OpinioN8

Connecting Crouch End and Hornsey with news, views and information

Just to recap. I had come into possession, via ebay, of an iphone which had been reported stolen after I bought it. The insurance company (LSG on behalf of Vodafone) had blacklisted the IMEI number (a unique identifier for the phone) with CEIR (see here for a  narrative on what this means) and I was trying to get this blacklist lifted so that I could use the phone.

Vodafone was my first call and they refuse to remove the bar on the grounds that it is an insurance case. After a couple of calls with this result I cotton on to the fact that Vodafone are much more likely to do something for a customer than they are for some random caller who happens to need their help. So I arrange to be added to the list of authorised persons on my daughter's Vodafone account. What this means is I can give an account number, a password and speak with authority about an issue that is being documented by the call centre every time I ring. Eventually this will bear fruit. The next call is to LSG, on Vodafone's advice, who run Vodafone's insurance scheme for them. Guess what their advice is. Get in touch with Vodafone! Which I do by means of the on-line "contact us" form on the website. Now the first Vodafone response to this contains an error. It states that I had made the insurance claim, giving me the opportunity to write back asking for dates and times and delivery adresses for the replacement handset as I had mislaid these. The reply does not contain any of this detail, obviously, but it does have a Vodafone employee's name and a telephone number for LSG. With this extra bit of leverage I can call LSG and get a sensible response.

By now, of course, the obejct of this exercise is secondary. I now have a hobby - ringing Vodafone/LSG - a bit like train spotting or metal detecting I guess. Any given call is quite unlikely to bring a result but eventually I might see the Flying Scotsman or the Hogwart's Express, or unearth an anglo-saxon treasure. As an aside, I looked up LSG through Google and its easy to see they are a very good insurance company. There are hundreds of disappointed claimants logging their dismay on online bulletin boards. As another aside their irritating recorded message "recorded for your safety and security  . .blah de blah " contains an expression of "zero tolerance towards fraudulent claims" - something I use more than once when setting out my point of view to whomever answers their phone.

This is a long story, so I'll cut it short. Eventually, I do get put through to a person with a name and an individual email address whose job it is to right insurance wrongs. I provide this lady with a lot of details about dates and times and having the phone in my possession, enough I guess for her to prosecute, or at least harry, the fraudster, and she arranges for the blacklist to be removed. Hurrah!

But I do have another problem. I ring up Virgin to say I'm leaving to go to Vodafonr (the iphone is locked to their network) and they offer me such a good deal I want the phone unlocked to stay on Virgin. This can only be done by asking Apple. The only people who can ask Apple are the original owners of the phone - Vodafone. They will only make the request if the original purchaser from them requests it - i.e. the fraudster? I now have six or seven emails stating and restating this point, even after a request from LSG. I am considering a complaint to Ofcom, Vodafone's intransigence is anti-competitive and generally frowned upon, but there is no law on unlocking just a feeling that not to  is uncompetitive and operators ought to do it.

So I now have the opportunity to delve into the murky-ish world of hooky software for iphones. Jailbreak and unlock are the key words. Actually it turns out to be easy. The software I use is TinyUmbrella (to dump my SHSH blobs!!), greenpois0n to jailbreak and RedSn0w form Cydia to unlock. I had feared the might then be tethered (look it up if you care enough) but its not. Then I need a clever chap at unlockit.co.nz to set up my APN (all the bits that connect to the internet) because Apple have now made these screens invisible, and hey presto, an unlocked and jailbroken phone. Of course I have voided any link the phone may ever have had with Apple or Vodafone, but it works a treat.There is still one slight flaw in the ointment, in that, strictly speaking the phone now belongs to the insurers. But for the time being thay are happy for me to hang on to it in the hope they will be able to prosecute the fraudster.

Views: 102

Tags: crouch, crouch end, end, fraudster, haringey, hornsey, iphone, n8

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