Above & Beyond: A Christmas Story

tl:dr: @nick and @tim are great and put out all the stops to help their customers, even when the fault is nothing to do with them!

So a few months ago I bought a ‘brand new’ iPhone Xr from a phone store local to me. I’ve never bought anything personally from the store but nearly all of the reviews were good other than a couple. I have previously bought nearly new phones from CeX without any issues before. I traded in my 2 year old iPhone X and although this might appear to be a downgrade (single camera, LCD instead of OLED), the main reason for doing so was so that I could use the eSIM facility of the newer phones so I could load up my work EE SIM and a) sneakily use the 20GB Data and b) not look like a Drug Dealer/Pimp/(INSERT OTHER STEREOTYPE HERE).

Anyway, phone worked fine for 2 and a half months, eSIM loaded up OK and my workflow is much improved because I can use my Apple Watch with my work accounts (especially useful for 2FA) and to unlock my work Mac.

The weekend before Christmas, I’m not getting a signal on my Zevvle Physical SIM but a full 4G signal on EE and the missus next to me was getting a full signal on her Zevvle SIM. Did all the usual and to no avail, so I reached out via chat and as if it knew, the SIM spring into life before @tim could go through some basic troubleshooting with me. So, brushing it off as the phone ‘having a moment’ off I went.

Then on Christmas Eve my phone is playing up again, I drive all the way into work and don’t have a signal the entire journey nor do I have a signal once I reach the office, once again I have a good 4G signal on the EE eSIM the whole time. So I reached out via Chat again and got a reply immediately from @nick and we start doing some troubleshooting. We changed a SIM Setting, rebooting, resetting the Network Settings, reseating SIM, cleaning SIM, disabling eSIM, etc to no avail. Straight away, @nick offers to get the SIM swapped out as this would be the next logical step.

In the office however, I have my Huawei P20 Lite (which I’ve stopped using in favour of the eSIM) and my iPad which also has a Zevvle SIM in. So try the Zevvle SIM from the iPhone in the P20 and the iPad, both work fine which seems odd. Try the Zevvle SIM from the iPad in the iPhone and it still won’t work and also try a colleagues EE SIM and that doesn’t work either.

So at this point, we’ve narrowed it down to the phone and also anything to do with the Zevvle SIM or network. A point in which @nick could have very easily and fairly backed out as a ‘not my/our problem’. But @nick didn’t do that, we delved a little bit further into the phones menus and I spotted that the section in General -> About had a little > icon next to Not Available:

Tapping on that and I get the following message:

@nick looks up my IMEI number online for me which again, he didn’t need to do and it turns out that my iPhone has indeed been Blacklisted, but we’re not sure why. So I pay for a proper CheckMEND Report and we get the following:

CheckMEND Report 2

So it turns out that the phone has been bought from an EE Store and taken straight to the phone shop and sold. Now whether the phone shop did their due diligence and checked before buying the phone or EE hadn’t registered it or not, I don’t know but either way I was sold a phone that shouldn’t have been bought in the first place.

I know that it was bought from an EE Store as I spoke to our Business Account Manager who was able to tell me that and that it was bought days before I did, but couldn’t divulge why it was blocked, but I think we can all guess! They were unwilling to block it and suggested I just take it back. In the meantime, @nick was in the process of asking whether their partner could do anything, which I very much appreciated.

Due to Christmas, I wasn’t able to take the phone back until the 28th and luckily they refunded me with no quibbles at all, which I was pleasantly surprised about, but concerned me that perhaps this happens rather frequently!

Anyway, went straight to CeX and treated myself to a 6 month old iPhone Xs Max and that’s hopefully the end of that. At least CeX give a 2 year warranty instead of 90 days where I got the Xr from (another 2 weeks and I might have a different story to tell). The most painful bit being ordered and activated a new eSIM from EE, they insist on sending the QR Code out in the post which is a bit of a pain.

Anyway, just wanted to say a massive thanks to @tim and @nick for their patience and going so far above and beyond for me. Remember, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is!


This also got me into thinking. A lot of people seem to still get a phone at upgrade time and immediately sell it to places like CeX and the like and also think they are ‘winning’ when they get a up front sum of money from those places, but surely over the 12-24 months they end up paying out a lot more than that short-term gain.

It would be great if Zevvle could somehow get to these kinds of people and show them the joys of not having an expensive phone contract if they want to keep their perfectly serviceable current device.

I guess though that would mean slimmer pickings for me in the ‘nearly new’ market!