Carrier Unlocking an iPhone 5 and AT&T policy

Primejimbo

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Aug 10, 2008
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I hope someone can make sense of this to me and if I'm wrong, let me know.

My wife and I got the new iPhone with AT&T and we just put it on the Next plan since it's free financing (were going to pay it off right away, but we waited). So, seeing I have an iPhone 5 and my mom needs a phone who has t-mobile, I thought I would just give her my iPhone. So I put on the request to have it unlocked, I get denied because they references the wrong IMEI number even thought I put in the correct one. They right away went by the cell number and saw we just got the iPhone 6 and denied me thinking I was trying to unlock my iPhone 6 (they referenced the cell number and not the IMEI number it seems). So I call...

Called in and they said sorry and its a 14 day wait. I told them how I been a customer for years, never late, and this is probably the 1st time I called them with an issue. She said she will push it through and it will be 3 days or so. Again the wrong IMEI number after I confirmed it twice with the rep.

Got that straighten out and the rep said it will be corrected and there is a 14 day waiting period because I just upgraded. I asked why? She said its policy, so I asked why is it policy? Then said what if I have buyers remorse and returned my iPhone 6. I told her "so, I go back to the unlocked phone that will work with you network" So she said she would rushed it thought and it will be 3 days and I was fine with this. It gets denied... wrong IMEI number again.

Called back and this time it was the right IMEI number because I got a denied email saying I have to wait 14 days because I just upgraded. Again, she said it was policy and I asked to speak to a manager and the manager said I had to wait 14 days. I told her that I don't owe money on it, I am not on a contract, and if I leave AT&T I just owe what I have left on my phone. Again she said "it's policy", again I asked "why?". I also said how about she buys a new car and she can't sell, trade, or give her old car away for 14 days. Again "it's policy".

Am I wrong here? Does anyone know why they have this policy? Again never been late, long time customer, and I don't call in for stuff. I am sorry if this is so long also.
 

Chupa Chupa

macrumors G5
Jul 16, 2002
14,834
7,394
I ran into the same issue and also don't understand. I upgraded but my iPhone 5 contract was already expired. It makes no sense that if I requested an unlock the day before I upgraded, no problem. But the day after... Additional 15 day waiting period.
 

Primejimbo

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Original poster
Aug 10, 2008
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I ran into the same issue and also don't understand. I upgraded but my iPhone 5 contract was already expired. It makes no sense that if I requested an unlock the day before I upgraded, no problem. But the day after... Additional 15 day waiting period.
I'll have to try this idea next time. It's sad we didn't think about this before.
 

bronzini

macrumors member
Jun 20, 2009
81
0
U
I hope someone can make sense of this to me and if I'm wrong, let me know.

My wife and I got the new iPhone with AT&T and we just put it on the Next plan since it's free financing (were going to pay it off right away, but we waited). So, seeing I have an iPhone 5 and my mom needs a phone who has t-mobile, I thought I would just give her my iPhone. So I put on the request to have it unlocked, I get denied because they references the wrong IMEI number even thought I put in the correct one. They right away went by the cell number and saw we just got the iPhone 6 and denied me thinking I was trying to unlock my iPhone 6 (they referenced the cell number and not the IMEI number it seems). So I call...

Called in and they said sorry and its a 14 day wait. I told them how I been a customer for years, never late, and this is probably the 1st time I called them with an issue. She said she will push it through and it will be 3 days or so. Again the wrong IMEI number after I confirmed it twice with the rep.

Got that straighten out and the rep said it will be corrected and there is a 14 day waiting period because I just upgraded. I asked why? She said its policy, so I asked why is it policy? Then said what if I have buyers remorse and returned my iPhone 6. I told her "so, I go back to the unlocked phone that will work with you network" So she said she would rushed it thought and it will be 3 days and I was fine with this. It gets denied... wrong IMEI number again.

Called back and this time it was the right IMEI number because I got a denied email saying I have to wait 14 days because I just upgraded. Again, she said it was policy and I asked to speak to a manager and the manager said I had to wait 14 days. I told her that I don't owe money on it, I am not on a contract, and if I leave AT&T I just owe what I have left on my phone. Again she said "it's policy", again I asked "why?". I also said how about she buys a new car and she can't sell, trade, or give her old car away for 14 days. Again "it's policy".

Am I wrong here? Does anyone know why they have this policy? Again never been late, long time customer, and I don't call in for stuff. I am sorry if this is so long also.
Yep, same thing happened when I asked to unlock my iphone 5 where I had already fullfilled my 2 year committment. Told me I have to wait 14 days in CASE I change my mind since I upgraded. Ridiculous since it makes no sense as you indicated: phone legally is mine to unlock, if I return iphone 6, then its my decision to either revert back to ATT with unlocked phone or move to another carrier. If I didn't have unlimited data with ATT I would over this. I will file a complaint with the FCC and suggest you do the same.

Been an ATT customer since 1st iphone.

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I'll have to try this idea next time. It's sad we didn't think about this before.
Agreed, but FCC Complaint.
 

Primejimbo

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Original poster
Aug 10, 2008
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U

Yep, same thing happened when I asked to unlock my iphone 5 where I had already fullfilled my 2 year committment. Told me I have to wait 14 days in CASE I change my mind since I upgraded. Ridiculous since it makes no sense as you indicated: phone legally is mine to unlock, if I return iphone 6, then its my decision to either revert back to ATT with unlocked phone or move to another carrier. If I didn't have unlimited data with ATT I would over this. I will file a complaint with the FCC and suggest you do the same.

Been an ATT customer since 1st iphone.

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Agreed, but FCC Complaint.
I'll take you advice just so I can say I am trying and maybe it will change for customers in the future. Do I go on FCC website or do you have another link?

Makes me feel better I am not the only one who had this issue. It sucks, but at least I feel like I am in the right.
 

tigres

macrumors 601
Aug 31, 2007
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Land of the Free-Waiting for Term Limits
I've gone that route before. The site sucks, takes forever to file it- seems like it is written on DOS. That was a couple of years ago, so not sure if it's been brought into the 20th century or not.

The complaint was shelved like the do not call list complaints I have filed. never ever a follow up.

waste of time IMO, just a front to make us feel like we have power.
 

bronzini

macrumors member
Jun 20, 2009
81
0
I've gone that route before. The site sucks, takes forever to file it- seems like it is written on DOS. That was a couple of years ago, so not sure if it's been brought into the 20th century or not.

The complaint was shelved like the do not call list complaints I have filed. never ever a follow up.

waste of time IMO, just a front to make us feel like we have power.
Ive gotten a response in the past from the carrier. Would file with state public utilities as well. So we just take the abuse?
 

bronzini

macrumors member
Jun 20, 2009
81
0
I'm going to do it either way, I'm writing up something as we speak too.
:). I did it and it didn't take too long. Printed the complaint number so I can follow-up. Did the same with my state public utilities as well. It's just not right and ridiculous.
 

davewolfs

macrumors regular
Jul 13, 2007
243
6
You are not wrong. You are dealing with reps who are binded to an idiotic policy. It is exactly this reason why I am dumping AT&T.
 

wolve

macrumors regular
Jun 18, 2009
148
2
I talked to an AT&T csr and the reason he gave for the policy is to ensure people don't unlock an old device, but then decide to cancel their current upgrade. I suppose that happens sometimes, but I bet it's very small minority.

Anyways, still a PITA.
 

Primejimbo

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Aug 10, 2008
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I talked to an AT&T csr and the reason he gave for the policy is to ensure people don't unlock an old device, but then decide to cancel their current upgrade. I suppose that happens sometimes, but I bet it's very small minority.

Anyways, still a PITA.
But how would this affect them? If I unlock my phone and cancel my upgrade, I just use that unlocked phone then. Or am I missing something?
 

wolve

macrumors regular
Jun 18, 2009
148
2
But how would this affect them? If I unlock my phone and cancel my upgrade, I just use that unlocked phone then. Or am I missing something?
You could move your service to another company with the old unlocked phone. AT&T obviously doesn't like when that happens.
 

HXGuyAZ

macrumors 6502
Sep 3, 2014
345
1
I didn't read all the replies but if you call ATT they will unlock the phone even if you got the 14 day email, which is an automated email it seems. Their system just sees that you got a new phone activated, it doesn't know if it's a new contract or that your old contract was up or anything. If you call and tell them your old phone was already paid off and it doesn't matter if you keep or return your new phone, it has no impact on the old phone, they will unlock your old phone.
 

bronzini

macrumors member
Jun 20, 2009
81
0
Btw: i did file the FCC compliant and ATT executive response team contacted me and said specifically in regards to my FCC complaint. I missed speaking to person today, but should sync with her tomorrow.

Their policy makes no sense except to delay the unlock. That's not the spirit of the law.

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I didn't read all the replies but if you call ATT they will unlock the phone even if you got the 14 day email, which is an automated email it seems. Their system just sees that you got a new phone activated, it doesn't know if it's a new contract or that your old contract was up or anything. If you call and tell them your old phone was already paid off and it doesn't matter if you keep or return your new phone, it has no impact on the old phone, they will unlock your old phone.
They need a better system if the above is true instead of sending spam to avoid unlocks. Ridiculous since if they can tell in a nanosecond my upgrade eligibility, they know whether its paid for or not and can send the unlock code in that nanosecond. They responded the next day about having an upgrade, so clearly they chevked something.
 

Vertigo50

macrumors 65816
Apr 11, 2007
1,199
131
That really sucks. This doesn't help you this time, but just for future reference and for others, your contract usually runs out before the new phone comes out.

I have always requested and unlocked my phone at least a few weeks in advance. This way it's ready to sell the day I get the new phone. So in the future, do it ahead of time.

Sorry you had this crazy issue, though. Definitely file with the FCC. I'm sure with the new unlock laws they wouldn't be too happy about this runaround.
 

bronzini

macrumors member
Jun 20, 2009
81
0
That really sucks. This doesn't help you this time, but just for future reference and for others, your contract usually runs out before the new phone comes out.

I have always requested and unlocked my phone at least a few weeks in advance. This way it's ready to sell the day I get the new phone. So in the future, do it ahead of time.

Sorry you had this crazy issue, though. Definitely file with the FCC. I'm sure with the new unlock laws they wouldn't be too happy about this runaround.
Thanks. Lesson learned.
 

Ghostbuster386

macrumors regular
Jun 12, 2014
123
12
Orlando, FL
The reps have a decision flow that they have to follow and it tells them if the device is available to be unlocked. As far as I know there isn't a 14 days window but it makes sense. If your out of contract and that device IMEI has been on the line for more then 60 days then you should be eligible.
 

titans1127

macrumors 6502a
Mar 10, 2009
953
137
I ran into the same issue trying to unlock my 6 Plus which was bought full price (still on contract from the 5S). I was first told it can be done after 24 hours of activation. That didn't work. Then I got told 14 days with the reasoning being that apparently if the phone is unlocked it is considered "modified" and can't be returned within the return policy anymore. While that doesn't really apply to you it's one of the reasons they are throwing out there. Be persistent though or try ATT Customer Care on twitter. The guy that helped me on there managed to somehow get it unlocked for me after probably 5 failed requests.
 

bronzini

macrumors member
Jun 20, 2009
81
0
The reps have a decision flow that they have to follow and it tells them if the device is available to be unlocked. As far as I know there isn't a 14 days window but it makes sense. If your out of contract and that device IMEI has been on the line for more then 60 days then you should be eligible.
It was an automated email. Im sure no human involved and just a script where they chevk my IMEI number for validity and then for reasons to reject my request. Bingo, they realize possible lost revenue, so the launch delaying tactic #1. They aten't saying I'm not eligible, just making me wait, when there's no good reason since it's MY property now. The ridiculous 14 day policy since I upgraded is crazy and purely designed to deter you from unlocking and leaving them. Seriously, if I didn't have unlimited data I would go to Verizon. I've been with ATT since 1st iphone.

Been playing phone tag with Executive Relations person that contacted me. Will try to catch her first thing when i get to office tomorrow.
 

AronDraws

macrumors 6502
Oct 6, 2014
269
248
Burbank, CA
Oh my gosh, did ATT give us hell. My friend had his phone for 2 years, and he upgraded to a 6, and he gave me his 5. We tried unlocking online and they said it was blocked from being unlocked. He called, they said 5 business days. We waited. 5 days pass and no unlock. He called again and they gave him the worst runaround. Then they said 2 weeks. He was so mad.

I was lucky in the long run because I took the phone in due to a screen issue (glass lifted) and the genius came out saying the phone was broken and the battery all swollen. They gave me a refurb despite it being way out of warranty, and when I went to pick it up (they'd been out of stock that day)-- I asked about the unlocking. They said they gave me what I gave them (something NOT unlocked) but then the woman opened up some app or software and went through the info about the phone and said the phone was not unlocked but would unlock once I activated it on a DIFFERENT service. I put my StraightTalk SIM in when I got home, activated online as instructed, and nothing happened and I got a buttload of errors on StraightTalk's page. I said whatevs, and went to sleep When I woke up, the service was now TFW (I assume TracFone Wireless) and it worked like a charm!

Maybe the phone will unlock if you try to activate it to a new service? I wish I knew what data thing the woman at Apple was looking at because it was a huge help to know it would unlock once I activated to a different service.
 
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