Are Online Phone Unlocking Sites Trustworthy?

unlock ans

The title says it all. It’s one of the biggest concerns you have when buying a phone unlock on the web.

You’ve read several stories of how some webmasters have scammed people for their money without providing an unlock solution, or providing an illicit unlock code that bricks their device instead of unlocking it.

But don’t let these few unfortunate instances get you down. Unlocking phone sites can be trustworthy – you just need to know which ones to trust.

The following are some of the keys you should look for in the website. A site having one or a multitude of these key features are usually safe to consider:

PayPal as a Payment Option

PayPal is the safest to make sure that the site you are buying from is indeed legit. You can’t trust unlocking providers who are just asking for credit cards. There have been a variety of credit card scams during the last few years.

PayPal also makes it possible to give in a case when you have paid for the service but you do not receive any service from the website. You just need to attach the screenshot of payment, no service receiving and the transaction details to claim a refund.

Content

The unlocking websites that publish regular content apart from serving service pages are likely to be the most pages. The content should enlighten people what is unlocking, the types of phones, basebands and firmwares that can be unlocked and things like that.

Red flags are those websites that just open up with a few service pages and do not provide any other information. You are recommended to stay away from such websites. Because phone numbers and email addresses and real addresses can be easily listed as wrong. To stay on the safest side, choose a website that does really know about unlocking and does not hesitate to provide free information to its customers.

Customer Service and refund Policy

Do not forget that customer service is pretty important; choose a website that provides a good customer service, preferably have someone available in live chat to answer your questions and queries. A site that does not have a customer service option may just run away with your money.

You should also look for a refund policy because there are many sites that do not list refund policies and leave you in no land to ask for a refund. A site that is trustworthy will always list a transparent refund policy for its customers.

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How to avoid buying stolen phones from Craigslist or Ebay?

stolen Craigslist or Ebay

You’ve been recently seeing a lot of new phones on eBay or Craigslist.

And you’re really impressed.

Why wouldn’t you be? There are several models available, from several brands, even those that were discontinued by manufacturers themselves.

And if that’s not enough of an attraction for you, there’s the factor of price. eBay and Craigslist have phones with one of the most reasonable prices available in online and offline markets.

You just need to place an order to an eBay or Craigslist seller and the device will be delivered right at your doorstep. Several payment options, including PayPal, further add icing to the cake.

But wait right there… You don’t want to end up buying a stolen phone which has been reported to the police. You will only end up losing your hard earned money in the end if you are not able to detect the difference between a clean phone and a stolen phone.

So how do you distinguish a legitimate phone from a stolen one? Here’s a guide to help you out.

Detecting stolen phones from eBay or Craigslist to avoid money loss

The most important thing you have to do is verify the IMEI of your device. There is a unique 15 digit IMEI number associated with every mobile phone, and based on this number, you can check a lot of details about the device you are going to buy.

Even if the seller has described the phone in an excellent condition, check the IMEI number because if the IMEI is blacklisted, you would only end up with an expensive toy. This is because a blacklisted IMEI is associated with a phone that is usually stolen.

And the stolen phone with a blacklisted IMEI can’t be used on any mobile carrier in your country. Period. While most sellers won’t publish the IMEI number on Craigslist or eBay, you would want to request this information separately. You can use an IMEI checker service on the web to check the status of the device you plan to buy.

Also, be sure to ask questions from the seller. Don’t be shy from asking who was the previous owner of the device, what is the reason for selling, is there any warranty backing the phone, and questions like that. The seller won’t hesitate to provide answers if he/she is selling a legit thing.

Use common sense when buying from eBay or Craigslist. The pointers above will make sure you don’t end up wasting your money.

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Does My Phone Automatically Unlock After Contract Ends?

Contract Ends

If you own a phone that is on contract with a carrier such as AT&T, Sprint, Verizon or T-Mobile, you may wonder if you’ll be eligible for an unlock once your contract ends.

Here’s your answer.

AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless and Sprint committed to unlocking cell phones of customers once their contracts were paid off. The wireless carriers, starting from December last year, alleged to notify customers when their devices become eligible for an unlock, or automatically unlock their devices on a remote basis without charging any money.

Each of these carriers were also posting clear unlocking policy on their website. Carriers, upon customer request, will unlock wireless devices or provide the required information to customers to unlock devices and former customers who are in good standing. They will unlock devices no later than a year after the original activation, consistent with reasonable payment, time, or usage requirements.

Carriers locking devices clearly notify customers that their devices are eligible for unlocking or automatically provide a remote unlocking service without a fee. However, carriers have the right to charge non-customers or non-former customers a fee for unlocking. Notice to customers may be given at the time of eligibility, at the time of sale, or though the unlocking policy on the carrier’s website.

The response time is two days after a request has been received. The eligible devices will be unlocked by the wireless carrier and a request will be initiated to the OEM to unlock the eligible device, or provide an explanation why the device can’t be unlocked, or why the carrier needs for time for processing the request.

Also, carriers will unlock wireless devices for military personnel who are customers in good standing upon deployment papers. These personnel, just like consumers, will have access to clear unlocking policies on carrier website.

So your phone specifically not automatically unlocks once your contract ends; you have to check with your carrier whether your device is eligible for an unlock. If it isn’t, for some reason, you can always take the alternative route with an IMEI unlock solution. The alternative mention here, however, will also check if your device is eligible for an unlock.

The unlock provider is also going to check whether your phone was activated, because these services usually don’t unlock blacklisted or blocked phones. Carriers also don’t unlock blacklisted or blocked phones. Know the state of your device before requesting an unlock from the carrier or service provider.

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Difference Between Manufacturer Lock & Network Lock For Mobile Phones

Manufacturer

The average user is not aware of the different between two major types of locks used to describe all locked mobile phone: manufacturer lock and network lock. In any country, including the US, there are a major number of smartphone owners with these 2 types of locks.

The main difference you need to know is that the manufacturer lock involves a SIM card, while a network lock does not. The network lock has the information of the carrier which is stored in your phone while manufacturer locked phones have a semi-universal security software lock placed on the SIM card slot that guides the phone what SIM card is going to be used.

Due to these reasons, manufacturer locked phones can be unlocked with a password that the manufacturer has. Once the passcode has been entered the phone is going to allow the use of any SIM card in the card slot, without any restrictions.

Network locked phones, on the other hand, don’t include this password unlocking feature, since they do not have a built in locking mechanism. They must be flashed with a particular firmware that has the carrier information in it before they can be used on another network.

Network locked phones can also be unlocked with the help of network unlock codes, which are similar in nature to subsidy codes in the perspective that special characters are inserted in the mobile in order to free it from a specific network.

Once the lock has been removed, the phone can then be used on any network as it then has the capability to communicate with other networks through the SIM card. The unlock does will be usually generated through an IMEI number for each phone model, and they will be a unique combination of characters that can be used to free the phone from restrictions imposed by a network.

It should however be noted that both kind of locks can be removed with the help of a genuine unlock service provider. As each phone carriers a 15 digit unique IMEI number, the unlock provider just needs that to unlock the phone. Both GSM and CDMA devices regardless of whether they are restricted on networks because of manufacturer lock or network lock can be made SIM free if the owner provides the IMEI number. However, barred, stolen and lost devices may not be eligible for an unlock.

Network Lock

 

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Can i use an AT&T unlocked phone on Sprint or Verizon Network?

Sprint unlock

So you’ve over the moon.

Because you have just unlocked your AT&T phone.

We hope you utilized a factory unlock solution, because this is the only legit unlock method available that whitelists your IMEI as unlocked in the phone’s manufacturer database.

Other solutions such as hardware and software unlocks are only temporary and they only keep the AT&T phone unlocked for a short period of time. This time usually comes to an end when you try to update to new firmwares and basebands; and you’re again stuck with a locked phone.

Using AT&T phone on Sprint or Verizon

After you’ve used the IMEI solution on your AT&T phone, your IMEI is whitelisted and now your phone is unlocked. This means that you can update it to new basebands and firmwares and it won’t get locked.

Also, your warranty remains intact and the resale value of your device increases dramatically than the price valued in a locked state. You don’t even need to apply any software codes of jailbreaks because the job has been done from the backend courtesy of the unlock provider.

But one of the main questions is how many carriers are compatible with your phone after the unlock? Will it work on the Sprint on Verizon network?

If you have been hoping to make it work on Verizon or Sprint, the sad answer is your device won’t work on any of these networks. Here’s why:

There’s nothing that can be done to make AT&T unlocked phones on Verizon or Sprint networks. Any AT&T that has been unlocked will be classified as ‘SIM-unlocked’ so it will only work on GSM carriers, such as T-Mobile’s GSM 2G. It won’t work on T-Mobile’s LTE, and the same principle applies to all MVNOs.

Why it won’t work on other networks is because they have CDMA radios. So you cant make your phone work on CDMA networks as it will only function on GSM carriers, probably those outside the United States. The US itself is mostly a CDMA country; not a part of the norm though, because most of the world consist of GSM carriers. CDMA is owned by Qualcomm, which made it expensive for third-parties to manufacture GSM phones.

So your only option to switch to Verizon or Sprint from AT&T would be to buy a new phone at full retail price. The new device can be bought from a reseller, the carrier itself or a brick and mortar retail store.

AT&T Unlock

Verizon Unlock

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Why Is It So Difficult To Unlock iPhone With T-Mobile

unlock T-Mobile

There are several carriers in the US, and one of them is T-Mobile.

It’s pretty famous and there are several consumers in the country as well as offshore who purchased an iPhone on contract with the carrier. This is usually a two year contract during which the device remains locked to the carrier, and the owner of the device can’t use it on any other carrier apart from T-Mobile.

However, devices locked to this particular carrier can be unlocked via the IMEI unlock service. It is a factory unlock  solution that whitelists your device’s IMEI as unlocked in Apple’s database, which means it is officially recognized as unlocked in Apple’s database. Then the customer is only required to restore the device in iTunes and the phone gets unlocked.

However, it is not as easy to unlock iPhone with T-Mobile as it is with other carriers, such as AT&T and Verizon. Below are some of the reasons why there can be lags in order completion and why customers may face difficulty when it comes to making their device SIM free with the T-Mobile carrier:

1. T-Mobile customers applied unlock codes

T-Mobile introduced an unlock policy that granted eligible customers unlock codes to make their device SIM free. However, many have faced issues with this type of unlock and their device has been rendered useless.

So devices that are no longer working on the carrier itself have to be worked hard upon to be unlocked. The service provider will have to take advanced measures to make this sort of a device SIM free.

2. Blacklisted iPhones

A lot of iPhones that are unlocked to the T-Mobile carrier have been reported as lost or stolen. This means there are several iPhone owners with blacklisted iPhones; the ones that have been banned for use on the T-Mobile network, and they don’t work on any other network too.

So these blacklisted iPhones have to be activated first before their IMEI is whitelisted, and it has a difficult procedure and a higher price to unlock such a device.

3. Blocked iPhones

Several iPhone owners have T-Mobile iPhones that are blocked because the previous owner didn’t pay the bills and insurance claims were filed against these phones.

These devices have to be unblocked before they can be unlocked, so it can be difficult for the service providers to unlock such devices.

All that said, you are likely to find providers who will go through all these difficulties to unlock your phone .

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Why Does Retailer Cost More Than Online Websites To Unlock Phone?

online unlock cost

If you are owner of a phone that’s locked to a certain carrier, God bless your soul!

Because you’re managing really well without network signals and merely using your device as an iPod Touch.

It doesn’t have to be that way, however, as your phone can always be unlocked through a solution like IMEI unlock, after which it will work on any network carrier in the world.

These types of unlocks are available both in physical retail shops and online websites, but generally you’re going to find brick and mortar retailers charging you more for the same service as online websites would.

But what is the reason retails cost more than online websites when it comes to phone unlocking? The answer to this question is not one but many; here are some of the reasons why you are likely going to end up paying a higher price to unlock phone at an offline store:

Price of the store

The retailer has made a good amount of investment in a physical location before starting the business of unlocking phones. The retailer may also have rented a location and is likely to bear the cost of the rent. So to cover these expenses, he is going to pass on some of the cost to the end customer, which means a higher price for the solution. Online websites on the other hand just need a server to get started which is much cheaper than buying a physical location.

Price of branding

Retailers need to put a lot of money into branding to get people to recognize their store. They have to create banners, renovate the shop, get branded clothing for the store staff and make other similar endeavors to attract prospects and build a loyal customer base. So this cost is also included in the final price per customer. Online websites on the other hand only have to engage in little branding and content marketing to get customers.

Price of employees

Retailers can’t do without employees when selling phone unlocks. There are to be someone on the store always if the store owner cannot attend the customer. So this cost is also passed on the customer and a higher priced in charged. Online websites, on the other hand, are easy to handle; most of the communication is done through email and even a single person can handle the entire site and customer base.

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How To Unlock Prepaid Phone On AT&T Network

On att unlock

There are millions of consumers who own a prepaid phone locked to the AT&T network. Those who like to keep their phone, but choose to, or are forced to, change their wireless service due to bad service or relocation necessity, may benefit from unlocking their existing phones.

And it doesn’t make any sense anyway to buy a new phone when you’re happy with your existing prepaid phone on AT&T network but just want to switch service providers. A better option is just to unlock your device so you can enjoy carrier service from other network providers.

The following are some of the ways to get this done:

  1. Determine whether your prepaid phone is GSM or CDMA. The difference lies in the SIM card. GSM phones need SIM cards to connect to the AT&T network while CDMA networks don’t require SIM cards and the connection is hardwired into the device itself. By unlocking a handset, all you have to do is switch the SIM for using a different service.
  2. Call AT&T and ask if they can unlock your handset. Keep in mind that phones that are under contract with the cell phone provider may not be eligible for an unlock. You should wait a few days until the contract comes to an end.
  3. Search for unlock codes; they may be available on the internet. Most websites will charge a fee for these codes; stay away from those sites that are offering free unlock codes as they pertain a high risk of bricking your phone.
  4. Choose an IMEI unlock service:  This is the best option to make an AT&T prepaid phone SIM free. All you need to do is use your IMEI number and submit it to the service provider. AT&T is the most eligible carrier for the IMEI unlock service, and the process is completed faster for handsets locked to AT&T compared to other networks such as T-Mobile and Verizon. Your phone can then be used on any carrier of the world after the unlock and can be updated to new OS and basebands without any worries; a privilege you may not be able to enjoy when opting for other unlocking solutions.

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How To Unlock Locked iPhone That You Bought From eBay

unlock ebay

So you just purchased a shiny new iPhone from eBay.

Good for you.

But wait, you purchased a locked handset because of a cheaper price.

Maybe you didn’t know, and maybe you did – this handset can’t be used on any other carrier apart from the one it is locked to.

So if you purchased a Verizon branded iPhone from eBay, it is only going to work on the Verizon carrier, and won’t be compatible when any other network. For instance, if you insert a T-Mobile SIM inside this handset, it is not going to work and will only function when a Verizon SIM is inside the set.

However, there are ways to get a locked iPhone bought from eBay unlocked. The best and the best recommended solution for the purpose is the IMEI unlock service that has the following prerequisite:

The iPhone should be activated on a particular carrier and should have a clean IMEI. This is the main requirement of most service providers. However, there are a few websites that will also offer to unlock blacklisted and blocked iPhones. You’re likely to pay a higher price for blacklisted and blocked iPhones, because these two can be difficult to unlock.

If this prerequisite is fulfilled, your eBay iPhone that is locked to a particular carrier can be submitted for unlocking. You are only required to submit the 15-digit IMEI code of your device to the service provider and leave the rest to them. It may take a day or a few days to process the unlock, after which you are going to receive unlocking instructions about how to perform the iTunes restore process.

It’s actually pretty easy to get a locked iPhone from eBay unlocked since a lot of advanced services have popped up during the last few years. You can even continue updating basebands and firmwares after the unlock as your iPhone’s IMEI is marked as whitelisted in Apple’s official database, so it is considered to be officially unlocked from the backend.

The customer is able to use the unlocked iPhone on any carrier in the world and the warranty of the device remains intact. In fact, a locked eBay smartphone increases in value after it is made SIM-free and there are no carrier restrictions associated with it. Hardware and software unlocks are not recommended as they work for a temporary period of time: the IMEI solution is the best.

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3 Reasons Why An IMEI Unlock May Not Work On Your Phone

Not Work On Your Phone

To unlock an iPhone, Samsung Galaxy phone, or any other phone for that matter, an IMEI unlock is the most recommended option. This is because hardware and software unlocks only work on a temporary basis and whenever such a device is updated to a new OS firmware or baseband, the device gets relocked again.

Unlock codes may unlock some phone brands, but they are not recommended as well. The problem is that this form of unlocking is basically a software unlock too and may relock the phone when its baseband or firmware gets updated. Also, entering a nonfunctional or wrong unlock codes many times may render the device useless.

So that is why mostly factory unlock IMEI method is used by phone owners. However, there are some reasons why even this method may not work to make your device SIM-free. The three most common ones are as follows:

1. The device is blacklisted or blocked

If you are try to apply or take advantage of an IMEI unlock solution instead of a software unlock on a phone that is blacklisted or blocked, there are no chances of things working out. That’s because a blacklisted device has been reported as stolen or lost, and it won’t work on any network carrier or even restore properly, which is required for an IMEI unlock.

Likewise, a blocked phone is the phone that is associated with the owner having unpaid bills. Carriers block the service, after which the phone is considered as deactivated. A factory IMEI unlock solution requires the phone to be activated before an order can be placed, so chances of it working or almost impossible.

2.  Your IMEI code is wrong

An IMEI unlock service requires a 15 digit code to be sent for the purpose of factory unlock. However, sending the wrong code or entering any one of the digits as wrong would mean the unlock service won’t work on your device.

If you are not sure of your IMEI code, find it out by using an IMEI checker for your respective device or search on the web on how to find the IMEI cod for your device within the phone itself.

3. There is an activation lock

If you are trying to unlock an iPhone with IMEI unlock method, make sure there is no activation lock, because it needs to be disabled or bypass before the device works on any other carrier or gets SIM-free.

An activation lock means that the previous iPhone owner forgot to remove his Apple ID or disable the activation lock. You can search for how to disable the activation lock before applying the IMEI solution.

So when counter these three reasons, you can apply the IMEI unlock.

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