So I bought an iphone 5 from a locally run website. I intend to use it for international use when we go to Thailand next may. However when I called customer service they told me that they wouldn't unlock it for me because the previous owner isn't up to date on his payments. So I asked the guy who I bought this from if he would call, and they told him that even though he sold the phone, they wouldn't unlock it for me because of his bad history. I feel like I got duped. I spent all this money just to hear that Sprint won't unlock this phone just because the previous owner (doesn't even own it anymore!) is late on a payment. I thought it was against the law for phone companies to refuse unlocking phones anyways...... Anyways my question is: Am I out of luck? Should I just try selling it and getting an UNLOCKED phone this time? I mean I learned my lesson from buying phones online, but I sure wish there was a way that we could unlock this phone.....
You seem to be under the misconception that an agreement between the carriers to unlock phones in order to head off legislation is a law. It's not.
But be that as it may, the original owner owes Sprint money. If someone sells you a used car they are behind in payments on before the repo man shows up and the repo man takes your car - is that illegal? Do you have a right to have the car back?
Lastly, the only unlock you could possibly get would be an international unlock. That's what you want of course, but for clarification's sake, the SIM in the 5 is different than the 5s and above so there is no full domestic/international unlock available.
You took a gamble with a used device. A SPRINT used device. You lost.
Unfortunately yes that device identifier is tied to the previous owners account so from a Sprint perspective until his account is paid off the device will not be eligible for international unlock due to the potential for even higher charges from roaming partners overseas to be accrued. eyoungren is right in that you'll need to work back from the person you bought the device from to pay their bill so you can use the device freely as you should be. Or pay their bill yourself but who wants to do that?