Unlocking issues with T-Mobile branded S7


    Please hear my story and help with advice.


    I purchased a brand new, unopened, T-Mobile branded S7 from Swappa last year. When I requested it to be unlocked, it was done by a kind person in the Social Media team; the unlock process wasn't straight forward at that time; he had to use something called an "Override tool" to do it. The Device Unlock app confirmed that it was indeed unlocked after that.


    Then this February, the phone was turning itself off and restarted at unexpected times. So I sent it to Samsung for service under warranty. The phone came back, however it was SIM-locked. I contacted Samsung about this first and they bounced me to T-Mobile.


    I've been requesting it to be unlocked again since then; but different members of the support team is saying that this IMEI wasn't present in their database and the only way they could unlock a device is if it is purchased from T-Mobile directly. I'm not sure if this is accurate. It was done the first time, why not again?


    If that's the case, if I'm given a phone as gift by someone who no longer is around, how do I know where they bought it? What are my options here? Why is this so difficult? Please help.

      All replies

      • stevetjr

        Are you sure Samsung sent you the same actual device back and didn't just give you a "refurb" or new replacement device?  That might explain why T-Mobile doesn't have it in their system since they never had that particular device in their inventory and/or sold it.  Did you or do you have the original IMEI number to see if that is what happened?

          • dministrator

            Hi SteveJr.


            Yes, I have the email Samsung sent when they received the device, which has the IMEI. It matches with what the phone shows now. This is why I'm certain they didn't replace the phone, but did something which restored the lock.


            I even have the original box, which clearly indicates the IMEI is the same.

              • stevetjr

                Well that was a thought anyway.  I know to answer your other question "was this accurate" regarding T-Mobile selling the device.  Yes and also per their unlocking policy Unlock your mobile wireless device | T-Mobile Support even if sold by T-Mobile they will only do it for a customer of T-Mobile ie the customer who purchased it originally from T-Mobile.  So I am surprised they overrode it the first time to be honest.


                If you did the request via social media messaging, I know if I go back to them on that social messaging site I can see my past conversations with them, can you maybe see if you can see that conversation and cut and paste it showing that they did it to the same phone previously.  Just another guess but figure I will throw it out there.

            • dministrator

              This rant is not towards you SteveTjr.


              For the sake of discussion, do you know what the policy is, if the original purchaser moved out of the country or is dead? I don't understand why it is important who purchased it. As long as it is not stolen or blacklisted and it is a T-Mobile branded device, nothing else should matter. Essentially I'm paying ransom to T-Mobile or else I'm left with an expensive paperweight.

                • stevetjr

                  Thanks for noting that LOL,


                  Just my take on it and hopefully someone else will chime in since this is my opinion as to why and whether they will admit or deny for whatever reason.......


                  As you may or maynot know carriers don't make money on selling devices (this is public knowledge and all the carriers CEO's have been on record as such).  If you take in the thin margins if any the device manufacturers give them, once you factor in inventory, marketing and other costs associated with selling them it is essentially break even or a loss. Why do they do it then, because they have to and the manufacturers know this which is why they continue to do business in this manner.  All the carriers unlock policies are similar to some extent with the exception of Verizon which all of their phones are unlocked from the beginning but that is only because of a deal with the FCC when they got some spectrum.  If you look most of them have some kind of usage requirement on their network and this is probably since they are taking a hit on selling it they want to try to encourage the sale of that device to one of their customers and not a customer from another carrier who may be out of a device or maybe not even selling a particular device. Example lets say TMO has S8's in stock and lets say AT&T is out and all the phones were unlocked from the get go, if you owned T-Mobile would you want to blow your existing stock for an AT&T customer or some how have a restriction in place that will encourage the sale to only your own customers.  Just look at the Pixel, Verizon's marketing is very misleading and they don't want people to know that you can just walk into Verizon and walk out and go to TMO with it and it will work fine.  Heck that is why John Legere to get even with them was giving people a rebate to just buy them from Verizon just to make a point about their misleading advertising.   I think sites like Swappa and others that especially deal with phones should ensure that the seller has gotten the device unlocked before they sell it or have a special return policy or funds hold until the purchaser ensures the device is truly unlocked.  If you search these forums you will see tons of these third party phones that are locked when the seller claimed they were unlocked and of course tend to be long gone when the purchaser tries to contact them. Even worse are those that are blacklisted because they were stolen or more commonly purchased fraudulently on an EIP/Loan and sold quickly so that when the purchaser gets the device it works but then like after a payment is missed gets blacklisted.


                  Just my WAG and 2 cents :-)


                  Now in your situation since they already unlocked it once and it is the same IMEI number, I do believe you have a case to get it unlocked again.

                  • tmo_amanda

                    Hey, dministrator!


                    I'm sorry this has been quite the headache for you. stevetjr is right on point. I don't see a reason why you shouldn't be able to get your S7 unlocked again if it has already been unlocked once. Have you reached out to T-Force again via social media to try the override option? Community Managers do not have account level access which means I can take a closer look at this for you. I understand the error that you mentioned but at the same time, I also understand an override worked the last time.


                    Please keep me updated on the situation.

                      • dministrator

                        Thanks @tmo_amanda


                        Yes, One of the Twitter support rep was very understanding, and at one point even stated that he will arrange for an exchange of the device if the efforts to unlock did not succeed. He got in touch every now and then (via Twitter of course) reassuring me that the case is still open. Others whom I communicated with also tried, but I'm not sure how far they moved my request ahead. They stated that the override tool did not work for some reason.


                        I ended up selling the S7 to one of my co-workers and switched my lines to a different provider who offered more flexibility and value for the $$. I also did not care for some of the changes brought in by the ONE taxes included plan. I left in frustration.