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I used to be an AT&T wireless customer and would like to bring to your notice what really goes on with AT&T customer care. I know its a long post, but I'm giving you every detail so you can judge how unfairly treated I feel.

I had a contract with AT&T through which I also bought a Samsung Galaxy S3. I cancelled this contract in March 2014 because the monthly bill was proving to be too high for me. I actually went into an AT&T store, spoke to a STORE REPRESENTATIVE and cancelled my contract. I asked him there and then what to do about my phone and if I would be able to use my phone with another network now and he said that my phone was now UNLOCKED and ready for use with another network. Hours later, I purchase an H2O wireless sim card and my phone was working fine with it until a week ago.

I moved recently and am switching to T-mobile purely because of better network coverage in the area. When I inserted the T-mobile sim in my AT&T Samsung S3 which was unlocked (as far as I knew), a screen would pop up asking for the 'Network unlock sim code'. Now, if I had even the slightest idea that my phone was not unlocked yet, I would have called AT&T right away and asked them about it. But, as I had been told by a trusted employee of AT&T that it was, I obviously assumed that my phone could be used with any other network. So, I thought it was some kind of pin to unlock the new sim that I had put in. I tried entering my security password for T-mobile, it didn't work. I must have entered that atleast 4 -5 times. The next day I called T-mobile customer care to ask about the matter and they told me that my phone was probably still locked to AT&T.

So, I called At&T customer care which in itself was very difficult because unless you have an AT&T number, the system doesn't allow you to go through to a customer care agent and you get disconnected. I even called AT&T stores and asked if they could pull up my old account or connect me to customer care but they said they could do neither. Finally, someone told me to keep pressing zero and that finally connected me to an agent. The agent told me that I would have to go online and request an unlock code and I would get an email within the next 4-5 days. Now, I was on a time constraint since my phone number was being ported from H2O to T-mobile and unless my phone was unlocked by the next day, I would be basically without a phone for a couple of days. But, the agent said that there is nothing that she could do to expedite the process. So, I figured, I would be without a phone for a couple of days which seemed bearable.

The next day I received my unlock code with instructions which I followed but it still said 'NETWORK UNLOCK UNSUCCESSFUL'. I also read in the email that more than 5 wrong attempts would lock the phone permanently to AT&T. So, I called AT&T customer care again and told them that I thought my phone unlock code did not work and that my phone was probably permanently locked to AT&T now. I also told them about how I was MISINFORMED that my phone was unlocked by one of their employees and how I had entered the a wrong code at least 4-5 times before. And I have told this to every agent of AT&T that has answered my call for the past week and a half, but I was later told by a customer care supervisor that there was no mention of all this anywhere in any of my registered complaints.

So, after the first unlock code request, another request was put in by the agent and I was given a case ID. This took 2 days after which I received an email with the same unlock code and instructions and another one stating that the issue had been resolved. It still didn't work. By this time, my number was deactivated in H2O wireless, so, I had to use an internet app on WIFI and call customer care. The agent again put in another request, registered another case and gave me a new case ID. This too took two days and I received another set of emails with the same information as before and the same result as before. NOTHING WOULD WORK.

I called AT&T customer care again and was told to call SAMSUNG. Samsung told me that AT&T orders some phones that just cannot be unlocked from the network no matter what, even with an unlock code and that I should call AT&T and ask if my phone was one of those. The agent registered another case and put in another request which also took a day and a half to get sorted and I received another set of emails with the same information as before, same unlock code, a thank you , an apologetic statement and confirmation that the issue had been resolved. But it still didn't work.

So, I called Customer care again , through the internet app using WIFI and spoke to an agent about this. I told her that I have been trying to tell everyone that my phone is permanently locked to AT&T and I need someone to do something about it as I was misguided by one of your employees stating that my phone was unlocked in the first place. All she kept saying was that there is nothing AT&T can do about it.

I asked to speak to a supervisor. I did tell her all what had happened and yet she said there is nothing she can do about it. I told her I was misinformed by an employee and that's why my phone is locked. She asked me why I didn't call AT&T the first time I was asked the unlock code and I told her that I HAD NO IDEA MY PHONE WAS STILL LOCKED TO AT&T, with an employee confirming that it was and my phone working fine for the past 4-5 months with H20 wireless (which uses AT&T network). And It asked for a "NETWORK UNLOCK SIM CODE" not a "NETWORK UNLCOK CODE". the word 'SIM' threw me off especially when I was not expecting it to be a network unlocking code because I was specifically told by a trusted employee, a customer care agent at an AT&T store that my phone had been unlocked from AT&T and that it could be used with any other network. Now, the supervisor said that the store employee might have said "UNLOCKABLE" and that I might have heard "UNLOCKED", and I told her that he had answered to a very specific question that I asked him as stated by me earlier here. She then suggested that I could get a new phone with my new network. I said, I surely could, but why should I spend money and get a new phone when I have one that works perfectly, which I have paid money for when I used it with AT&T and then paid off the remainder of the phone when I cancelled my contract so that I can use this phone as my own with any other network. Then, I told her that now I feel all that money spent in this phone is just wasted which is really not fair to me, only because one of your employees was not informed enough to tell me the proper procedure. Then, SHE SUGGESTED THAT I TRY AND SELL MY PHONE ON EBAY.

Now, Please try to understand that

1) I had cancelled my contract and had every right to get the phone unlocked so that I can use it with another network. I have not tried in anyway other that putting in requests to AT&T to get the phone unlocked.

2) I went into an AT&T store and spoke to a store representative about breaking my contract early and paid off whatever I had to pay. You can check my records.

3) I asked the representative specifically about my phone, what I had to do to get it unlocked and if I would be able to use it with another network. He clearly said that MY PHONE WAS UNLOCKED AND NOW READY TO USE WITH ANOTHER NETWORK. I asked specifically because I was getting the new network (H2O Wireless) sim card in the next few hours.

4) My phone was working fine for the past 5 months with H2O wireless so I had no reason to believe that it was still locked to AT&T.


6) In every phone call, I had told AT&T customer care after the very first unlock request was unsuccessful that I thought my phone was permanently locked to AT&T now but not one of them had documented it. Only yesterday, i.e. about 10 days after all this started, someone had the decency to tell me that there is nothing they could do about it. They could have just told me that on the very first phone call and not wasted my time.

7)Why should I be suffering when I was misinformed and misguided by one of your employees who was clearly irresponsible with handling the issue at hand.

8) Last but not the least, I was very much taken aback when a supervisor at AT&T customer care suggested that I try and sell my phone on EBAY.

I hope no one else has to go through such a thing.

Reason of review: My phone is permanently locked to AT&T because of an irresponsible employee and AT&T says they can't do anything about it. I paid for the phone in full after cancelling my contract and can't use it with any other network other than AT&T..

Preferred solution: Deliver product or service ordered.

  • Permanently Locked Phone
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Once you cancelled your contract with AT&T, AT&T was no longer under any obligation to provide any kind of support for you. The fact that they even submitted a case for you is above and beyond what should have happened, since you no longer had an active account.

As a smartphone user, it is your responsibility to know that most phones are locked to a particular carrier and they can only be unlocked by entering the unlock code or jailbreaking/rooting the software.

Only after the contract is complete can an unlock code be released. For someone to tell you that your phone is unlocked mere minutes after cancelling the contract should have been a huge warning sign.


I have never done this before, so I had no idea that an unlock code request was to be made. And after I specifically asked if I had to do anything to unlock the phone, the employee told me that i did not.

I broke the contract, paid the early termination fee and the remainder of the amount, after which it is legal to get your phone unlocked from the network to be able to use it on another network. As a smartphone user , I do know that not all phones come locked to a network, You do get unlocked phones in the market. Also, I knew that my phone had to be unlocked, hence I asked the store representative repeatedly. And not just for my phone, my brother's phone too which was on the same contract.

He said both had been unlocked. As soon as I called At&T this past week and realized that my phone was not unlocked, I told my brother about it and his phone has been successfully unlocked from AT&T since then.

And if I an employee assures me that me phone is now unlocked, this employee who has been trusted by AT&T to handle their customer issues, why wouldn't I believe him? My point is that I was misinformed and I am facing a problem because of that.

Lets say you go to a doctor and he gives you some medicine for your ailment, isn't it his responsibility to tell you everything about it and address any questions about it correctly?

Or are you supposed to read it all on your own?

And what if he gives you some wrong dose and you end taking it in a higher dose and end up in a hospital, who would you blame it on? Was it your responsibility to know the correct dose in the first place?


I'd disagree with your medical analogy. If you're looking to compare a store rep.

to a doctor, you forget that a doctor has years of medical school and training before being allowed to practice. A store rep. would be more comparable to a person with first aid training.

I prefer to compare cellphones to cars. As such, your contract with AT&T is like a lease you sign with a dealership and the unlock code is like the title to the car.

When you broke your contract (like paying off your lease), you asked if the phone was unlocked (like asking if you now own the car). The rep. stated that the phone was unlocked (yes, you own the car). As a phone user (car owner), it is still your responsibility to ask for that unlock code (car title).

Ignorance that the code (title) exists is not an excuse.

Was the store rep. at fault? Yes.

His ignorance is just as much a factor as yours is.

Is there anything that AT&T can do about it at this point? No.

Any complications that have arisen after you broke your contract are your sole responsibility. You accepted that responsibility when you broke the contract.


So, you do admit that he was ignorant? I am not asking them to fully refund me or anything.

I was just asking of them to be a little understanding for what happened. I asked them if I could trade in my phone and get a new one for a discounted price, but they don't agree with it. So, now I am stuck with a phone which works absolutely fine except for the fact that it can only be on an AT&T network, which I really can't use in the area that I live in.

As for your remark about comparison of a store representative with a doctor who has years of medical training, Store employees are well trained in all of this. I don't know if you're a huge fan of AT&T or you work there, but I know some people who have had bad experiences with AT&T customer care and came out of it as frustrated as I am right now, which is why I wrote this.

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