Can You Sell Your Phone Whilst Still in a Contract?

by - Last Updated on September 24, 2018

Today's question comes from an anonymous user who has a question regarding selling a mobile phone whilst still tied into a monthly contract. They ask:

I am about 14 months into a 24 month contract with Vodafone and I am bored of my phone so I want to change it. They said I could pay off the remaining 10 months in advance to get out of it. But I’m not keen on that. They also won’t let me take an early early upgrade even though I offered to pay a little bit more a month.

So I want to know – if I buy another phone outright and put my SIM card in it and carry on paying the contract is this allowed? I would then sell my current phone on eBay to claw back some of the cash.

It's difficult to give a clear-cut answer to this as it’s a bit of a grey area. We know for certain people do sell phones immediately when they take out a new contract without any problem. But whether or not it's something we would recommend is a different matter.

The problem would be if you sold the phone, then decided not to pay the contract. The new owner of that phone could soon be in possession of a blacklisted handset and will have a lot of hassle to get it reactivated again.

Our recommendation is to read the Terms and Conditions of your contract to see if there are any provisions for this occurring. We discussed this internally and we have seen EE saying if they detect that the handset is being used on any account other than the one for which it was originally purchased for without their consent they can bar it from use. Some of the other networks may have followed suit.

In fact, EE expresses it in their terms:

You may get Equipment from Us when you take out a Price Plan. Unless We tell you otherwise, We will own any Equipment provided by Us for the first six months of the Minimum Term. During this time, You:

Cannot sell or otherwise permanently give the Equipment to anyone else.

Ultimately it is up to you. There are no legal implications but you might be breaking the terms and conditions so there is an element of risk.