Carrier Question about paying Sprint's ETF

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by JohnApples, Nov 26, 2015.

  1. JohnApples macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2014
    #1
    So I'm going to take T-Mobile up on their newest offer, with the $200 line credit for switching (which will be more than enough to reimburse for the ETF with Sprint). I'm going to bring over my iPhone 6, which Sprint will unlock only once the ETF is paid off.

    My question is, when will the unlock occur? If I cancel service, and pay the ETF online, will that take immediate effect and my phone become unlocked? Or is there some sort of waiting period? I tried searching for an answer but couldn't really find one, and Sprint's live chat keeps telling me it's unavailable.

    I've never cancelled a contract early and paid an ETF before, so any insight into how this works would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #2
    As soon as you make your final bill payment I'd call Sprint and ask for the DSU. You'll probably have to wait for the payment to clear first but they should give it to you after that.

    And there should be nothing special you need to do with the phone to get it.

    BTW, the moment you port, your Sprint service will cancel. However, you won't get the "final" bill until the current billing cycle finishes processing and the new bills are issued.

    So, that may be your sticking point/delay, depending on how far along in the current billing cycle you are.

    Welcome to T-Mobile!

    We left Sprint for T-Mobile two months ago and so far it's been fantastic. Hopefully, they will be as good for you as they are for us.
     
  3. JohnApples thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2014
    #3
    Thank you for the quick response!

    So as soon as I go through the number-porting process with T-Mobile, my service with Sprint will cancel.. Makes sense. But my ETF won't be charged to me until the current Sprint billing cycle is up? So my number will be with T-Mobile, but my iPhone will still be locked to Sprint until the end of the cycle. That means I'll essentially have to go through the rest of the cycle without a phone? Yikes!

    Not sure if you would know the answer to this, but do you think there would be a way to speed this up? Request that they charge me the final bill and ETF right away?

    For example, I use the paperless, online billing. Would it be possible to get the final bill and etf pushed right to my online account so I could pay it there?
     
  4. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #4
    Yes, that pretty much sums it up. If you're a day out or so, not so bad, but if you are at the beginning of the cycle - well…

    I don't think they can push it online, but you should be able to call them and settle it over the phone. Just tell them you want to pay the final bill and get your phone unlocked. That's something they should be able to manage.
     
  5. JohnApples thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2014
    #5
    I'm about half-way through my current cycle, but I didn't even think of that and already set up my T-Mobile account and ordered the SIM. I suppose I could hold onto the SIM and just not activate it with my number until it is closer to the end of the cycle right?

    Either way, I'll try to settle it over the phone. I'm eager to switch to a service that I can *actually* use. I talked to a T-Mobile rep and after giving him my phone's IMEI, he said that the phone is appearing as unlocked and ready to be used with them, though I'm not entirely sure he knew what he was talking about. I'll find out soon enough!

    Thanks again!
     
  6. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #6
    Well, you can test that (unlocked status). Go to a T-Mobile store, tell the employee(s) there that you are a switcher and you want to test a T-Mobile SIM to see if your phone is unlocked.

    They should let you borrow one of theirs. Just insert it and if your phone is indeed unlocked you will be asked for your Apple ID and password and then the service will appear.

    If that's the case then it doesn't matter when your billing cycle ends. :D

    But if not, yes, you can hold on to the T-Mobile SIM and wait if you like. Are you porting?

    I ask because if you are then T-Mobile will need to take care of that so your old phone number is identified with the new SIM. They will want your account number and PIN.

    If you aren't porting then you will have to call Sprint and cancel service. Otherwise, Sprint won't know any different.
     
  7. JohnApples thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2014
    #7
    Cool! I'll have to try that tomorrow. That would be insanely cool if my phone was somehow already unlocked.

    And yes, I am porting. So once I receive the SIM starter kit, I'll need to call T-Mobile, and get my number "assigned" to the new SIM correct? And once that happens, my Sprint service will automatically be cancelled.
     
  8. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #8
    Strangely enough I had this happen with my Sprint iPhone 6+. It came unlocked. I have no idea how Sprint screwed that up, but despite being in a lease - there it was. It could be the case for you as well.

    If it is, just make sure to pay that final bill. Otherwise Sprint can blacklist the IMEI and that is a whole other can of ugly worms.

    But, yeah, T-Mobile should be able to help you in that regard. Just explain politely and ask nicely.

    Correct. Because otherwise the number that comes with that SIM is the number that your phone will be assigned (the one that is there right now with the account you created) and there will be no port.

    Again, have your Sprint acct. number and PIN ready to give to them. It's easy and takes less than five minutes if they have everything they need.
     
  9. JohnApples thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2014
    #9
    Alright, cool! Thanks for all the help and advice. I'm super excited to finally get away from Sprint and hoping the switch goes relatively smooth.
     
  10. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #10
    You're welcome!

    It should be a smooth process. I went in to a T-Mobile store and had it done to four lines in less than five minutes (once they actually started the port). There are only difficulties when people do not have the necessary information.

    Again, welcome to T-Mobile! Should be a much better experience.
     
  11. TyShawn macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    #11
    How did the 200.00 credit work? To my understanding it was 200.00 on top of the ETF fees. I have my mother in law looking to swap over to T-Mobile.

    Lastly she is looking to move to an IPhone as she is on Android now.
     
  12. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #12
    That's how I understand it to work.

    I ported over two months before they announced this so I did not get it myself.
     
  13. JohnApples thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2014
    #13
    There's actually two options here. You can still go with their "pay your ETF to switch" deal, in which you trade in your phone, get reimbursed for the ETF PLUS the $200/line credit.

    But what's unique about this offer, is that you can also choose to NOT trade in your device, and still get the $200 credit. Sure, I don't get the ETF reimbursed first; but that $200 credit will take care of it anyway.
     
  14. TyShawn macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    #14
    JA,

    Thank you for that info and that is interesting to say the least. Being she would have to get new phones I would be looking into option one. That would make her monthly phone payment lower, until she pays off the phone she picks out. I have a good feeling it will be a rose gold phone.
     
  15. JohnApples thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2014
    #15
    Update: So I went ahead and ported my number over to T-Mobile. That was the easy part. Sprint immediately canceled my wireless account and I seized receiving service from them, as expected. I talked to the financial department, and after about 40 minutes on hold, they allowed me to pay my final bill and ETF right there.

    I was then transferred to the tech department to get my iPhone unlocked, and they told me that despite paying all my dues, I still had to wait until the end of my billing cycle (December 15). After 89 minutes of going back and forth, they agreed to allow me to have my phone unlocked, and started the unlock request. Another Sprint rep confirmed that the "unlock is in process" and could take up to 48 hours.

    So, although extremely difficult, it is possible to switch carriers, pay your ETF, and unlock your device all in the same day. I knew I was taking a risk, but I hope it turns out to be worth it. Just curious, if anyone here has requested an unlock from Sprint, about how long did it take for the unlock to go through? The full 48 hours, or (hopefully) earlier than that?
     
  16. TyShawn macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    #16
    JA,

    Did you unlock go through?
     
  17. JohnApples thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2014
    #17
    Yes! I meant to update the post again, but didn't get around to it.

    The morning after the whole cancellation/ETF paying/unlocking incident over the phone, I saw that my phone was still not unlocked. I went onto chat with Sprint, asked about my unlocking process, and a few minutes later the chat rep said "Done!" and my phone became unlocked. I'm now happily on the T-Mobile network!

    So if now or in the future someone is wondering, yes. You can unlock your phone within 24 hours of paying the ETF on Sprint, even if you're in the middle of a billing cycle. Though, you may have to deal with the frustration of Sprint customer support over the phone for a couple hours.
     
  18. mrkamerer macrumors newbie

    mrkamerer

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2016
    #18
    Thanks for following through with your experience...I googled my way onto this thread after completing precisely the same process as you described (I'm going to Cricket though) and was just sitting here curious as to when Sprint would officially unlock my iPhone 6.

    I figured I would probably have to wait overnight for the system to push it all through but was rather disappointed when the rep told me it could take up to 3 days. She arranged to give me a call back a few days from now to verify whether it's been unlocked but I'd obviously rather not be without service for that long. Hopefully, just a quick chat with Sprint in the morning will help finally wrap this thing up!
     
  19. JohnApples thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2014
    #19
    I'm glad it could be of assistance!

    At first, I was told the 3-day waiting period as well. Which, is completely BS. I raised hell and they conveniently were able to reduce it to "within 24 hours" somehow. I'm not sure how long it would've ended up taking if I didn't do the chat in the morning, but since I did, I only had to wait about 12 hours.
     
  20. mrkamerer macrumors newbie

    mrkamerer

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2016
    #20
    Funny how the account cancels instantly and the ETF payment goes through in no time but unlocking the phone somehow takes days, right?

    Do you remember how exactly you worded your request when you went back to Sprint that next morning? I'm sure I won't have any problems since I can just kindly remind them of their clearly stated unlock policy and that my ETF payment has posted successfully but I'm just curious for any tips you may have...
     
  21. JohnApples thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2014
    #21
    Hahaha, it was so ridiculous that I actually laughed out loud when the rep on the phone told me it would take up to 3 days.

    The next morning, when I went on the live chat, I calmly explained that I had cancelled my Sprint account, paid all dues, and had an unlock request sent to my phone. Actually, I didn't even really ask if the rep could unlock it for me (though I was going to). I just asked if she could check on the status of the unlock, and after a few moments she replied and told me she had finished it up or whatever.

    So my recommendation would just be to ask to "check the unlock status" and provide the IMEI number, (you can probably skip explaining that you paid everything and cancelled) and see what happens. If the same thing happens as in my situation, they'll just push it through and wrap it up. If they just tell you it's still "pending" though, I would try and convince them to help you out, seeing as they seem to have *some* kind of control over the process.

    Good luck!
     
  22. mrkamerer macrumors newbie

    mrkamerer

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2016
    #22
    Cool, that's exactly how I was going to handle it. Thanks for the responses and I'll report back sometime tomorrow with how things went for me.
     
  23. mrkamerer macrumors newbie

    mrkamerer

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2016
    #23
    :mad: Well, what do you know? Just finished a chat session with Sprint and it turns out that I owed $11.62 in misc. taxes/fees so the phone was still "not financially able to be unlocked"...I'm honestly not upset at this extra charge but just annoyed that the lady I talked to last night said nothing about it.

    I guess this is kind of what you get when dealing with a major corporation...thousands of employees with a wide range of skills and experience, all looking at only partial information (and I'm of course assuming only pure, innocent ignorance on the part of each of the dozen or so reps I've dealt with at this point). So, if I followed just exactly the protocol they've suggested at this point, I would have waited another 2 days from today just to find out that "oh, we're so sorry but there was an additional $11.62 that needed to be taken care of" and "you'll have to wait just another 3 days to confirm this payment passes through our system until the phone can be unlocked".

    Of course, I'm now going to wait until after lunch and just get back on the chat and ask a new person to check. No freaking way it should take 48 hours for the payment to post...once they get their money my phone unlocking should be the VERY next step thing that happens.
     
  24. JohnApples thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2014
    #24
    Damn, that absolutely sucks. Doesn't surprise me at all, but I feel for you. Isn't it weird that they said they'd start the unlocking process and only now discover some unpaid fees? I 100% honestly think they make this process as painful as possible as a punishment for leaving them.

    The payment should process relatively quickly, and then I definitely would hop back on the chat and demand that unlock. See if we ever go back to Sprint!
     
  25. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #25
    I think the process takes so long because it's automated.

    Sprint, like any other carrier gets thousands of requests for unlocks every day. It goes into the system and advances in the queue until your's is up and then gets sent off to Apple. Most likely the reason they were able to shorten the time is that they overrode the system and jumped your request up the queue.

    This is pure speculation on my part but I doubt I am wrong.

    In regards to Sprint and it's CSRs. Well, Sprint customer service has always been bad. Turnover rate at Sprint is six months. That's the amount of time it takes for burnout to happen and then they have to train a new person. And if a customer does not fall into the narrow script they are trained on - that's when you have issues.
     

Share This Page