Specific advice which you can use is issue only after you spend money. No free advice remain very general would probably not meet the exact purpose.

  •  

    Side note, if you accidentally bought a IMEI blocked phone, you can sometimes still use the esim slot as a last resort, if the phone supports esim.

  • +2 votes

    Better call saul

  • +3 votes

    So what you are asking is it illegal to sell stolen property?

    yes

    /thread

    • +1 vote

      Sigh, in a similar vain to my comment above re knowingly buying stolen property (fencing), in fact it is not illegal to sell stolen property. It is only illegal to knowingly sell stolen property. The difference is rooted in one of the fundamental requirements that need to be met in order for an act to constitute a crime in Australia; intent.

      •  

        Intent can be hard to prove in court for a single purchase. However OldDataGuy has admitted in a public forum that it's a fair assumption that an IMEI blocked phone is stolen. If he does knowingly buy an IMEI blocked phone he's just given the prosecution the ammunition they need.

        •  

          No he hasn't. 'A fair assumption' is different to actually knowing, and besides, 'the prosecution' have no idea who 'OldDataGuy' is.

          •  

            @GnarlyKnuckles: It's actually strong circumstantial evidence. I know someone who was convicted of receiving on less evidence.

            'the prosecution' have no idea who 'OldDataGuy' is.

            Law enforcement officers have many resources at their disposal to make the connection between a screen name and a real world identity.

            •  

              @trongy: Mmmyeah. These days 'law enforcement' are not even bothered to check CCTV footage that is known to exist in an effort to identify a perp, unless someone is seriously injured or there is a theft or damage equating to thousands of dollars.

              It's highly unlikely they are going to 'go full Columbo' for a single nicked phone based on zero compelling evidence.

  • +1 vote

    Yes go ahead. Do what you want.

    Grabs popcorn while waiting for next post

    "Help I'm being charged for dealing in stolen goods"

  • +1 vote

    Just for the sake of all our collective sanity, take the phone your “friend” happened to “find” to a local police station and ask them to check if it is reported as lost or stolen… (I have a feeling you already know the answer to this question though.)

  •  

    Do whatever you like, bruz.

    When you're before the beak, just whip out ye olde OzLegalAdvice and you'll be sweet, sweet, sweet.

  • +2 votes

    Two scenarios I would like to understand:

    1. Buyers and sellers unaware that the IMEI is blocked.
    2. Buyers and sellers aware.

    You should not mislead readers into thinking there are two scenarios because there is only one. "Buyers and sellers unaware that the IMEI is blocked" is nonsense. The onus is upon both parties to verify and be satisfied that the goods is not lost or stolen. Since IMEI checkers are freely and readily available, for example, https://amta.org.au/check-the-status-of-your-handset, "I did not know" is not an excuse.

    How does an IMEI get blocked? By the owner reporting the mobile phone as lost or stolen. Therefore, the scenario "Buyers and sellers aware" should be changed to "Buyers and sellers knew, and/or have checked, that the mobile phone is reported lost or stolen."

    So the question you are really asking is, "Is it legal to buy and sell lost and stolen goods?" The UNCOLLECTED GOODS ACT 1995 (NSW) allows for the disposal of unclaimed goods after failed attempts to return the recovered goods to their owners. The illegality of buying and selling lost and stolen goods is detailed in the relevant sections of the CRIMES ACT 1900 (NSW), and the PAWNBROKERS AND SECOND-HAND DEALERS ACT 1996 (NSW).

    •  

      From the amta link.

      Purchasers of second-hand devices – if you are checking the IMEI of a phone you are about to purchase second-hand, please also request proof of ownership from the seller before you purchase the phone. This will help protect you if the seller subsequently reports the phone as lost or stolen once you have purchased it, which will result in the phone being blocked. This is a common scam and unfortunately it is a situation of buyer beware when it comes to purchasing second-hand devices.

      • +1 vote

        OP is asking about the buying and selling of an already-blocked IMEI mobile phone, which is different from this scam described by the AMTA.

        What might possibly happen though is this. A seller offers a recently stolen phone for sale and the block IMEI request from the real owner has not yet been processed. The buyer then finds the phone IMEI-blocked a few days later. A proof of ownership would prove to the buyer that the seller is the real owner of the phone prior to the sale, and to prove to the authorities that the title of the phone had been legally transferred to the buyer after the sale.