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Consumer Fact Sheet for "Universal" iPhone purchases

Status: Acknowledged
by on ‎03-19-2019 10:16 AM


To my knowledge BestBuy is the only seller of these "universal" iPhones that should work on any carrier, but then lock themselves to that carrier upon first activation. These phones are misunderstood by most people to be unlocked phones, but they are not truly unlocked. They are sold at the same price that Apple sells truly unlocked devices. I am an owner of such a phone that is now effectively a brick beause TMobile says they can't unlock it, but no other SIM will work in it and I have no coverage from TMO where I now live. Sales Associates should know this, but obviously some of them don't, or don't bother to relay this information to customers.  Due to their high cost, iPhone are not stored on open shelves but are taken to the register when requested by a buyer.  The first time you touch the device is after you've bought it, so even if its packaging stated these limitations it wouldn't matter.


I propose that BB implement a fact sheet stating the details of these phones and requiring a consumer to sign it prior to actually buying the phone.


Status: Acknowledged

Thanks for the suggestion.

by Valued Expert
on ‎03-19-2019 03:15 PM

Truly that is a good idea to make customers aware of what a universal phone is.  but it should be on the customer to know if T Mobile will work where they are taking the phone. 


I also do feel customers should be somewhat aware of what they are buying when they opt for something like a universal or unlocked phone.


However, there should be a disclaimer at the check out that the person has to click on to agree to the terms of the phone purchase.  You already have to to agree to the serice plans etc.


Did you take it overseas?  it does say on BB's web site that universal phones only work on major us Carriers. 



on ‎03-19-2019 04:00 PM


No, I'm not one of those guys that bought one to use overseas.  I bought it to replace my aging 6Plus and just popped my existing T-Mobile SIM into it.  Worked like a champ for a year.  I recently moved within Florida to a more remote area with no TMO coverage.  Thinking it was unlocked, I just had AT&T port my number.  That's when I found out that the phone had become locked to TMO.  I think most people are not aware that 'universal' does not equal 'unlocked', even though its the same price as an unlocked phone directly from Apple. I just want BB to make it clear to consumers that the phone they are paying full price for will eventually be locked to the first carrier they use. I'm about to find out if the two hours I spent on the phone with Apple and another two with T-Mobile are going to pay off.  I got an email from TMO saying the phone should be unlocked now that they've conferred with Apple.  *fingers crossed* because I'm tired of using this crappy Android burner phone I bought so that I'd have something to use.

by Valued Expert
on ‎03-20-2019 10:51 AM

Personally I was not aware of universal phones until you posted this. 


They should have a disclaimer that the customer has to acknowledge at checktout. 

on ‎03-30-2019 01:40 PM

@swood58585c3 I agree.  And this is a HUGE issue becuase the other problem is that iPhones cannot be resold once opened.  Currently, there is a disclaimer telling you there's a restocking fee and you must acknowledge and sign it.   The worst case scenario (and I've actually seen it) is a cusotmer will buy one of these and in my customer's case he wanted to take it to Puerto Rico and the folks in Mobile didn't tell him and he only found out after he got back to the US on vacation and he was extremely upset because it wouldn't work on his carrier down in Puerto Rico and then when he tried to return it they wanted him to pay the restocking fee and it's one of those things where you feel for him because he wasn't offered full, honest disclosure on the issue.  Why you would have a disclaimer online, as @bobberuchi pointed out, but not have it in-store is questionable on it's own and warrants change.

on ‎03-30-2019 02:03 PM


I should have posted a follow-up with my results.  By writing directly to John Legere, the CEO of T-Mobile, I got a reply the next day by an executive assistant that personally escalated my case.  Apple and TMO conferred and within the hour my phone was unlocked. With that kind of concern for their (former) customer, I will definitely be a TMO customer again one day when I'm in an area they service. it was still far more painful than it needed to be and I hope BB does something to help customers be fully aware of what they are getting with these phones. I really feel for those people that end up stuck with a phone they can't use and can't return.

by Senior Social Media Specialist Senior Social Media Specialist
on ‎04-16-2019 01:58 PM
Status changed to: Acknowledged

Thanks for the suggestion.

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