Why does T-Mobile not allow unlocking one of their phones?

magenta5940361

    I bought an LG v20 online. The seller's post said it was unlocked. I received it today and I spent 5 hours trying everything to get my working SIM card on the network. I decided to take it into the T-mobile store and through the IMEI number they were able to determine that the phone was locked due to non-payment. I asked if I could pay it off and be on my way, but they said they couldn't. That policy or decision didn't make any sense to me. If they allowed me to pay off whatever is owed, it would have saved me a dozen hours, T-mobile would have gotten their money, and the previous owner would be off the hook. Instead, I'm now spending my weekend sending emails to sellers to ask them to provide me with the imei numbers, so I can confirm that they're unlocked or not. The phone I'm returning is a T-mobile phone, I feel they are more to blame than the liar that sold me the phone. Can they please fix their policy and save humanity from millions of hours of wasted time and frustration?

      All replies

      • syaoran

        If the device isn't paid for, then it is essentially stolen.  Cell phone fraud is all too common in today's world.  In the future, buy your device from reputable sites, like Swappa, to ensure you are getting what you paid for and that the IMEI and ESN are clean.

        1 of 1 people found this helpful
        • magentatechie

          Right, there is a difference between locked and Blocked- you are describing a block, or blacklist, on the phone.  This means that the phone cannot be activated on any network, it doesn't matter if the phone is locked to a specific carrier or not. 

           

          On a policy level, the balance of the phone is specific to an account and only the PAH or authorized user can gain access to the account- after they've verified a PIN or passcode. 

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            • syaoran

              There is usually more than just the cost of the phone in cases like this.  Cancellation fees, a remaining account bala ce, interest, as well as the cost of the device will more than likely eaual more than the cost of buying the device somewhere like BestBuy.

                • magentatechie

                  I'm not sure what you mean by that- T-Mobile doesn't have cancellation fees or interest and the only concern regarding the OP's post would be the actual balance of the phone.  When an account is cancelled for non-payment (or cancelled for any reason, really) the remaining balance of all devices, if applicable, comes due on the final bill.  If the bill isn't taken care of, the device will receive an EIP Non-Payment block, literally because the device has not been paid for and is, in essence, a stolen device.

              • tmo_mike_c

                This is such a bummer because I've heard other folks having this same issue. As mentioned above, there is a difference between the phone being blocked and locked. In regard to the policy, there are certain terms that need to be met in. For example, if the phone is blocked for non-payment, that would need to be handled by the account holder of the account the payment was set up on.