So my vexing fiasco occurred on june 20th, 2023. I went to work by subway. when I got to my stop, I noticed my phone network status bar had said SOS. I tried restarting the phone. After restarting the phone, the status bar still displayed SOS. I then just thought T-Mobile was having an outage. it was a headache because I had plans that day to meet up with friends later in the afternoon.
later on I checked my other line and called other family and friends who are T-Mobile customers, and confirmed that it wasn’t T-Mobile’s Network. it was indeed the device having an issue. I did call T-mobile customer care to troubleshoot the issue. this involved network resets, e-sim reinstalls, physical sim installs, going in and out of airplane mode, turning off and on cellular data, and ultimately a factory reset. T-Mobile escalated the issue with management, but never heard back. I was with 1 week without my main line not connected due to the device not connecting to the network.
On this battle to get my phone working again, I called apple to troubleshoot the issue. explained all the procedures to get the phone out of SOS mode. they originally said it was the network. with them saying this, I had ended up going in circles between t-mobile and apple trying to fix this phone. the last of it was that T-Mobile said that it was the device and not them because it was showing as connected to the network. I then finally got in contact with an Apple customer service rep that scheduled me a Genius Bar appointment.
At the Genius Bar appointment, diagnostics were run and later on found out that the device was reported lost/stolen and is the reason for the device going into SOS mode. I was perplexed; how could a phone I bought brand new in April 2022 from the Apple store be reported lost stolen and it is in my hand? as per the Apple rep, only the carriers can do it. the circle started again. I called T-Mobile and they have no record of my device being reported lost stolen and is not on any list of their’s deeming such. then it was back to apple customer cars since that particular Apple Store wasn’t disclosing any information or willing to help after the discovering the device was lost stolen.
After a second runaround between Apple and T-Mobile, an Apple Customer service Rep, referred me to a site that showed that my phone was reported lost/stolen after entering the device’s IMEI number. after doing so and confirming that the device was indeed reported lost/stolen, I then sent an email to the database company to find out how to get my iPhone off this blacklist since it was wrongfully done. They have replied that it was the doing of Verizon. so now a new fight was starting.
I then contacted Verizon about the matter and explained to them that I am not or never was a Verizon customer and have been a T-Mobile customer for 21 years and I am looking to fix this blacklist issue with my device. I was sent to the Verizon store to see if they can removed the blacklist. the store was perplexed by my situation and told me that they cannot do anything. I decided to call Verizon customer service back and was put through to their fraud department. their Fraud department was insisting that my iPhone 13 Pro Max belonged to a verizon customer who has an outstanding balance with them and the only way to remove the phone from a blacklist is to pay the outstanding balance. I argued with them telling them that it is my device, I bought it from apple brand new a year ago and have the proof of such, and that it isn’t associated with one of their customer accounts. They said they couldn’t remove it until it was paid.
Left angry with a brick that I am still paying off, and now 2 weeks with my main phone number not connecting, I kept researching ways of trying to resolve this before spending $1,000+ on another device, I realized that I can file a complaint with the FCC with my issue. I then filed a complaint on the FCC website against Verizon Wireless for holding my phone capabilities ransom. 2 days later I received correspondence from the FCC and right after, a call from Verizon’s Executive Relations department. Verizon finally accepted my proof that it my device and was activated on T-Mobile. The rep sends it to their fraud department. 2 days later my device removed from the blacklist. It was explained as a clerical error and they apologized to me for their massive inconvenience. I feel though that I should’ve been compensated for their vexing mishap causing me to miss important phone calls and texts. after this, my iPhone has been reconnected back to T-Mobile and working as designed. Away from that, I am still vexed that some big conglomerate were so arrogant and dismissive of their wrongdoing and that it took a federal government agency to rectify what I have been telling them all along.
Now that my device is back up and running, I would like to inform and warn anybody who owns an Android or iPhone. These carriers can blacklist your device at any moment. In order to prove it is your device, it is imperative to keep the receipt as proof as it has the device model, serial number, and imei number on it. just be mindful that some carriers will not be willing to fix this wrong and it may take getting the FCC involved. I personally believe that there must be measures in place to stop these harrowing mistakes from occurring; possibly a new regulation that could have these carriers double check their info before proceeding with blacklisting a persons device instead of doing so to innocent owners.