Smitty runs up against the deep, dark secret of American wireless marketing:
I had occasion to return my handset to the manufacturer today. I shipped the wee gadget off to Huntsville, AL for to see the phone doctor.
There is an AT&T shop near the mail joint, so I figured I’d go buy a cheap backup handset from my preferred vendor, slide in the SIM card, and have something to tide me over until my main handset returns.
Too sensible. This sort of reasoning will not be tolerated.
I explained my situation, picked out a decent handset and set about buying the thing. The sales guy said that there would be no refund on an unlocked phone. Store credit, sure, but no money back, since I’m not an AT&T customer. I trust my brand, so fine. He has me sign something explicitly stating that I understand this proviso, which I think a bit much, but I’m still trusting the creep.
So I bought the thing, and then he started to tell me about the unlocking process, to get it to work outside of AT&T. He couldn’t do that in the store, he had to call some service guy. Fine. Called up this guy, collected my contact information. They guy informed me that it’s going to be 72 hours before they can email me the magic code to unlock the phone.
It could be worse, though. Try this with a CDMA network provider. The phones aren’t technically locked, but they’re not truly unlocked either: they require something more than a string of characters to be made to work on somebody else’s network.
All sorts of Bad Deals characterize the American wireless biz. My own phone, as manufactured, has no problems with MP3 files, but the function has been crippled by orders of the network provider: you can’t use them for ringtones unless they themselves sold them to you. The alternative is (gag) WMA.
Your policy blows the grand wazoo, and people should find other vendors with less crappy policies.
Vendors, if pressed on the matter, will argue that it’s those crappy policies that keep them in business.