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T-mobile locked my iPhone and refuses to do anything about it


    I have had the absolute worst experience with T-Mobile over the past week. Words can't even begin to describe how bad it has been.


    I signed up for the 2 lines unlimited for $100. I travel a lot to Mexico with my wife so this seemed like the perfect plan. Ordered the SIM cards and had a friend bring them to me in Mexico because he was coming to Mexico before we were back to the US to get the SIM cards.


    The SIM card in my phone worked fine. I put the other SIM card in my wife's phone.


    This part is very IMPORTANT. My wife's phone is an iPhone 6 Space Gray 64GB. It was purcahsed FACTORY UNLOCKED in cash, on the day it was released from a mall in Thailand. It was not pre-owned or anything else. It was replaced by the Genius bar in the US once about 18 months ago. It has never been under any contract and has always been factory unlocked. We use it all over the world without issues.


    After putting the SIM card in and it saying "No Service" I called T-Mobile and they determined the SIM card was defective and would mail me a new one.


    I put the old prepaid Mexican SIM back in my wife's phone, and internet would work for 10 seconds and then lose connection. Calls could not even initiate. My T-Mobile account was showing one of my devices was locked.


    Customer care said my device still had payments owed on it - impossible since I bought it in cash. They said they can not unlock it without a receipt proving I purchased it from T-Mobile. Impossible, I bought it factory unlocked in Thailand.


    After 2 hours on the phone with T-Mobile on my FIRST DAY as a customer, they conceded that they couldn't do anything, and offered to send me a factory refurbished phone, that they would then unlock after 40 days for me. I agreed, because it seemed like the only option. I just needed to send my phone that they locked back with the prepaid postage.


    After realizing the phone would never reach me on time during my next trip to the states, I called again and asked if they could expedite it. Also, since the phones showing up in my profile were constantly changing itself and never correct, I made the operator triple clarify they were sending an iPhone 6 Space Gray 64GB.


    The package arrived today. They sent an iPhone 6s Plus Rose Gold 16GB - once again proving nothing ever goes right at T-Moblle.


    I called to see what I needed to do, because while the phone is newer than the phone I was sending back which is nice, I don't want to get in trouble for sending back a phone that doesn't match.


    Call customer service. Person on the phone keeps asking if they can mail me the phone again, despite me saying 5 times I will not be here long enough to receive it, which is why I had it overnighted to me. I asked to be transferred to a manager.


    The manager ended up telling me that my original phone was not ever eligible for replacement, and that T-Mobile should not have sent me that phone, correct model or otherwise. She then told me that if I don't send this phone back, I will be charged full price for it.


    I can't even believe it and don't know what to do at this point.


    To sum up my story:


    Signed up two lines for T-Mobile

    When putting the SIM into a FACTORY UNLOCKED phone, it locked itself and won't work with other carriers

    T-Mobile realized they caused the problem and couldn't solve it so offered to send me a new phone

    T-Mobile sent me the wrong phone

    T-Mobile tells me they shouldn't have sent me that phone, and will charge me for it if I don't send it back

    T-Mobile refuses to do anything about my iPhone that is currently useless except for WiFi


    Because I signed up for T-Mobile, my wife's phone now doesn't work and they take zero responsibility for their error.


    I don't know what to do at all at this point.


    I'm so disappointed as a customer, this has been the worst first week of any service I've ever used in my life.

      All replies

      • tmo_lauren

        Soooo, no real way to sugar coat this situation. This is sort of a nightmare.


        A couple of things to establish first, we aren't able to lock phones to our SIM cards on command, it's just not a feature we as the carrier are capable of. We can block an IMEI, however the notification. That said, this is a situation I've seen before and only seems to happen when there's been an exchange made by Apple. I know you mentioned there was an admission from our end, and while I don't believe we were the cause of the lock, we definitely haven't handled it correctly since considering the strange situation.


        This is going to need to be forwarded and escalated to our SC/ERT team who can get in contact with Apple and get the full story and see what may have been going in with the exchange device they had given you in past. We won't be able to do an unlock without the SIM in the database, which was a wasted suggestion by us that we apologize for.


        I'm sure this is the last thing you want to hear, but you're going to need to contact care again and have them escalate a handset form. I wish I had more favorable advice to provide, please keep us updated.

          • bulegila

            Update to this situation.


            Shortly after posting this I spoke with a representative who magically was able to unblock the device, and it now works on T-Mobile as well as other networks. Thankfully.


            I sent back the incorrect phone that was sent to me so I would not be charged for it. AND THE NEXT DAY IN THE MAIL I RECEIVED ANOTHER PHONE - THE CORRECT MODEL THIS TIME! I sent that one back too - I don't want to be charged for it.


            A couple days later, I received a letter in the mail saying that when they initially ran my credit, the score came back too low and I would need to pay a deposit. This seemed strange after being told when I applied that my credit was excellent.


            I called in, and needed to be transferred no less than FOUR times before I reached the correct department. No one knew what was going on. Finally I reached the correct person, he confirmed my credit was fine, I was approved for up to 12 lines, and the letter was sent to me in error.


            The only way I can sum up my experience with T-mobile is "inconsistent and incompetent". The left hand never knows what the right hand is doing, and despite every phone rep insisting they "just want to satisfy the customer" it's all just talk from a script - the level of knowledge of the average person there about the policies at hand are much too low to be acceptable.


            I'm also pretty concerned, given how inconsistent everything has been, that the return of both phones I was sent will be processed correctly, and that I won't be charged for them.


            Being a customer of T-Mobile has been an absolute nightmare up to this point and I have no idea how an organization of this size is able to operate with so many glaring inefficiencies and problems.


            I still consider canceling service on a daily basis, and every time I have to deal with anyone at T-Mobile, I move one step closer to that decision. If another carrier starts offering similar global coverage, I would switch so fast I would likely end up pulling a muscle.

              • tmo_lauren

                Erg, the saga continues. I imagine there was a handset escalation to Apple which got the device unlocked.


                The rest of it, I can't speak much to without seeing the account. When situations require a lot of notation, I do often suggest reaching out to T-Force who you can find on FB or Twitter, that way there is a written account of all interactions and better note and record keeping.



                  • bulegila

                    one more update to this situation:


                    after returning BOTH phones that T-Mobile sent me in error, in the prepaid postage boxes they supplied me, I have been charged a $750 and $675 restocking fee for the phones.


                    Imagine my surprise to to get a text from T-Mobile that my new bill is available at close to $1500. They said they charge this fee to restock a new phone.


                    It is currently under review which will take an astonishing 21 days, and this is close to 2 full months after I have sent the phones back.


                    This is on top of the fact that I've repeatedly tried to be charged for other random warranty fees related to the phones that were a part of the warranty exchange program - phones that I never even turned on and sent back immediately upon receiving them.


                    i had to call in multiple times - first to figure out what the charges were for and to get them removed after explaining my situation. Then I had to call again once I was charged for all of these things anyways even though the representative said they were removed from my account.


                    I just called in to cancel my plan with T-Mobile. I've simply had enough and can't continue to be a customer. even if both lines were completely free, I would not continue to subject myself to the torture that is T-Mobile. By far the worst company I've ever had the displeasure of doing business with.


                    My only concern is that due to all the inconsistencies and shady business practices I've experienced thus far, I'm still concerned I will be charged for restocking the 2 phones. I had the representative who cancelled my account make a note that if I am charged, I WILL be initiating a chargeback with my credit card company, and that I've kept records of all the incompetence, fraudulent charges and lies told by T-Mobike up to this point to support my case - I certainly don't trust T-Mobile to do even the simplest of things correctly.

                    1 of 1 people found this helpful
              • choedia



                I’m having a similar issue with unlocking my iPhone and the incompetences of t-mobile. I called 4 times and nothing got resolved, they all repeated the same thing stating they are going to unlock my phone temporarily since I will be returning from London to the U.S after a couple of months. Nothing happened, no email, no update, nothing. I called back to see and every time they stated  it must’ve been a mistake from the previous person. They each promised that “this time” it will work and I should be receiving and email. I did this a month in advance before I left so once I land I can buy a SIM card and use it. I have landed and am now in London and was told by a manager that ALL 4 pervious employees didn’t know what they were talking about and that they can not unlock it temporarily AND THERE IS NO SUCH THING!! I was still polite as always because it wasn’t her fault for their incompetencit’s and she sent me over to another specialist team to help me. I was told he was going to send the “correct” information and t should work now. Just received an email stating that it not be unlocked, stating the same information. My family and I have been with T-Mobile for 11 years. I will be switching if nothing can be done tomorrow along with my family. AVOID AT ALL COSTS! Extremely disappointed. Just paid off $163 bill gor international fees and accruing more.