What’s with this blacklisted Samsung phone? And where’s my refund?

Jay Makda has a blacklisted Samsung phone. What does that mean, and why won’t Samsung give him a refund?


I participated in the Samsung Galaxy S8 trade-in program last summer. The terms were to purchase a Samsung Galaxy S8 and trade in an eligible device to receive a $200 discount.

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I traded in a working, older Samsung Galaxy in good condition with the phone turning on and screen working. In fact, I went ahead and purchased a new battery for the phone as well. I called Samsung and verified that my trade-in would be eligible for the $200 discount.

Unfortunately, much to my disappointment, Samsung sent me an email in September and told me that I would only recieve $25 for my trade-in. They said the phone did not meet the following conditions: “Not Blacklisted.”

So Samsung only gave me $25 for my trade-in.

I called Samsung’s customer service department. After a 45-minute hold, I spoke with a representative, who told me this was a known computer error. She created a ticket number and promised it would be “escalated” to a supervisor.

Still, the charge showed up on my credit card bill. I called Samsung again and a representative promised a call back from a supervisor. Needless to say, no one has called me back. Samsung has really disappointed me. Can you help? — Jay Makda, Chicago


If Samsung promised you a refund and you met all of its requirements, you should have received one.

But did you meet all of its requirements? I reviewed the terms of your trade-in, and it was pretty specific. The returned phone had to be in “good” condition, which it defines as powering on, holding a charge, having a functioning display, no breaks or cracks and “is not on a black list of any kind.” When a consumer reports their Samsung phone lost or stolen, it becomes blacklisted.

Is a blacklisted Samsung phone a stolen one too?

blacklisted samsung phone

Apparently, they thought you had a blacklisted Samsung phone, thanks to a glitch of some kind. Except, you were the rightful owner.

A phone call should have cleared this up. Instead, Samsung left you on “hold” for almost an hour, bounced you around between representatives and then ignored you. I don’t see how this would “inspire the world” or “create the future,” in line with Samsung’s vision statement. Quite the opposite, actually. It’s dispiriting and paints a dark picture of the future where promises can be made and broken.

You could have contacted one of Samsung’s customer service executives. I list their names, numbers and email addresses on my consumer advocacy site.

Your case seemed to get lost along with hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of others like it. On a separate note, I’m concerned that Samsung would just keep a phone it suspected of being stolen. Why not turn you over to law enforcement if it suspected you gadget was blacklisted?

Problem solved

It took a while, but after I contacted Samsung on your behalf, it issued the full $175 refund.