Buying a new cellphone redux

Unlocked or locked?

I was exhausted. That was literally true. While I’ve indicated that I hate shopping, I despise buying things I don’t understand and repurchasing them. That’s about four hours I spent buying a new cellphone redux.

On August 5, I bought my daughter a preowned Samsung Galaxy S20+ from Best Buy for about $320. It was coming from the warehouse and was scheduled to arrive at the store by August 10; it came a day early.

There was a problem. The “unlocked” phone was, in fact, locked. My daughter took it back to Best Buy. They said she had to take it to AT&T because they could unlock it.

Well, no. The message from AT&T: “We can’t unlock this device until the former owner removes it from their AT&T account.” So, Best Buy sold a phone that was tied to another account?

“Buy your device through a second-hand reseller? We can’t unlock it until the former owner removes it from their AT&T account.
“When the device is removed from that account, you can submit a new request. If the device meets the rest of the eligibility requirements, we’ll approve the unlock request.”
The cavalry
The daughter called, exhausted and exasperated. I totally get that. So her daddy came to the rescue. I eventually talked to a Best Buy customer service rep who immediately called a manager.

I showed the manager an alternate Samsung phone, but they said it was a step down from what we already had. What do I know? So they recommended a new phone over $235 more expensive, but they could take off $100. Sure, whatever.

I walked from Best Buy to the store where my daughter worked, some 900 steps each way, five times to get more info, such as her Samsung password. Then I needed to wait at Best Buy for the info to be transferred from the old phone to the new phone, then to zap the info from the old phone.

Oh, and while I could pay for the original phone charge over 12 months at zero interest, the additional $135 was not treated the same way because it was less than $300. So when THAT portion of the bill comes due, I’ll have to pay that whole amount plus the 1/12 of the original amount.

It wasn’t my plan for the day, but I’m the “retired” guy. She needed a working phone before returning to college. As my wife put it, I took one for the team.

Naturally, the case for the old (Aug 5) phone doesn’t fit the new (Aug 21) one, and my daughter had decorated the extant holder. [Shrugs yet again.]


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