Used Phones and Their Country of Origin

Posted By Debbie on September 9, 2017

I learned a weird lesson recently. Learn from my mistake!

I have been travelling a lot more lately (hence a quiet blog in 2017) so I wanted to get a dual SIM phone. Drop my American SIM in, drop in a European SIM, everybody can call me on one phone. To be cheap, I chose a 2017 Samsung Galaxy J7 Pro because I’m an Android fangirl. A used, completely unlocked one on Amazon was about $320. Not bad.

The listing advertised “USA and Latin American LTE.” OK this should work. And completely unlocked.

Things went badly when the phone started prompting me to set up Samsung Pay. Yes, I will happily set that up! I love it! Every time I went to set it up, it said the network couldn’t be reached and to try again later.

After days of that, I contacted Samsung Support via Facebook chat. Why isn’t this working? Long story short, it’s not working because of the “origin” of the phone. My used phone was originally sold in some other country. What country? I have no idea. Doesn’t matter to me. I can set up Android in USA English and I’m good, right?

Not so fast. Samsung made the odd decision that this phone cannot activate Samsung Pay because of where it was first sold, wherever that was.

But I’m in the USA and using it here.

Which makes more sense? Telling people they can’t use Samsung Pay on that phone ever OR letting people use it when they are in countries that accept it and blocking it when they are in countries that do not accept it? You know what country I’m in by GPS, towers, and what network I’m on.

I assume that if this can be done with Samsung Pay, it can be done with other apps or software. That made me return the phone. In the future, I won’t buy a used phone unless I’m cool with whatever the country of origin is. Evidently this can matter!