Thursday, January 24, 2013

Why I'm going Android, and never looking back thanks to @Bell_Mobility

AKA: My horror story of dealing with Bell Mobility Canada, and Apple

First, for the record, I love my iPhone, my MacBook Pro, and every Apple product I have ever owned. I have long toted Apple as a company that makes fantastic products and has excellent customer service... but this time, they have really let me down.

The backstory: I was so excited when I first purchased my iPhone, on a three-year contract (all that was available at the time) through Bell Canada (my cell phone provider since my very first cell phone when I was 18) back in November of 2010.  Even under the contract, it was still more expensive than any phone I had ever bought before, but I decided to take the leap - I even bought the AppleCare, because I planned on sticking with my phone for a while.

Everything was great, I loved my iPhone.  It even replaced my point-and-shoot camera.  How could I have foreseen what would happen next?

Little did I know, I would meet my future husband on April 29th, 2011 - and he would happen to live in another country.

And though we went through a long distance relationship for almost a full year, and had to deal with bureaucracy of the highest level in submitting paperwork for my visa, just so that we could get married - the most TEDIOUS result of my move to Florida has been trying to get my iPhone unlocked.  ALL I want to do is be able to use a decent phone where I live! (To be fair, my lovely now-husband did give me his iPhone 3 to tide me over, but it drops calls a lot and rarely has service)

I tried asking T-Mobile (our current cell phone provider) - they said they were unable to unlock phones on another network.  I went into the Apple store - they told me that it is up to each individual cell phone provider to give out unlock codes.  I even researched jailbreaking and unlocking my phone that way, but the one "work-around" was disabled at some point last year.

So, since I am in Florida, and my mother is in Toronto, I had her go to our favourite Bell store employee.  He is brilliant and has helped us with every problem we've ever had.  He gave my mom a phone number to call, and said it would be $75, and in 24 hours a Bell representative would call her back with the code.  Totally fine with that - I have absolutely NO PROBLEM with paying a fee to make my phone useable in my new home country.

My mom called on January 18, when she spoke to a representative named Jean, who said that it could be done with no problem, but that someone would have to follow up with her in 24 hours.  She then followed up on Saturday and again on Monday, when she was told both times that it "wasn't 24 hours yet".  Finally, on Tuesday, she received a call back.  She was told that it absolutely could not be done because "Apple would not allow them to do it while the phone was still under contract" - Hey Bell Employees, if you're looking it up, it can all be found under REF EY11512.

So Apple is telling me that it's up to Bell to unlock it, and Bell is telling me that they're "not allowed" to unlock it, as per Apple.


And where does that leave me?  It leaves me with a very expensive brick in my pocket.

So... this is my little "screw you" to Bell, and especially to Apple.  Bell - my family has a home phone, satellite tv, several cell phones, and business lines with you.  They will all be done, as soon as the contracts are up.  Apple - I've owned 3 MacBook Pros, an iPhone, and countless accessories... and, sorry Apple, but if you can't fix this, you won't be getting any more of my money.

*EDIT* My issue has now had a positive resolution, thanks to this blog post!

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  1. Katie, I'm so sorry that you are upset but I can 100% tell you that it is not apple. They already have your money and don't care whether or not your phone is unlocked. The issue with locked phones is so that you will remain tied to one particular phone company and stay in contract.

    As it stands here in the US, if you buy an iphone at incentive price of $199 (with AT&T with a new 2 year agreement for example) you can request an "unlock code" from AT&T once your contract is up. Although the phone was purchased for $199, the phone actually costs $649 and AT&T pays the difference to Apple. That is why they bind you to a 2 year agreement because they just put out $450 for your phone.

    If your applecare is up, I would just suggest jailbreaking the phone. If the phone is no longer under warranty, it doesn't matter anymore that jailbreaking will void the warranty.

    Hope you get this worked out. If I could help you any further, I would!


    1. I know it's not Apple... it's definitely Bell that is holding me hostage, no question. The thing that is super shitty though is that I'm not trying to get my phone unlocked so that I can use it on a different Canadian network. My phone is now a brick, because I can't use it where I live, and when I bought the phone, I had no idea that my life would take this drastic turn.

      Also, the line is still being paid for, even though I'm no longer using it. So they're still getting my money.

      I'm not even saying that I want them to unlock my phone for free. All I want is to be able to use the phone that I shelled out a good amount of money on, and to be treated like a human being by a large corporation that I've been dealing with for well over 10 years now. It's just not right.

  2. Can you talk to bell and opt out of your contract early? Sometimes carriers will let you opt out for say $200 and then be able to provide you with an unlock code. I honestly hate the cell phone companies. They are so greedy. They charge so much for texting, which literally costs them nothing. Cable companies are the same too.

    I'm so sorry everyone is giving you the run around. You are absolutely right. But seriously... jailbreak it. You won't have 4G at all on tmobile but at least you will be able to use your phone.

  3. I agree, you should just jailbreak it. Also, it's the phone companies that are the problem, not apple. And I think it's not just Bell, but also T Mobile. I had a friend with a similar problem. Both AT&T and Verizon were willing to unlock her phone. If you guys can switch from T Mobile, it might be worth looking into.

  4. No, you guys don't get it... The phone is actually already jailbroken, but that doesn't make it "unlocked" from a Canadian network. There's some sort of funky setting in the programming of the iphones that will not release it from Bell, unless Bell does it themselves.
    We tried unlocking the phone ourselves the first time Bell told us no... and ended up finding out that the one "work-around" was fixed by Apple in one of their IOS updates, back in March or April of last year.

    At this point, we've actually tried *every* option - My mom even asked about buying out the contract, and it would actually cost less to keep paying for the line that she's not using. They wanted to charge her $200 just to cancel the data, not even the full line.

    It's just all around the worst experience in customer service I've ever had.

  5. It's 100% Bell's fault. Nothing to do with Apple. No reason to jump ship to Android, you'll regret it ;)

  6. That sucks. But since it's the phone company and not Apple, you would have had the same problem with an Android. Still, sucks. I hope you can get it resolved somehow!