Monday, 9 February 2015

Do You Really Own Your Phone?

As you know from my previous posts I am currently in Canada. After arriving, one of my top priorities was to get my phone sorted out with a Canadian SIM card so I wouldn't risk running up a huge bill using my UK SIM card. 

Never did I think this would pose a problem as I bought my iPhone outright from Apple two months ago so my phone wouldn't be locked and paid a monthly SIM-only bill to O2. 

Yesterday I went to Bell to set up my new SIM card and they checked the serial number of my phone to make sure it would work as it is British - all was good. I happily told them the phone wouldn't be locked as it was bought with my money through Apple and not through my phone carrier back home. However when the SIM card was inserted we were presented with the above message (seen in the photo). 

Luckily there was an Apple store in the shopping centre. I went to Apple and explained my situation to them. They looked up the serial number on my phone and confirmed that I bought it from Apple UK unlocked but when I inserted the SIM card from O2 into it, O2 sent a signal to lock my phone so it belonged to them. 

I was furious. How dare O2 lock my product to their carrier when it wasn't directly bought from them. The best way I can describe it is that my phone had been hijacked by O2. They had taken it from me without telling me and I would have to pay to have access to it again. 

I went to a store in the shopping centre who said they could unlock my phone for $60, being in a foreign country I was willing to pay this. The people I spoke to couldn't believe what O2 had done to me. In Canada they have a law that carriers abide to when it comes to phone locking - I wish the same was done in the UK. I read online that Ofcom are looking into introducing these laws. 

Eventually after contacting O2 they unlocked my phone for free for me. However I am still angry and wanted to share my experience with you as I feel that it is wrong that they feel they can lock a product that does not belong to them. 

Has anyone else experienced a similar situation? I would love to hear your opinions. 

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