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CJR83's profile

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1 Message

Thursday, March 16th, 2023 4:01 PM

Unlock request surrounded by confusion and ignorance

Backstory: I have had AT&T for years. Initially Post-Paid, as of the past 3ish years Pre-Paid. In 2019 I signed up for Pre-Paid using a SIM kit and plugging it into my 6S. In 2021 I upgraded to a SE 2nd Generation through Walmart & swapped over my existing SIM. Through COVID my issues weren't as prevalent because I always used my home wifi. However the area surrounding my house is extremely poor with tower acquisition. Reception states a couple bars, but often wont actually transmit data until I drive a couple miles away. I don't remember it an issue with Post-paid as much, so I'm attributing it to Pre-Paid prioritization. So what started as a simple unlock request to TRY other carriers for the same problem has escalated to me never wanting to deal with AT&T again.

I tried to submit the request through however when I entered my phone number it said: This is not an AT&T number. After some googling, I came across because its Pre-Paid you have to select its NOT an AT&T number. Frustrating, but didn't surprise me because anything support related seems like Pre-Paid / Post-Paid act as different entities. I enter my IMEI number, it says "Sorry an error occurred, try again". I try again, it says something like "Sorry the owner of your phone wont allow an unlock". I try a 3rd time, it says "Too may attempts, try again in 24 hours". Such a frustrating interaction, but whatever, I shelved it until the next morning when customer service was open.

I called at 9am the next day. Explained what happened to the rep named "Princess", she seemed optimistic and put me on hold a few times. Eventually to come back and say I need to return to the point of sale and request them to unlock my phone. I thought this was extremely odd. I also know the Walmart employees are not very savvy when it comes to phone sales, it was going to be an uphill battle. I expressed this but the AT&T rep said it had to be that way, they offered to call back and interact with the Walmart employees to ease the interaction. OK fair enough. She agreed to call back in an hour and I was to return to the store to hand the phone over. I did just that, however the Cell Phone employee wasn't going to arrive for another hour, even though their written hours state otherwise. When Princess called back, I handed the phone over & the Walmart employees explained they only run the register. After some back & forth with the phone, it came out that AT&T sees no proof of purchase with my phone. Either way, no employee there could help, we had to wait for the Cell Phone employee to arrive. So I planted myself at the counter & waited.

Thankfully I had my original receipt from 2021 (who keeps that stuff handy?!). The Walmart phone rep eventually arrived. I explained the issue to her. She looked at me like I was out of my mind. However she could look up in the system that the phone was bought in 2021 and activated to me. When the AT&T rep eventually called back; I handed the phone over, the same information was relayed, still no change on AT&Ts end. Princess asked me if I had a Post-Paid account, I told her I did and now on Pre-Paid. She said if I could provide the account number, it would greatly help. I check my email and found a bill payment with account number from 2011. I provided it & she said, sorry it says not a valid account number. I expressed I could forward the email or provide screen shots, but I didn't know what more I could do. She gets a Post-Paid rep on the phone and eventually transfers me over to him. I explain all the same unlock questions to him. He's kind of vague but eventually wants to transfer me to the "unlock team". I then get transferred back to Pre-Paid support. I explain all the same unlock questions one last time, this rep creates a ticket number. So I leave Walmart, have a ticket number, and was told 1-3 business days. The next day (Friday), I get a text saying my unlock request is in progress - typical results in 72 hours.

I wait over the weekend and give them the first couple week days, no updates. I call on Wednesday (6 days - 4 business days later), the rep asks all the same unlock questions, even-though I told him I had a ticket number. He says my phone says it was activated 3/9/23 (the day I went to Walmart) not July 2021. Mid conversation, hangs up on me. I call back, go through the queue again, get a new rep. Continually frustrated, I explain I was just hung up on, I want to speak to a supervisor - only a supervisor. The rep tries to manage my call, but I keep responding get me to a supervisor. Eventually he says their system is down and they have to call me back. I confirm my info, he asks is 30 or 60 minutes good? I respond "ASAP". I never did get that call back. About 75 minutes later I call back and speak with a rep named John. I ask if their system is down, he says nope. Great, so the 2nd rep just lied to get me off the phone. Even more frustrated I go over all the same unlock details. John is a bit more logical and says our only interaction with the unlock team is by creating tickets, we can't interact further. He was afraid creating a new ticket would restart the unlock procedure. But he said he sees I had a 6S and switched to a the SE in 2021, agreeing with my unlock eligibility. He said he's seen unlock requests take up to 10 days.

TLDR: I noticed some service issues using Pre-Paid and wanted to try other carriers. Spent over 6hrs of my time trying to get an unlock request taken care of, which is ludicrous. Everyone I speak with has their own idea of what needs to happen, majority of them wrong. I have done my due diligence, if not more, as a long time customer. What started as a simple test with other carriers has turned into do whatever I can to leave AT&T. My billing cycle is coming up in the following week but I'm afraid if I cancel service the unlock request will just get dropped. How is this allowed?!?

ACE - Sage


107.4K Messages

3 months ago

Okay you're being sent in circles with a whole lot of completely bogus information, and some illogical assumptions on your part.

After some googling, I came across because its Pre-Paid you have to select its NOT an AT&T number.

Um, say what now?  Whether it's AT&T postpaid or AT&T prepaid it's still AT&T. And if you are an existing customer you're 10-digit number entered correctly, it would not kick back what you say it did.  

You then proceeded to attempt to unlock the same phone as a non-customer and got rejected because the phone you're trying to unlock is already active on AT&T with your phone number. I highly suspect that you mistyped your 10-digit phone number when you first requested to be unlocked.

The rest of the hoops they made you jump through are absolute b*******. Stores cannot unlock phones, not Walmart not AT&T stores zero stores can unlock phones.

Providing an original receipt was also nonsense because why? The phone's been activated for nearly two full years why on earth would someone activate something that's already activated. And the activation and the lock goes through Apple. It's the date Apple activated that phone with your iTunes and or iCloud account. That's the date that should be an AT&T system because your phone is not locked through AT&T it's actually locked through Apple's flex activation policy.   

Part of this is you not knowing how any of this works. But you shouldn't have to because it shouldn't be this freaking difficult. Save yourself a whole lot of trouble stop calling AT&T and never call any service provider when things like this hit the fan. That's what the FCC is for. File an FCC complaint online it's a free 2 minute form. The form is sent back to AT&T upper management and someone will contact you and remove the carrier lock from your phone.

Sorry to say it but princess does not make AT&T look very good. If you had the original purchase receipt for your phone she should have been able to take the order number that you gave her for that receipt and unlocked your phone automatically. But instead she gave you a bunch of idiotic instructions.

Geesh, hire better employees



Community Support


215.3K Messages

3 months ago

Let's turn this experience around for you, CJR83, and meet in a Direct Message (DM) to discuss that unlock request.


Please check your Direct Message Inbox for a message being sent to you. Look for the chat icon next to the bell icon in the upper right corner of the Forums page.


While there are other device unlock eligibility requirements that need to be met before a request for unlock can be fulfilled, you meet our requirements which includes 60 days of active service on the AT&T network, or 6 months on the AT&T PREPAID.


Be sure to watch for that message in the DM. We want to look into that device unlock case that was opened in order to get you a definite resolution.


Lar, AT&T Community Specialist

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