Valley Woman Seeks Assistance in Switching Wireless Services
WESLACO – A Rio Grande Valley woman said changing her cellphone provider has become a hassle.
Two Samsung phones sit idly on Georgia Foster’s table. "For some reason, I've never been able to get good reception here,” she explains.
She’s been trying to switch phone providers for weeks now. Foster tells us to do that, her phone has to be unlocked. Certain carrier policies will lock your phone if you haven’t finished your contract, paid off your phone, or in this case: the handset must have had active service for a minimum of 90 consecutive days from the individual phone’s activation date.
Foster said she’s met all those requirements.
When she went to the store, she was expecting the process to be quick. Foster says, "The young people there were very, very helpful. They did all they could possibly do to help me with this situation of unlocking the phone."
She said they kept trying for days. Finding no answer, more delays, she reached out to CHANNEL 5 NEWS. We called the provider to find out what was the delay. Receiving no answer, we sent an email. Aside from requesting specifics on the case, the have not explained why it’s taking so long.
A week and a half later, Foster said one of her phones is unlocked. She wasn’t told why it took so long.
She said, "One thing one gentleman told me on the phone, that it may be the phone was not compatible with the other phones. Well, if that's the situation then that needs to be on the contract and individuals need to know before they make a purchase. That they'll not be able to use this phone with any other company."
Foster tells us they were unable to unlock her second phone. She’s now looking for someone who can fix it.
Under normal circumstances, Android phones like Foster’s can use a mobile app called Device Unlock. It will unlock your phone without having to contact customer service. The process takes about two business days, according to the Metro PCS website.
There are a few other things someone can do if they have a phone they need to unlock.
A cellphone repair shop owner CHANNEL 5 NEWS spoke with said everyone should first check their carrier’s policy. That can tell them whether they’re able to unlock your phone.
If someone buys a device from Craigslist or EBay, always check the IMEI. It’s a serial number unique to each phone. Consumers can run the number on websites or have specialists do it for them. It will tell them if it’s eligible to be unlocked.
However, there are more complex situations.
Tony Vallejo, who repairs computers and phones, said, “Some phones could just be corrupt why they don't want to get unlocked. And that's happened before where the software or the hardware is not functioning and it doesn't let you unlock it. It's just a defect in the phone."
Before anyone buys a phone, Vallejo recommends they check reviews. Look up specific model numbers. Some research may give you a glimpse into the kind of problems other users are encountering with that specific phone.
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