AT&T came through for me. Take heart if you are experiencing your own troubles. Scroll down to see what happened…..
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Diary of a Big Name Company’s Customer Service Opportunity

So it’s come to this. I have followed the circuitous path of properly unlocking my paid for, out-of-contract AT&T iPhone no less than three times using their online interface, and twice through nice, but apparently completely powerless customer service reps, and still my phone remains locked.

I want to be able to buy a new one, and to help me pay for that, I would like to sell my old one on eBay and get a better price for a legally unlocked 4s.

I don’t know why they do what they say they’re going to do, but this guy has a bunch of ideas here.

Anyway, this image shows my phone is unencumbered:

att-001 They say in the form email their system punches out:

Request number: XXXXXX

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

We cannot complete your request for one of the following reasons:

  • If you are under contract you must complete the contract period before your device can be unlocked.
    (See image to the left)
  • If you are a GoPhone customer, you must have 6 months of prepaid service.
    (I’m not, and I’m a 17+ year customer in good standing)
  • If you paid full price for your AT&T device and are a postpaid customer you must have at least 60 days of service with AT&T.
    (I’m the original owner and I bought it through the AT&T interface via apple.com as an upgrade, also see above)

If you have questions, please review the AT&T Mobile Device Unlock eligibility requirements by going to this link, att.com/deviceunlock.
It’s a crazy circle!

The runaround from AT&T

The runaround from AT&T

Has their company been hacked? Is AT&T the new “Target” or “Neiman Marcus” of customer information hacks? Has someone broken into their system and stolen good phone identities and sold those to other phones? Someone in Asia? Who knows. AT&T isn’t talking.

I made an inquiry on their Facebook Page, inspired by this guy who experienced a similar situation with his phone. He got results. I’m getting more circular noise from someone named “Patrice”.

On the AT&T Facebook page

On the AT&T Facebook page

I bought and paid for this phone. I’ve been a customer of AT&T for almost two decades – and have paid them about $18,000 over the years so far! Seems like I would get treated a little better.

But I’m an optimist. I think they’ll do the right thing eventually. I will definitely report back either way. If they do, here are the directions I’ll follow to complete the unlock process. Wish me luck!



Just got a response from an AT&T rep on my post on their Facebook page:

AT&T Hi Marti, there are certain requirements that must be met before an unlock request can be granted. The requirements are listed on the main page: http://bit.ly/OelTFy. You can email me the response you were given at attcustomercare@att.com and include ref:_00DE0czFk._500E09IYzl:ref in the subject line, I will review and get back with you. Please include your account information. Have a great day! Thanks! Charmaine, AT&T Social Media Manager

Customer Device Unlock- Request


Requesting an AT&T Mobile Device (Phone or Tablet) Unlock is available online. Simply review the requirements and complete the information below to submit an AT&T Mobile Device Unlock request.

Marti McGinnis Perfect! Will do. I’ll also include the link to my post where I have screen shots of elements that pertain to this mystery. Thank you! I will also update my post with your response and eventual outcome, which I’m starting to think will be a good one.

Like · about a minute ago

I sent the email with the info requested. I said:

Good Morning Charmain, 

Social Media Manager for AT&T on Facebook….

Thank you for responding to my query. As you asked, here is the form email I was sent most recently for my iphone unlock request.

My account information:

(my name)


last four # of SS: XXXX

I’m hesitant to provide more until I know I’m talking to a true in-house representative, I’m sure you can understand that.

I have screen shots showing my account is in good standing and my iphone contract is over here on my blog:


You should understand, I feel as though the online auto system and the two customer service reps I have talked to so far, while perfectly polite, seem unable to get to the kernel of the problem. No one and no form letter have given me an actual reason why my iphone ‘can’t be unlocked’. I think it can based on AT&T stated policies and I think we’ve bumped into some sort of snafu within your system there. I’m wondering if somehow my IMEI number has been highjacked by an illegitimate hacker group and sold to another iPhone, you hear things like this can happen. 

 With your help perhaps the mystery can be solved and this customer and tell the world the issue has been resolved in good faith!

Thank you, sincerely,

Let me know if there is any information you need from me in addition to what I have provided already.



Happy Outcome

In fact what happened several hours after I email the above note, I got a voicemail from the very same customer service rep who had responded to me on their Facebook page. Not Patrice, but Charmain. She left a number for me to reach her directly which I did. I called, left her a voice mail and within minutes she was on the phone.

She told me that she had reviewed all my details and that there was no reason I shouldn’t be allowed to unlock my phone – so she did whatever magic she had to do to bypass the loop I was stuck in and told me  within a few minutes I would be able to initiate the unlock process.

I couldn’t do it right away, but the next morning I followed the directions I found online here and after about an hour long process got this message:


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