Samsung never again! You need an unlock code to use it worldwide!

Kein Kommentar Autor: Jürgen (jdo)

It is really unbelievable what a sad company Samsung is. The company wants to be one of the leading technology companies in the world? Maybe – but the customer service and support does not deserve its name. I’ll accept the excuse generator and so on, but this has nothing to do with customer service. In Update 3 I can prove that the customer support lies on purpose!

I have been waiting for an unlock code for my smartphone for about a month now so that I can use it outside of Europe. (In Update 5 you will find out how I got the unlock code – I didn’t get it from the support by the way!)

Wait a minute – what?

I bought a Samsung XCover 4s shortly before I left Germany. I liked the fact that it is not so big and made for outdoor use. Outdoor is actually very convenient for me. In addition, you can change the battery quickly and by yourself. All you have to do is remove the back cover. It is neither glued nor screwed and so on. If you insert the SIM card or a microSD memory card, you can immediately access the battery.

I like the concept of the Samsung XCover 4s - the company behind it will never see me again

I like the concept of the Samsung XCover 4s – the company behind it will never see me again

Of course, I had noticed that Samsung had installed a completely useless lock in the smartphones at some point. This was justified with something about customer service (rofl). After a completely justified and proper shitstorm, the company backed down. At least that’s how I remember it.

Of course, I did not expect Samsung to continue installing this completely useless lock in the smartphones. There was no indication of it on the purchase page and there was also no hint anywhere else (manual) that this stupid lock exists. Of course, I didn’t think anything about it since I bought a smartphone without a SIM lock. Thus, I did not know that I have to make a 5-minute call with the smartphone in my home network (why actually – also costs money?!) to unlock the smartphone worldwide.

Long story short … when I inserted my non-European SIM card, I got the message that I cannot use the XCover 4s with this SIM card. When chatting with live support, I was then told that I need to apply for the unlock code or activation code. That was about a month ago now.

Samsung anti-support – only excuses …

From here on, the tragedy really begins. On 18/02/2021, I contacted Samsung’s anti-support for the first time and described the case. I need an unlock code because I can no longer make calls in my home network (not there any longer). A first answer I received on 27/02/2021. I was told that I will only get an unlock code if I provide the following data:

  • IMEI number
  • Country (why? worldwide?)
  • Your network provider of the non-European SIM card (optional)
  • Copy of the proof of purchase

I asked why I have to provide the country. After all, I want to use the phone worldwide. I also asked that my data be completely deleted after sending the unlock code in accordance with the GDPR. Samsung did not even respond to this. Instead, I was told that the request was forwarded to the specialist department and that I would receive the activation code in a few days (28/02/2021).

However, this sentence from Samsung’s anti-support made me a bit upset (translation): Please inform yourself if you plan to do something like this again to avoid the stress.

Das ist schon sehr unverschämt vom Samsung Anti-Support

Das ist schon sehr unverschämt vom Samsung Anti-Support

So, I should guess beforehand whether I can use a smartphone without a SIM lock anywhere, which becomes my property when I buy it? If Samsung manufactured cars, would the engine stop when you drive to England – i.e. outside the EU? Then you have to contact Samsung first so that you can continue driving? Is Samsung, if you’ll pardon the expression, completely nuts? What sort of smartphone dictatorship is this?

But of course – I always research before buying a smartphone without a SIM lock whether I can actually use it – even there is no indication anywhere that this is only possible under certain circumstances. Everyone would do that.

I recommend to Samsung a website or FAQ in return: This is how Samsung bullies its customers without any sense! – I would print the URL on the front of the manual – maybe as a QR code.

No help from Samsung, just an attempted bribe?

On 06/03/2021 I asked again where the unlock code is. In addition, I gave my opinion on the above mentioned sentence and also told the anti-support that I now write an article on the matter because this is way too silly now.

Thereupon I got a response relatively quickly (coincidence?). Blabla sorry and that I get on my next purchase a voucher of 15%. However, I had already told the support that I never intend to buy anything from Samsung again. But I declined the voucher with thanks, especially since that would have obligated me to receive promotional emails in the first place. Besides, I don’t want to get more annoyed with potentially broken devices from Samsung.

I don't want a voucher, I want to use my smartphone!

I don’t want a voucher, I want to use my smartphone!

I have also written to the anti-support that I won’t accept the bribe and simply want the promised unlock code. In addition, I asked again when I will finally get the unlock code and whether Samsung will delete my data according to the GDPR. That was on 07/03/2021. To this, the anti-support has not answered at all.

On 11/03/2021 I asked again (when code? GDPR?) and complained at the same time on Twitter. Twitter-Samsung refers to the support, and only they give me the unlock code.

Samsung via Twitter – not my job!

Samsung via Twitter – not my job!

I then complained that it would be difficult when the anti-support no longer responds and does not help. Slowly, it is actually getting embarrassing for Samsung, isn’t it?

Antwort an Samsung – langsam sichtlich genervt …

Antwort an Samsung – langsam sichtlich genervt …

After my complaint on Twitter that the anti-support no longer answers, a response came relatively quickly (coincidence?). After my third request regarding deleting data according to the GDPR, I got an answer to that problem now.

So, that my data gets deleted, I have to invest time myself again and do it via request desk. However, I never wanted Samsung to store my data, but only to use my smartphone worldwide.

Update 1

Now Samsung’s anti-support writes me that I either have to provide proof of purchase (which I had already sent 3 weeks ago) or provide proof of having left the EU. Now I’ve asked what that’s all about and pointed out that it’s none of Samsung’s damn business (literally) where I use the smartphone. I asked for an explanation as to what this shit is all about. It gives you the feeling that Samsung is actually headquartered in North Korea.

Nun brauche ich einen Kaufbeleg (bereits geschickt) oder einen Nachweis, die EU verlassen zu haben … spinnt der Laden nun komplett?

Nun brauche ich einen Kaufbeleg (bereits geschickt) oder einen Nachweis, die EU verlassen zu haben … spinnt der Laden nun komplett?

On the other hand, this also means that the unlock code has not been processed yet and that the anti-support simply lied to me. I also wondered if Samsung has gone completely mad.

Update 2 – Samsung can’t read PDF files

Now it turns out that Samsung didn’t generate the unlock code because they can’t read my invoice in PDF format. The invoice is just copied from Amazon and I sent it to a friend for testing. He can read the PDF. It is problematic when you have to communicate with a technically unsophisticated company like Samsung.

But it’s much worse that they simply didn’t tell me for 3 weeks. Just like with the insane lock, Samsung apparently assumes that customers are psychics.

I have now given the poor company the invoice as a PDF, JPG and PNG uploaded to my cloud – that’s where the browser can display it – I have also tested it. Now I’m honestly waiting for Samsung to:

  • either may not open external links
  • or the link cannot be opened with Internet Explorer 4.

However, the company continues to shirk explaining to me why this completely inane lock exists in the first place and why they want to know the customers’ underpants size so that they can use their devices without limits.

Update 3 – Samsung support is lying – I can prove it!

Samsung still claims not to have received an invoice from me. But that cannot be. After the attachments are supposedly sent encrypted – but that’s not true, my messages are only signed. I can prove that as well (Gmail via browser – no PGP configured).

My messages or attachments are not encrypted – that's a signature you &%#$&!!!

My messages or attachments are not encrypted – that’s a signature you &%#$&!!!

Anyway – I had sent links that allow the company to download the invoice via my cloud. I can prove that because I even received a receipt for it (on 12/03/2021):

Meine Nachricht wurde empfangen

Meine Nachricht wurde empfangen

On 18/03/2021 I asked why my requests are now ignored (6 days later, without getting an answer to my previous email). As an answer, I got that the invoice is still missing.

Now I caught Samsung lying!

Now I caught Samsung lying!

But this is not true – see above. Now I sent the data again as JPG and not as PDF. Thereupon I get the following answer:

Sie haben uns die Daten verschlüsselt geschickt … was für ein Blödsinn und eine offensichtliche Lüge!

Sie haben uns die Daten verschlüsselt geschickt … was für ein Blödsinn und eine offensichtliche Lüge!

That’s a lie! Because these qualified employees can’t read PDFs or distinguish a signature from an attachment, I had sent links so, there would be no more stupid excuses. Now I have to read the bullshit again that the attachments are supposedly encrypted. Busted! Support is obviously lying. I can’t wait to never have anything to do with this company again.

If you’ve been dealing with various unqualified support departments in IT for as long as I have, you’re used to a lot. But the support of Samsung takes that to a new level. Not only the company disqualifies itself with inane locks and a smartphone dictatorship, as I call it. The icing on the cake in this farce is definitely the company’s anti-support. I have never seen anything so incompetent!

The question: Why does this lock even exist? – Samsung doesn’t give me an answer to that, no matter how many times I ask about it. Quite strange, isn’t it?

Update 4

I then deactivated the signature and sent the invoice again. Supposedly it arrived now and the code was requested. Anti-Support checked my message from 12/03/2021 and could only find a PGP signature there. That’s right because as proven above, I sent links because it didn’t work otherwise.

I also find it ironic that Samsung wishes me a lot of further joy with the smartphone from Samsung. WTF? So far the thing does not work as it should!

Samsung bullshit bingo!

Samsung bullshit bingo!

I’ll get the code in a few days. After all Samsung messed up one should think you get a little priority here. But the company apparently does not care about the average Joe like me.

Furthermore, my message from 28/02/2021 was checked again and apparently Samsung gets encrypted attachments from me. Well, they would be the only ones. It works for all others. I can only prove this indirectly, but I doubt Samsung’s statements. Maybe they should check their systems.

However, I wasn’t satisfied and wanted an answer as to why this block exists in the first place. I truly doubt they believe the answer themselves. In my opinion, this is one of the lamest excuses I have ever read:

Was für eine saublöde Ausrede!

Was für eine saublöde Ausrede!

  • To protect the customers – blah blah warranty what a nonsense. What are IMEI and serial number for? Even if I’ve already bought a restricted device elsewhere (you notice yourself, right?), what’s the point of unlocking the device in my home region first?
  • The same applies to the next argument. It makes zero sense. It’s a lame excuse beyond compare. What business is it of Samsung where I buy a device and where I use it?

But no answer was given as to why data that is not necessary is collected. The whole thing stinks. NEVER AGAIN SAMSUNG!

Update 5 – Samsung delivers the Code  – it wasn’t the support, though!

After the support had sent me in circles for 5 weeks, I went already other ways. I do not want to expose this source, but I really would like to thank the person who made a quick solution possible. I had my unlock code within 24 hours. The XCover 4s is unlocked, and I can use it.

Again, I was confirmed that the lock is to protect customers from grey imports. I am personally sceptical about this because a grey import is not necessarily illegal. Is Samsung sure that it is not the other way around in reality? They want to protect their profits – grey imports bring cheaper devices into the country?

It also said: the regional SIM card lock was introduced to ensure access to local content and services. Aha – don’t get it. Isn’t that done thanks to an IP address? Or via the mobile operator? The argument doesn’t make sense – because after I use the device for 5 minutes on my home network and then leave with it …, where’s the difference? I don’t get that.

Maybe there is no warranty claim for the corresponding region, it was argued. What actually happened to the worldwide warranties? Besides, a note in the manual would also suffice that device XYZ is only intended for certain regions and there is no warranty outside the region. I cannot prove that but I can doubt it.

Furthermore, I was told that there should be a sticker on the packaging with “EU SIM cards only” or something like that. I have not noticed that, and I cannot check it, since the packaging is in Germany.

I am still missing the answer to:

  • Why does Samsung collect unnecessary data? Why do I have to specify the country where I want to use the device?

In any case, Samsung gave me a customer number that I never wanted. Now I have to fill out the annoying form plus upload a copy of the passport and so on, so that my data is deleted according to the GDPR. All that nonsense over a 200 euro smartphone. Was that really worth the hassle, Samsung?

I’ll stay away from the company as much as I can in the future. I have a few storage devices and devices from Samsung. They get used until they fall apart, and then I will replace them with products from other companies. I am done with Samsung. Worst support experience in over 25 years of IT.

Update 6

Funny enough – I just talked to a friend about the issue and that’s what he sent to me.

I am not alone …

I am not alone …

At least part of the support is clueless …

At least part of the support is clueless …

He could have told me … *joke* … just fuels my urge to never buy a Samsung device again.

Why not a free Android?

I’m happy to answer that question. It’s simply because of some banking apps that I can’t use with rooted devices. I’m just taking the path of least resistance here because I don’t have the nerve to deal with that shit as well. I’ve actually capitulated in this regard, and I am hoping for cryptocurrencies like Haven ($XHV) to be the future.

Besides, I used to have rather good experiences with Samsung. My Ultrabook has served me good for a long time – but meanwhile there are better alternatives for Linux users. Tuxedo also has attractive Ultrabooks. Have a look – support a small company and not the useless company Samsung.

The unlock code? I still don’t have it! It has now been requested again and should be sent to me as soon as possible (as it has been for over 3 weeks).

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