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I have a stainless 44mm Apple Watch Series 5 that was given to me by my mother-in-law, who died this December. To my knowledge, I am the only person who has ever owned this watch.
Immediately following an upgrade from an iPhone 7 to a new iPhone SE2 purchased through T-Mobile, I ran into an inexplicable activation lock issue that Apple is refusing to help me with in a matter that is petty, officious, and lacks any semblance of a reasonable explanation. This happened when I tried to pair it with the new phone. I called AppleCare and they were useless, bordering on hostile. The general tone from the Apple associates I spoke with was evasive, accusatory, and nonsensical.
Initially, they confirmed that they knew it was mine, but they then contradicted themselves and claimed its an Apple-owned watch. Which makes NO sense. I even have a screenshot of its information which shows that it is registered to me, and has a valid purchase date. After approximately 12 long hours on the phone with support over several days, its become clear that theyre not going to help.
Either they dont know how to fix it, or they wont.
This watch isnt broken or damaged; its not blacklisted or iCloud locked. Im not trying to activate it on a new account, just a new phone. Its just been shut off by Apple for no discernible reason. This is clearly a betrayal of my trust, my personal property, my privacy, my time, and frankly my goodwill toward the company.
A 20+ year relationship has suddenly been called into question.
This incident makes me and others in my family and business deeply concerned that Apple may lock ANY device without ANY explanation, and then retreat behind a wall of unexplained corporate policies which we are being forced to accept on faith. This thought is positively TERRIFYING! We are left with deep concerns regarding the safety of our property and our data.
Apple has alleged, but offered no proof, that this watch isnt mine. In an attempt to rectify the problem, I have provided all information available to me: serial numbers, my service and support page, my iCloud account.
TWICE now, I even literally put a member from your Apple watch team on a 3-way call with my cellular service provider who was able to confirm that this specific watch has been activated on my account since for well over a year-and-a-half, and that I still have an active data plan for it. I have repeatedly offered, in good faith, to surrender the device to Apple if they would replace it. They refused.
If this is in fact an Apple-owned product, as they allege, I cant understand why an exchange is not an acceptable solution. Its in perfect condition, and presumably can be unlocked.
Rectifying this would cost the company virtually nothing and not rectifying it has already cost at least a dozen hours of call center labor and the potential loss of a once-devoted customer. Early in my troubleshooting attempts, one Apple associate offered a one-time service where they agreed to unlock the device for a $200 fee. At the time I refused, believing the associate was insinuating that the device was stolen, and unethically offering to unlock it for a fee. It smacked of extortion, and I wasnt going to tolerate it.
In retrospect, I probably should have just paid the fee.
This entire incident has shaken my faith in Apples integrity. Despite the clear and long history of ownership, I would hope that if Apples employees truly believed, as they insinuate, that the device doesnt belong to me, they wouldnt offer to reactivate it for any fee, but would rather notify law enforcement.
I sincerely hope that by reaching out for assistance, a solution can be reached outside of the Applecare system.
User's recommendation: Apple is no longer a trustworthy company.
Product or Service Mentioned: Apple Smartwatch.
Monetary Loss: $850.
Preferred solution: Remove the lock or exchange the watch.
Apple Pros: Excellent industrial design.
Apple Cons: Petty and officious company employees.