OK so "I also found that a phone that is supplied as part of a contract deal is the property of the person who takes out the contract from the moment it is delivered to them. This means that they can sell it to you perfectly legally"
That's not true. Most UK networks own the device for the first 6 months of the contract, after which it is your own, providing you have paid all bills upto that point. And if you stop paying after that point then its a case of bailiffs however the device is yours.
In the case of people buying second hand phones, then it all depends on the person resposable to pay the original contract, if they take it out, and then sell on the device within the 6 months and stop paying then the network will both block the device and chase the contract holder for payment. Therefor the person who brought the device secondhand isn't the true owner, the network is. And can do nothing about it being blocked. Just like if you brought a second hand car that is still on finance, since the person you brought it off doesn't own it they have no right to sell it, and any agreement you had between them is null and void (even if you paid large amounts of money)
A lot of people do this with contracts, I would advise never buying a sencond hand phone that hasn't been out for 6 months, unless you know the owner very well. As in all likelihood its on a contract and therefor not yours no matter how much you pay.
As with your case with giffgaff I have no idea what that's about or how it would have happened I'm afraid.
You are incorrect the phone only becomes yours once the debt has been legally discharged on it and thats at the end of the minimum term.
Thought you worked for EE. Oh wai....
With EE you own the phone after 6 months. That is in their contract, if you don't believe me go ask them. Or just read the snippet below.
"3.13 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:
3.13.1 Cannot sell or otherwise permanently give the Equipment to anyone else.
3.13.2 Must take all reasonable care of the Equipment and keep it in reasonable condition (subject to usual wear and tear) as if You owned it; and
3.13.3 Cannot change or alter the Equipment, other than standard software updates and app purchases.
3.14 After six months of the Minimum Term, and provided You have not broken any condition of this Agreement according to point 3.15 below, You will automatically own the Equipment.
3.15 If during the first six months of the Minimum Term, and before You get ownership of the Equipment provided to You by Us, you break any condition of this Agreement according to points 4.4.5 or 7.3.1, We may give You Written Notice to return the Equipment to Us."
It's funny how you popup to harrass me and don't even fact check.
Thats for the purposes of SoGA. EE may very well front load the contract to get the handset back. therefore debt discharged
At least I didn't get fired from EE