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T-Mobile Phone Unlocking Lawsuit May Proceed 116

Billosaur writes "Wired is reporting that the California Supreme Court has refused to review two lower court decisions involving a class-action lawsuit against T-Mobile over their policies regarding early termination and phone unlocking. The Court rejected the reviews without comment, opening the door to the lawsuit, which aims to block T-Mobile from collecting a $200 early termination fee from users. Also on the table: an order for T-Mobile to disclose the types of phone-locking technology that may be in use on customer's phones. The ramifications if the lawsuit is successful would be to allow phone users in California to unlock their phones, and might lead to further lawsuits nationwide."
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T-Mobile Phone Unlocking Lawsuit May Proceed

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  • by quanticle ( 843097 ) on Friday October 12, 2007 @02:06PM (#20957505) Homepage

    Doesn't T-Mobile already allow unlocking at the end of the contract? I've had multiple T-Mobile phones, and they've always allowed you to unlock your old phone once your contract expired.

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Friday October 12, 2007 @02:23PM (#20957769) Homepage
    you can get your Cingular /AT&T phone unlocked by them. you need to call the international support line and request help acting dumb. you want to travel overseas and use a forign GSM sim card. they will give you an unlock code.

    In fact you can do this 5 months after you start your contract. I did it to my Razr that my daughter now has. Called up, lied to them, got the unlock code.

    Or you can pay to get the phone unlocked at any competent cellphone dealer.
  • by Longstaff ( 70353 ) on Friday October 12, 2007 @02:47PM (#20958099)
    T-Mobile will give you the unlock code after you have been a customer for more than 90 days. I have had multiple phones from them over the 5 years I have been a customer and they have unlocked every one as soon as I get it - while in contract or month-to-month. You just have to ask.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 12, 2007 @02:49PM (#20958125)

    Doesn't T-Mobile already allow unlocking at the end of the contract? I've had multiple T-Mobile phones, and they've always allowed you to unlock your old phone once your contract expired.

    Warning: incoherent rant ahead...

    In the UK I've had problems with T-Mobile...

    Although my contract has expired, they still refuse to unlock my phone unless I pay them!

    At the point where the eighteen-month contract was due to expire within three days, they informed me that they would be charging me for another month regardless of whether I wanted the line or used it. Now when I call they just redirect me to someone who effectively repeats 'terms and conditions' until one of us hangs-up.

    That was eighteen *long* months, where each month involved being 'overcharged' by upto 100% due to the fine-print in their contract allowing them to basically charge me 50p per minute (including whilst sat listening to hold-music for 17mins, every time) when I called to try to resolve the problems with the (£400) partially-configured non-3G '3G' PDA-phone they sold me that couldn't and still can't receive picture messages; that allows them to exclude most of my calls and texts from the £35/month that I was paying them.

    Now they're attempting to ruin my credit rating by passing my details on to a debt-collection agency to recover the £19 they believe I owe them because I refused to keep paying after my contract had expired.

    Every time I questioned the fairness of their tactics, their response was 'all mobile companies in the UK do it'. Sadly, this may be true, although I've not yet experienced this (yet).

    One of their favourite games is responsibility-tennis, whereby the customer service line staff (read: core company) distances themselves from knowledge-of- and culpability-for the actions of the staff in their stores and vice-versa - the outcome being that there's no way for me to get any kind of satisfaction after being sold a phone which the sales person claimed was 3G but isn't; after the sales person tricked me into taking an expensive contract by telling me that to take the PDA phone I wanted, I must take a particular contract (later revealed to be untrue by customer services); after the sales-person sold me a per-month fixed-price contract which later was revealed to exclude almost all calls/texts made by me.

    This is by far one of the most evil public-facing companies I've had the misfortune to deal with. They are, in effect, organised (really well organised) crime; with a twist, they use the legal system to trick, misdirect and coerce their customers.

    If they were they only mobile company, I'd rather not have a mobile.

    It's particularly frustrating that they're split in to multiple companies; one side-effect being that any class-action suit in the US can't result in UK customers being treated fairly.

    I'm soo tired of living in this climate where companies use every tactic available to them to screw the customer, again and again then use the system to penalise any dissent.

    As a final note at the end of my rant....

    At the end of my contract, they wouldn't unlock my phone because "they're not required to by law" lol. This, to me, is extremely short-sighted behaviour. Don't these companies realise that customers have memories and talk to each other? I'll be quite happy to take reasonable steps to ensure that no more of my money ever reaches them, direcly or indirectly, but that's not quite enough, is it?

  • by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Friday October 12, 2007 @03:17PM (#20958537)

    You are given an offer to purchase the phone at a discounted rate on the basis that you also agree to a fixed term contract.
    If you buy the phone, its yours from day 1.
    The issue is that nearly all cell carriers advertise phones with the OEM's model number. If you go to the manufacturers website to look at specs you get misinformed because most carriers actually disable functionality already in the phone so they can force you into buying their services.

    For example my phone can actually play any MP3 as a ringtone, however when you buy it from Cingular/AT&T they have disabled that feature with a software lock so you are forced to either use the crappy default tones or buy (only) their ringtones at inflated prices through their online service.

A bug in the code is worth two in the documentation.