AT&T Asurion Refurbished Warranty IMEI Unlock Problem Srikes Again

Lightning strikes twice. I received a replacement Samsung Galaxy Active this April, 2017 under the Asurion replacement program.When I tried to unlock the phone on the AT&T unlock website it refused to unlock telling me I owed a subsidy. Red flag. Last year, I spent 40 hours trying to resolve the issue going all the way to the Office of the President and was finally connected to a very capable customer service representative  who was able to identify the problem and unlock the device in ten minutes. Here’s the scoop. I was either extremely unlucky or there is a larger problem with the Asurion/ AT&T database process. Both times my account and IMEI were linked to another account owing money. I now believe this happens on a larger scale. When someone returns a phone it is refurbished and sent to the new owner under the Asurion replacement. In both cases, the former account holder who still owed money was linked to my account. Inside AT&T, agents scrambled to help me. Many ran into system catch-22 which appeared to cancel the ticket and returned the bad news message. The agent who was supposed to get back to me never did.  I wish you the best of luck should this happen to you. Here’s the email reply you get back.  More bad service.  It’s a no reply auto responder. Maybe  AT@T  doesn’t really want you to unlock your device.

Thank you for contacting AT&T Customer Care about unlocking your AT&T Mobile device:

Thank you for contacting AT&T Customer Care about unlocking your device.

We cannot complete your request for one of the following reasons:
• You have not completed all the payments for your device according to your AT&T Next service agreement.

Great! I had no service agreement and owned all my phones. So it was apparent that someone else was also connected to my account.

After two hours and three agents, warranty service was able to figure it out and provide an unlock code. If you get a refurbished phone that wont unlock now you know the hassle you can look forward to.  I wish I could tell you that it will be easy to solve but it isn’t. It depends on the luck of the draw. AT&T customer support are often ill trained. It may take 20 hours of persistence. Last year, one agent apparently didn’t know a device could be locked. She said, after all you’re talking to me. Oy. Leave a comment if this has happened to you!




Author: Howard Sobel

Co-Founder, Windows User Group Network (WUGNET) Chairman, Association of Software Professionals 2014- Present

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