While I was in Arizona I picked up a new Galaxy S3. I got it at a tmobile store and the conversation was along the lines of,
"I want to purchase an S3 with no contract, unlocked."
I paid full price and left with what I think is a rather nice phone. When I got back to Hungary I opened up my old Galaxy S and my new S3 to swap sim cards and found out they changed the size of the card. Not sure why - this phone makes my old Galaxy S feel rather small and the new sim card is smaller. But I found out it was a rather trivial matter to cut down a larger card - so I did and that was fine.
I booted up the phone, put in my pin for the sim card and then I was asked to provide the unlock code.
I got on the tmobile web site. There is no email address there. The options are to call on the phone, send a letter or do live chat. I went with chat. I told them my issue and they opened a ticket. That got me an email from them telling me to fax my receipt to them to prove I had paid full price for the phone. So - just to sum up where we are - I need to prove to the other party that I paid them for what I bought. Apparently they don't keep track of what they sell. And I have to prove it with a fax; in 2012.
Fortunately my office has a fax machine so I went down there, made a cover page per their directions and faxed it all in. The email said it could take up to a week for them to process my request.
I waited and yesterday I got an email from them letting me know that since they never got the fax, they were closing the ticket. SO - I got back on chat and opened it with the statement "I faxed you what you requested in your email and just got an email back saying you didn't get the fax." The person on the other end said they would look into it and asked me to give them a few minutes. I thought this was reasonable. They came back and said, "The problem is they never received the fax." That is what I had just put into statement of my issue. The next step was asking me what phone number I used for the fax. I put it in, in the exact format they had given me in the email - 813-353-6557 and the response I got back was "The correct number is 1-813-353-6557. Did you dial the 1?" I about popped a vein. (I'm now relatively sure I was not talking to a live person but software.)
The resolution, once I assured them I properly dialed the number - was to open another ticket and to ask me to fax the receipt again.
So to restate - I walked into a tmobile store and bought some equipment from them. I was told it was unlocked and I paid the full, no contract price. Now I'm fighting with them over a fax (in 2012!) about whether or not that transaction actually took place. They lied to me and now they are intentionally trying to keep me from using what I bought from them.
The kicker is that when I get it unlocked it will be so I can use the phone on the t-mobile network here in Hungary.
I could root and unlock it via other means - but I shouldn't have to. I shouldn't have to pay someone, or go to sketchy sites and download stuff that I'm not sure about. My property should work as designed. As of right now, in my opinion, T-Mobile is failing grievously at providing the service they should be providing. I know that isn't shocking news to anyone but getting the word out is, I think, part of my civic duty in this case. I want to make sure others are aware that if they find themselves in a purchasing situation, thinking about buying a phone to take outside the US from t-mobile, that they are going to suck at helping you do so.