It was a really exciting time for reader Poochie’s wife. She was getting an iPhone 5. Yaaay! Once everything was set up in her brand-new phone, though, the SIM card failed. No problem: Poochie pulled out his own phone and asked his trusty friend Siri where to find the nearest Verizon store. That store wanted $30 to replace the SIM of a phone that was just out of the box and under warranty. If that seems unreasonable, that’s because… it is.
Earlier this week we posted an email from a man who said an AT&T salesman tried to charge him an “activation fee” to switch his daughter’s already-active SIM card to a GoPhone. We got a lot of useful (if sometimes contradictory) advice from readers in the comments section, and now an AT&T spokesman has written in with an official statement about it.
Does AT&T really charge a $25 “activation fee” when you move your SIM card to a GoPhone? A father had to replace his child’s broken cellphone over the weekend, and the rep at the AT&T store told him the only way to avoid an ETF or plan extension was to buy a GoPhone and pay an activation fee, even though the SIM card was the same. Online, you can buy a new GoPhone and have the activation fee waved. Way to treat your current customers, AT&T.
Having the ability to make calls all over the world is a pretty amazing communications milestone, but that doesn’t mean it’s cheap and easy. The Consumerist is filled with stories of poor fools who come back from parts unknown with thousand-dollar roaming bills—and it doesn’t just happen to clueless iPhone users. Here’s our attempt to help make some sense out of the mess.
On Wednesday, the California Supreme Court refused to review two earlier findings, which killed T-Mobile’s final chance at blocking a lawsuit against its early-termination fees and practice of locking phones. This is the third time T-Mobile has tried to stop the case from proceeding, and both a state trial judge and a state appeals court have already rejected T-Mobile’s claims that its customers were required by the terms of their contracts to submit to binding arbitration.
A class-action lawsuit was filed on October 5th against the unholy duo of Apple and AT&T, charging that they intentionally broke unlocked headsets via the last firmware update, and conspired illegally to monopolize parts of the mobile phone market by preventing consumers from using any services other than those provided by the two companies. The suit charges the two companies, either jointly or separately, with six formal counts, including “alleged violations of the California Business and Profession’s Code, The Cartwright Act, The Sherman Act, The Federal Trade Commission Act, The Communications Act of 1934, and The Telecommunications Act of 1996, as well as rules and policies established by the FCC.”
Remember JD? 32 hours of tech support from Apple and AT&T couldn’t coax his replacement iPhone into working with his prepaid SIM card. After we posted his story, representatives from both companies had a powwow and traced JD’s problem back to mismatched IMEI numbers. Now JD’s replacement iPhone works, and he has advice for anyone in a similar bind:
Received a call from an extremely helpful AT&T representative yesterday. She was informed of the situation by Apple, and worked with them to resolve it. Along with AT&T, I received a call from an Apple executive, who was also extremely helpful. Thanks to them both for getting to the bottom of this situation.
iPhone owners using prepaid SIM cards better take extra special care of their pocket trophies. According to Apple and AT&T, prepaid SIM cards are eternally wed without consent to one lucky iPhone, an important caveat reader JD discovered after spending 32 hours trying to activate his replacement iPhone. JD warns:
If you activated an iPhone with a new AT&T prepaid plan, you *must* keep using that iPhone. You *cannot* replace that iPhone with another iPhone. The only way to use a new iPhone with your prepaid account, is to *create a new account with a new phone number,* and have them move your balance over. Period. Apparently this is a “security feature” and the system was “designed that way,” specifically for prepaid iPhone plans.
The discouraging verdict from both Apple and AT&T should make potential iPhone users think twice before using a prepaid SIM card to skirt the confines of a two year contract. JD’s full story, after the jump.