T-Mobile IMEI status check shows as "outstanding balance" (EIP block)


    hi everyone,


    this is a post regarding a SUCCESS having to do with fixing the issue in the subject header that many people are getting.  just a warning, this will be a long post as i will provide context for how the issue came about and my journey to a solution as well as other in between details.


    the context:

    i bought a T-Mobile branded phone off of eBay.  the seller advertised the phone as a warranty replacement and it had never been used.  when i got it, i inserted my T-Mobile SIM and was able to make a phone call, everything seemed fine.  but then someone told me i should use the T-Mobile IMEI status check tool just to be sure and low and behold, I got the dreaded:

    This device has an outstanding balance that must be paid or it may not be able to be used on T-Mobile network.


    so of course i go to contact the eBay seller and he claims that he had no idea and that he has sold many phones and never had a problem- check his feedback, he says.  sounds familiar, right?  since this whole thing started, i have read countless posts of people saying their eBay phone worked great for 3 months and then stopped working once an EIP block had been initiated.  i was 99% sure the same would happen to me so i was going to claim eBay's buyer protection and get my money back.  but man, i really wanted to keep the phone b/c i got such a great deal on it.  yeah i know, if it is too good to be true, then it probably is.


    the one thing i will say about my seller is, he was a bit more forthright than i would have expected for someone trying to pull a scam.  he did offer that he bought the phone second hand and while in his possession, it had an issue.  so he claimed warranty on it and got a new one.  at that time, instead of activating and using it, he decided to sell it on eBay.  so the original owner never touched this warranty replacement.  he also said that the phone was paid off.  i took this to mean the original phone he bought was 100% paid off.  he said the T-Mobile IMEI status check tool must be in error.


    at this point, i'm not sure what to believe.  the seller could be telling the truth.  or, you could say his story still fits the typical scam, the key piece being that he has no way of contacting the original owner.  so if there is an EIP block, then there is no way to get T-Mobile to do anything about it.


    well, i decided to spend some time researching since i was well within my 30 days of eBay protection.  on the T-Mobile community support forums alone, i found the following posts that were all very similar:




    approached from the standpoint that i want to give the eBay seller the benefit of the doubt, all of these threads indicate that maybe there is a problem with the T-Mobile IMEI status check tool.  in the 86744 thread, user tmo_lauren said she was able to fix the problem and that if anyone else had a similar issue to contact T-Mobile support through the social network sites.  i decided to give this a try.  i used facebook.  please see the bottom of this post for the full transcript.


    in summary, *AmberG figured it out.  she rocks!!!  based on what she said, i am now 99% confident i will not have an issue.  (you can never be 100% sure of anything except death and taxes, right?)  one key piece of information that might make my situation different from the typical EIP block scam is, the IMEI of the phone was never tied to any account, in particular the original owner.  not sure if this matters, but it's a fact.  how do i know?  *AmberG looked it up.  finally, the reason why i am posting is to give other people hope and an example of great T-Mobile customer service.  i have been with T-Mobile for over 15 years now.


    additional tidbits:

    i fully acknowledge that there are scammers out there as evidenced by so many people having an EIP block months after the transaction.  in my research, i came across a potential way forward for those who have a "paperweight" on their hands.  if anyone is interested in that, i can certainly provide details of what i found.  but keep in mind, i do not have first hand experience with this group.  i only read the testimonials and conversed with them over email and they seemed legit.  i'm not advertising for them, just saying to not give up hope!


    the following is the transcript i had with the CSR, *AmberG over facebook:


    Hey I'm going to be taking care of you here! My name is Amber. I have all of your info pulled up and I am checking into your phone right now to see what's going on with the imei checker. The phone I am looking at is the one in use with imei <removed for security> correct? *AmberG

    i guess so? that is my current phone. i don't know the IMEI offhand, but i suppose it is correct. my issue is with another phone actually.



    oh, read your msg a bit more carefully. i have never run my current phone through the IMEI checker. i would be really surprised if there is an issue. maybe i should do that now. but after you check that, we can move on to the phone that i am having an issue with. i have its IMEI when you are ready.





    I am seeing the current phone. I would actually need the imei of the phone we are looking at that you ran through the checker earlier to see what’s going on with it. Do you happen to have that phone with you so we can check it out together? *AmberG



    just did a check on my current phone's IMEI. it came back with "does not recognize" based on my browsing of the T-Mobile support forums, i think this is expected b/c my current phone was an unlock from a different carrier.



    yes. the new phone's IMEI is: <removed for security>





    Correct, that current phone is coming up as a Non-T-Mobile device so I am not too worried about that one since it came over from another provider that is to be expected. *AmberG



    right. please go ahead and check the new phone's IMEI. it is <removed for security>





    Thank you, it will take me a few to check it out. I’ll be right back! *AmberG








    So that phone is coming up as a T-Mobile <removed for security>. It looks like it has never been active on our network and is not currently under any sort of blocks; financial or otherwise. When you try to use the phone what is happening? *AmberG



    actually, i inserted my SIM briefly the other day and made a phone call no issues. but i have since taken the SIM card out.



    the issue is, when i use the T-Mobile IMEI checker, it shows as this phone is not paid off and could have issues



    i'm paraphrasing of course, but i feel that this warning message is an error. the phone was a warranty replacement and as you see, has never been tied to an account, mine included, apparently.



    so what i would like is to know if this is a real problem or not and if it is, then to have this problem fixed. hope that made sense





    Alright, that’s actually a good thing to hear. So that phone is cleared for usage on T-Mobile and as I mentioned has no blocks that would prevent it from being used. I have one more question, where did you run it through the imei checker? I just want to prevent the system from giving incorrect information again. *AmberG



    i used: http://www.t-mobile.com/verifyIMEI.aspx and the following is the exact message that i got:


    hang on, it is working...



    This device has an outstanding balance that must be paid or it may not be able to be used on T-Mobile network.





    Great, let me take a look at this and see what’s causing it to keep giving you this info. I have is up here in front of me, just another minute please. I am going to run it right now. *AmberG



    i will wait, thanks!





    Alright so I found what is up! Looks like this is a backend issue on our side with the imei status check tool that does affect some customers where it will display imei information incorrectly and say that a phone is financed when it is not. I have alerted my support to this so it is getting worked on. We also confirmed your phone is in good shape and that there is absolutely nothing on this side that will prevent it from working properly! *AmberG



    wow, that is great to hear *AmberG !! so just to be clear, is there anything i need to do on my end? how long will it take to fix the issue such that the IMEI status check tool shows as not financed? and just to be sure, one more time (sorry i am a bit paranoid), i will never have to worry about an EIP block, right?





    There is nothing that needs to be done on your end! We will get everything going through our systems support team. Sadly I don’t know exactly how long it will take to be up to 100% since this is an issue fixed on the backend by our systems engineers and I’m not that cool. (Yet) A little paranoia is fine I promise! You will never have to worry about an EIP block on this device from T-Mobile! *AmberG



    this is so great *AmberG !! do you mind if i save this chat and then repeat this in the T-Mobile community support forums? i think there are many users who have similar issues (based on my own browsing while looking for help) and i just want to tout how connecting through facebook was so simple and seamless and how quickly i got a response and help and a solution to my problem. would this be ok? 





    Yay definitely! We love to hear that you are happy with us and if you want to show it off please feel free! Our #1 Priority is to solve pain points so anything that helped you could help other customers as well! Please feel free to tout away! *AmberG



    will do so right now


      All replies

      • tmo_lauren

        Hey! Happy ending.


        Glad you received some great service! I know this isn't possible in all situations, but I am glad you were able to get your phone working.



        • esl537

          hi everyone,


          it's been more than 2 months and i wanted to report a couple of updates.  the first is, the phone that i got off of eBay (it was an iPhone) is still working just fine, no EIP block has occurred.  the second is, i got this very phone unlocked just tonight.  however, getting it unlocked was not as straightforward as one might expect.  the rest of this post describes what i had to go through to get it unlocked.  and yes, T-Mobile customer service played a very instrumental and helpful role in getting it unlocked.


          so the story goes, i called up 611 and spoke to a representative who did the standard IMEI check and reported back that since the phone "had an outstanding balance" (same issue i was having, as described in the original post), i could not get the phone unlocked.  here we go again.  when all else fails, contact T-Mobile customer service through Facebook!  that's what i did.


          after describing the issue to a CSR named *JohnK (and referencing this message post), he said that he would put in the order to unlock my phone.  the following is the tail end of the facebook conversation we had, which *AndriaS completed.

          After double checking, it's actually a permanent unlock
          You should get the E-Mail shortly, after you get the E-Mail, you must wait 24 hours, and then you may attempt the unlock process to use that AMAZING iPhone abroad!, if you have ANY issues, feel free to reach out to us and we will help you out every step of the way! *JohnK



          Hi JohnK. Thanks so much! I still haven't gotten the email yet, but I'll give it awhile longer. How long would you say I should wait before I reach out again? I don't want to seem impatient, but I don't want to mess this up either.





          We totally get it!   I would give it until tomorrow morning around the same time we initially filed this one     *AndriaS



          Will do. Thanks JohnK and AndriaS !!! Hopefully I won't be back tomorrow, but I know I can count on you!





          We're here for ya     *AndriaS






          so a day later, i get the email that i was promised.  but to my dismay, this is what it read (IMEI removed for security):

          T-Mobile Sim Unlock Request
          Sim Unlock Reference:  10741683
          IMEI:  **********

          Thank you for taking the time to contact T-Mobile. We have received your SIM Unlock Request. Unfortunately, we are unable to process your request at this time because your Equipment Installment Plan is not paid in full. You can make a payment by logging into the T-Mobile Web Site [www.T-Mobile.com,]www.T-Mobile.com, through our automated system by dialing 611 from your handset or 1-800-937-8997 from a landline phone. Once the Equipment Installment Plan has been paid in full please contact us to have another SIM Unlock Request submitted.

          Thank You,

          Customer Service
          T-Mobile USA, Inc.




          back to T-Mobile facebook customer service.  note that i contacted them on a saturday evening (!!!).  they man the lines 24/7 apparently. the following is what eventually came of the conversation:

          Thank you so much for reaching out about this, Edward! It looks like the error you are receiving is a generic error for either the device not being paid off for Postpaid accounts, or for not meeting the refill or usage criteria on a Prepaid account. I'm so sorry for the misinformation you have received, but in order to unlock a device on a prepaid account the device would either need to be in use for 1 year, or have applied $100 in refills since the phone was first in use. The reason the unlock has been denied is due to the refill requirement not being met on the device. Please let me know if you have any questions about this. Thank you so much! *MaddieP



          ah, ok. so if i were to put $100 onto it right now, how quickly could i get an unlock code turned around to me?





          I would be able to escalate that for you and submit the request right away. It can take some time for Apple to officially unlock the phone in their system, so it could be a day or 2 before they are able to do that. We would be able to push it through to Apple right away so you don't have to wait for us to approve it on our end first. *MaddieP



          ok, this sounds good to me. i can go make the transaction right now. how should i inform you that i have completed the transaction?





          Just give me a heads-up through here, I'll take care of you!   *MaddieP



          i'm on the line with 611 and going through the steps now



          hi MaddieP, i have completed the transaction and already gotten the text message indicating my new account balance after the refill.





          Perfect! Thank you so much, Edward! I'll make sure we take care of you! *MaddieP



          Great. So can you explain to me the exact steps from this point on so that i know what to expect? the following is what i understand, please feel free to correct me where i am misunderstanding: 1] T-Mobile will now escalate and submit the unlock request to Apple right away 2] It will take Apple 2 days or so before they unofficially unlock the phone 3] After they unlock it, will i get an unlock code? if so- who should i expect will email the unlock code? if not- then how will i know my phone is unlocked and ready to go?



          sorry, that was supposed to be officially not unofficially





          1 and 2 are correct, however we don't have a specific time frame form Apple. Typically it only takes a couple of days, however, so I don't expect it to go too far past that if at all. Once they have it ready to go, you may need to connect the phone to a computer with iTunes downloaded to unlock the device, however you will receive an email shortly with those instructions. The e-mail will be there within 24 hours. At this point, I have submitted the unlock request, and I just completed the escalation to Apple. I would give it at least 24 hours, then attempt the unlock, and give it another 24 hours if it doesn't work. Apple is quite different when it comes to unlocking devices. On most phones, we have an unlock code. With Apple, they unlock it in their server, and then that unlock passes through to the phone when it connects to iTunes. Sometimes you can put a non-T-Mobile SIM card in the phone for it to communicate with Apple's server, but with escalations like this it may require the iTunes connection. Please let me know if you have any other questions! Thank you so much for your time!!! *MaddieP



          Thanks MaddieP! Just one last clarification- you mentioned that I will get an email with the instructions regarding connecting to iTunes, etc. Will that email come from T-Mobile? If so, which email address will it go to? Also, did you say that the email will hit my account in about 24 hours?



          Funny. I just received the email in my email account     Guess that answers that. Thanks for your help MaddieP !!! I'll be signing out now, so sorry in advance if you later write back but i don't respond.





          Hey Edward thank you so much for working with us on this. Have a great week/weekend!!! Remember T-Force is open 24/7 for you. *AnthonyR


          Chat Conversation End




          the email that i got from T-Mobile follows:

          T-Mobile Sim Unlock Request
          Sim Unlock Reference:  10756933
          IMEI:  **********

          Unlock Code:

          Thank you for taking the time to contact T-Mobile. 24 hours after receiving this email, follow the below instructions for unlocking your T-Mobile iPhone.
          If you have a non-T-Mobile SIM card, follow these steps:

          If you have a non-T-Mobile SIM card:
          1. Insert non T-Mobile SIM Card
          2. Complete the setup process.

          If you will be using your T-Mobile SIM card follow the steps below:

          1. Back up your iPhone using iTunes.
          2. When you have a backup, erase your iPhone.
          3. When you see the Welcome screen, connect your device to iTunes.

          If successfully unlocked, the message Congratulations, your iPhone has been unlocked will display. Additional information for unlocking Apple iPhone devices can be located at https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201328

          Thank You,

          Customer Service
          T-Mobile USA, Inc.





          so this evening, i got around to backing up the phone and then performed the reset.  i was overjoyed when i got the "Congratulations" message in iTunes:


          this completely proves that T-Mobile customer service, and in particular the facebook customer service group, knew what they were talking about.  from *AmberG telling me that the message was just an error on their part and not a real issue to *MaddieP giving me the way forward to unlocking the phone.  they knew what the issue was and how to fix it and they delivered!  two HUGE thumbs up!!!


          so really, this is an advertisement for all of you having issues to go direct to the facebook T-Mobile customer service group.  they will set you straight!  Thanks T-Mobile!!!

            • ameenansari

              It is 6 hours since I received this email. After 24 hours, it will be unlocked?

              T-Mobile Sim Unlock Request
              Sim Unlock Reference:  10838465

              Unlock Code:

              Thank you for taking the time to contact T-Mobile. 24 hours after receiving this email, follow the below instructions for unlocking your T-Mobile iPhone.
              If you have a non-T-Mobile SIM card, follow these steps:

              If you have a non-T-Mobile SIM card:
              1. Insert non T-Mobile SIM Card
              2. Complete the setup process.

              If you will be using your T-Mobile SIM card follow the steps below:

              1. Back up your iPhone using iTunes.
              2. When you have a backup, erase your iPhone.
              3. When you see the Welcome screen, connect your device to iTunes.

              If successfully unlocked, the message Congratulations, your iPhone has been unlocked will display. Additional information for unlocking Apple iPhone devices can be located at https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201328

              Thank You,



              Customer Service
              T-Mobile USA, Inc.

                • esl537

                  The CSR told me 24-48 hours after you get email




                  Sent from BlueMail<http://www.bluemail.me/r>

                    • tmo_lauren

                      Just wanting to check in and see how if you were able to get the device unlocked!



                        • esl537

                          I'll assume that Lauren (tmp_lauren) is asking ameenansari...


                          But to follow-up on what I originally wrote- so I just got back from out of the country and am super happy to report that inserting a foreign SIM card worked flawlessly, proving that the phone was indeed unlocked. 


                          Of course, I'm back to using T-Mobile now that I am stateside.  I love T-Mobile !!!

                            • esl537

                              So it's me again.  It's now December, 4 months after I got the iPhone off of eBay.  And wouldn't you know it, today, my phone came up with "No Service" as well as "Phone Not Allowed" when looking at the Network status.  Sounds familiar to all of us that have been scammed off of eBay, right?


                              So I go to FB one more time, contact T-Mobile to see if they can help me out, again.  Keep in mind, it is 2 days before Christmas on a Friday evening.  If there was no one responding, it wouldn't have surprised me, though I have to admit it would have still annoyed me.  As it was, there were reps who were available, but my guess is there were so few of them that they had their hands full answering all the calls.  It did take longer than I expected, but I did get things resolved.  Please read the exchange I had on FB:


                              Hi T-Mobile. Is there anyone out there that can help me with an issue I am having?





                              Absolutely, Edward! I got your back   Let me know what's up so I can make sure we get you a speedy resolution! Please also complete this link for me so I can grab a few more details on my end to assist you! https://tmobile2.secureauthentication.com/facebook Thanks! *TerriL




                              Thanks TerriL. I filled out the info at the link you provided. First a quick question- can you view the entire history of the Facebook chat I have had with T-Mobile? It provides context for the issue I am about to describe.



                              The following is the current issue. It seems that today, the iPhone SE (see chat history, let me know if you cannot see the history) came up today as blocked, according to the T-Mobile IMEI Status Check web-tool. Of course, I think this is an error and would like to have this fixed. If you can see the entire chat history, you will see that T-Mobile unlocked this iPhone SE. So it seems curious that T-Mobile would block it from their network.





                              Thanks, Edward! Yes, I have access to view the conversation you've had with us previously   I'm ready whenever you are! *TerriL



                              Alright, so the iPhone SE can no longer receive service from T-Mobile. Under the Network Settings in the phone, it shows as "Phone Not Allowed" And as I mentioned above, the T-Mobile IMEI Status Check tool is now showing that this phone is blocked. Can this be fixed, please? Thanks.



                              Hello, is anyone out there? Seems its been 15 minutes since I heard anything.



                              I have to step away. I guess I'll try back later.





                              Hey Edward! So I'm taking a look at our previous conversation and I see that we've been dealing with a phone unlock for a while now. It looks like we had two unlock requests go through which is great, but I'm sad to hear that your phone is giving you some difficulty now   I'd love to see what I can do to make sure you're able to use the iPhone SE perfectly on our network, but the security information you entered doesn't quite match what I have on my end. Can you try completing this link once more for me? https://tmobile2.secureauthentication.com/facebook *TerriL




                              Hello. I am back again. Whoever picks up this conversation (assuming it will not be TerriL), please read the *ENTIRE* thread. The current issue does not have anything to do with unlocking the phone. The current issue has to do with the phone being *BLOCKED* from the T-Mobile network. If you go to the very beginning of this thread, assuming you can still read it (I can), you will see that AmberG said this phone would *NEVER* be blocked from the T-Mobile network. Well, it happened. This is what I am coming to you with help for today.



                              Perhaps the thread is too long to read. Here is a brief summary.
                              I got an iPhone SE off of eBay. The seller told me it was a warranty replacement that he was selling. When I received the phone, I used the T-Mobile IMEI checker and saw that the phone had an outstanding balance and had the potential for an EIP block. The eBay seller told me that there was no outstanding balance and that I should contact T-Mobile to get it corrected.
                              So I contacted T-Mobile through FB in August 2016. AmberG helped me out. She told me that the IMEI checker was indeed giving erroneous information and that I shouldn't have to worry about it and that the phone would not be blocked on the T-Mobile network. I was satisfied with that.
                              In October, I needed to unlock the phone for international travel. Since the outstanding balance indicator was still on the phone, regular customer service would not unlock the phone for me. So I once again I came to T-Mobile through FB. This time, a couple of reps helped me out. The end of the story is, I was able to unlock the phone. I used this phone overseas without issue.
                              Now it is December and the phone has been blocked from the T-Mobile network. This is what I need help with. I personally do not see why it should be blocked seeing as T-Mobile let me unlock the phone! If there really was an EIP block on the phone, I can't see why T-Mobile would let me unlock the phone. So I believe this is clearly an error.
                              Can someone help me out with this? Please note, this is my wife's phone and so I am acting as her proxy. If you need any account information from her, she is sitting here right next to me and I can get it.





                              Edward, just a few minutes while I read from the beginning. Thank you RosaA



                              RosaA, please read the summary I just posted. It will give you the relevant details. You can refer to the thread to verify my claims. You can also see: https://support.t-mobile.com/message/566988 for more information, if you would like.






                              T-Mobile IMEI status check shows as "outstandin... | T-Mobile Support


                              hi everyone, this is a post regarding a SUCCESS having to do with fixing the issue in the subject header that many people are getting.  just a warning,



                              Hmm. Been 20 minutes. Everyone must be on holiday...





                              Edward, can you power the phone off for about 30 seconds then power back on please and thank you. RosaA



                              I can do that.



                              Phone is off. Waiting 30 seconds



                              Powering phone back on now.



                              Wait, holy cow. What did you do!? I swear I did this very thing 5 times since the issue happened earlier today!



                              So the phone shows as being connected to T-Mobile. I am trying to make a phone call to see if it really is working or not.



                              I just checked the IMEI Status Check again and this time it shows: Congratulations! Your device is ready for use. Select one of the SIM cards on the previous page to get started.



                              I swear to you that when I ran this same check 2 hours ago, it showed as being blocked and saying I should contact T-Mobile Customer Service. Whatever you did, it fixed it. Not only does the phone connect again, the Status Check is finally fixed!!!






                              I know this picture doesn't actually prove that my phone got fixed- I could have just put in a known IMEI that was clear to work on T-Mobile's network.  But trust me, they really did fix it for me.  I swear to you, 2 hours ago, I got that dreaded page saying my phone was blocked in RED letters.  You know what I'm talking about, any of you who have been scammed.


                              I can't promise that anyone who got scammed can get their problems resolved like I did, but most definitely, give T-Mobile a try through FB.  By far, this is the best customer service I have ever received for an issue that was as thorny as this.  Check them out.  I give them 2 thumbs up!!!