This is quite the thread. I worked in selling cellphones, both new and used, for a few years and have learned a serious amount about the way those are tracked. Each phone comes with an identification number unique to it, which is standard for these sorts of things, and with that number can be blacklisted. In fact, it’s relatively easy to blacklist a device, and for it to become whitelisted, either the company or the person who “called it in” would have to remove it. Because it’s so popular for phones to be stolen, there are a plethora of websites that can track these device IDs. No communication with the manufacturer, or service provider is necessarily required, so long as you can get that ID. Apple has their own website: https://checkcoverage.apple.com/
Etc, etc. So an easy workaround would be for Glowforge to develop a website that would hopefully be updated in as close to real-time as possible, for a potential buyer to be able to check a device’s ID. I know we are still in the (very early) stages of this being a problem, but the fact that they anticipated machines being stolen, and having the ability to blacklist them means that they obviously have a database of all the machine’s numbers accessible. It’s only a matter of making that list accessible via a check website to help avoid these situations in the future.
I had the opposite of this happen to me, where I will flip cell phones from time to time, and had a buyer (through eBay) attempt to return the device because it was:
- Not described as listed, and that it was “used”. I had it listed as brand new, because it was.
- Not an unlocked device - which again, I had bought it brand new, and then provided the receipt with the device’s ID on the receipt showing purchase date, model number, as well as the device being unlocked.
- Not able to be activated because it was blacklisted - which I also sent screenshots of websites proving the device was ready to be activated.
I disputed the case through eBay, and contacted them directly about the next steps. They said I had to wait for the resolution to be made by their team before I could proceed, but that it was 100% disputable and should rule in my favor. A couple of days later, my PayPal account was charged, the device was being sent back (to an address I couldn’t find on my profile, and that I hadn’t lived at in at least 6-7 years), and was told that I was in the wrong. I called, and the rep told me according to the messages from the buyer, he was in the right. I asked him to reread through the rest of the messages and tell me without a doubt that the stories the buyer, who was giving contradictory information in each of his messages, was actually in the right. A couple of minutes later, I got an apology, a refund, and was told to not let this issue bother me any longer. All because someone decided to glaze over the details.
I share that story because I hope that what has happened here isn’t one of those cases, where this is a “hopper” item, and it is addressed much sooner than later. I also hope that this doesn’t become an issue for people looking to sell their machines for whatever reason. So again, an official website with a simple “Enter ID Number Here” should be implemented. Finally, I seriously hope that this isn’t one of those cases where a company prefers the sale of a new item and discourages the second hand market by not helping when and where they can by making an easy to access tool. I have a lot of faith in this company, but that doesn’t mean that they possibly aren’t looking out for their finances first, and customers second.