Have you ever bought a phone and found out it was locked to a carrier? Before you sue the seller, take a few steps to see what you can do.

AT&T — For most devices, there is an unlock request form you can fill out online using the IMEI number for the device. After you submit the form, AT&T will send you a confirmation email with a link. Click the link, and AT&T will send unlocking instructions within two business days. Note that prepaid devices must be active for six months before they can be unlocked. Start the unlocking procedure at https://www.att.com/deviceunlock/

Sprint — Devices with domestic SIM cards launched after 2015 automatically unlock when they become eligible. To get an inactive device unlocked, call Sprint customer care at 888-211-4727 or request an unlock through Sprint’s online chat. Keep in mind that Sprint-branded phones use a relatively obscure networking technology and won’t work on other networks.

Verizon — Call 888-294-6804 to request an unlock. A representative will walk you through the procedure, which involves entering a code (000000 or 123456) for most devices. For Verizon World Devices and prepaid 3G phones, you’ll need to call 800-922-0204 to get help from a Verizon tech. 

T-Mobile — Use the T-Mobile Unlock app on supported devices or unlock the handset over chat or via phone by calling 877-746-0909.

Most retailers and wholesalers deal in unlocked phones whether they’re buying or selling because it’s easier. Now that you know how to unlock a phone, however, you may be able to profit by purchasing locked phones at a discounted price.

Let us know if this was helpful or contact us directly where you have problems unlocking a device.