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canlin05's profile

New Member


2 Messages

Thu, Nov 24, 2022 3:19 PM

Phone registered under another acct - can't unlock

I foolishly bought a ZTE phone from Marketplace. Despite assurances the phone was not locked, this was untrue. I have submitted a request to have the phone unlocked, but after confirming the unlock request, I get an email from AT&T telling me the device cannot be unlocked as it is active on another AT&T account. I just paid $300 for this phone, and would like to use it. What are my options?

Accepted Solution

Official Solution


Community Support


203.6K Messages

4 days ago

Hello @canlin05, we understand the importance of unlocking your device. We're happy to point you in the right direction to resolve your unlock concerns. 


In these instances, if purchasing a device from a non-AT&T authorized dealer, third party or sites like eBay, make sure the seller performs the unlock request. You will have to contact the seller to perform the request in order to unlock the device.


Keep in mind, the general requirements to unlock your device. 

  • The device must be designed for use on, and locked to, the AT&T wireless network.
  • If a new AT&T device, active service for a period of time is required.
  • It must not be reported lost or stolen.
  • It’s not associated with fraudulent activity.
  • All the device’s service commitments and installment plans are completed, and all early termination fees are paid in full.
  • The device is not currently active on a different AT&T customer’s account.
  • If you performed an early upgrade, you must wait the 14-day buyer’s remorse period before you can request to unlock your previous device.
  • Visit our Unlock Support page for the full requirement list

We're here if you have any questions. Thank you for contacting AT&T Community Forums.


Alasani, AT&T Community Specialist 

New Member


2 Messages

3 days ago

This was a 3rd party who sold it to me.  There is no way for me to contact the original owner or the user who had a contract with AT&T.

I did call AT&T I was told that there was an outstanding amount owing on the phone, and that is why it will not be unlocked by ATT until the balance is cleared.

It's clear this is not about preventing fraud or theft, but about ATT collecting money.  Your diligence in collecting outstanding accts screws the rest of us from utilizing a device we legitimately purchased.

So, thanks for nothing AT&T.


ACE - Expert


19.2K Messages

3 days ago

@canlin05  If the phone you purchased has an outstanding debt owed on it, then the original owner needs to take care of it. You were probably scammed. If the person who sold it to you still owes money on it, that's fraud, and the phone will be blacklisted and unable to be used with any carrier. Get your money back.

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